Bullet Points: NHL Playoffs, Debuts

» 19 April 2010 » In mlb, nichibei, npb »

First a little diversion into hockey: the NHL playoffs are underway and my local San Jose Sharks won the top seed in the Western Conference, and are off to an… interesting start to their first series. If you’ve paid any attention to the Sharks over the last few years, you know that they’ve made a habit of perennially flaming out in the early rounds of the playoffs. So I had modest expectations coming in, which I thought were realized with a rather lackluster game one. But in game two I saw a Sharks team that I haven’t seen in a long time. I can’t remember the last time I saw them play with such a level of urgency. And they took it up a notch in game three, completely dominating the puck in the second and third periods.

But the Sharks had their flaws in both games two and three: in game two they few chances they gave up were top-notch, and Evgeni Nabakov didn’t make any big saves in regulation; in game three the Sharks just couldn’t manage to score, despite getting 51 shots to the net, and eventually lost on an own-goal in overtime. The Sharks are clearly more talented than Colorado but have yet to really play a complete game.

Somewhere in an alternate universe, the Sharks kept their young players together, Jonathan Cheechoo never fell apart, and a team featuring lines of Joe Thornton, Cheechoo, and Devin Setoguchi and Patrick Marleau, Milan Mihalek, and Steve Bernier has played Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup finals the last two years.

And while we’re on hockey, Janblurr put up a post last week on the state of German professional hockey and some of the issues currently facing the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.

On with the bullet points…

  • On April 18, Hanshin’s Tomoaki Kanemoto failed to play every inning of his team’s game for the first time since 1999, ending his “full inning” streak at 1492. Just think about that for a second. 1492 games without missing an inning, from age 31 to 42. Kanemoto did make a pinch hit appearance, so his consecutive game streak is alive.
  • Roberto Petagine updates: Petagine will make his SoftBank debut during the interleague games in May at the earliest, and word is he’ll retire after his time in Fukuoka. Roberto’s 62 year-old wife Olga will be accompanying him to Japan.
  • Randy Johnson threw out the first pitch at a Seibu game last week.
  • One of my players to watch, Romash Tasuku Dass, made his first ichi-gun start of 2010 last week. The results? Not impressive. I didn’t see the game but he featured mostly a mid-80’s fastball, and got knocked out of the game early. Deanna was right.
  • Casey Fossum also made his Japan debut last week, throwing six shutout innings in a Tigers win. His velocity wasn’t great either.
  • SoftBank worked out Michael Olmsted and JD Durbin. Based on the Nikkan Sports write-up, Olmsted was the more impressive of the two, striking out six of nine batters faced. Durbin struck out four of 11. I’m not sure if these were live batters or in a simulated game scneario.

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