Archive for the ‘Couch Tarts’ Category

Gray’s Earliest Hockey Memories

August 5, 2009
Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

We’ve become buddies with quite a few San Jose Shark bloggers through Battle of California and CLS. Generally, they seem to be incredibly high quality people who deserve more post-season bliss than their seemingly great team has been able to produce.

Gray from Couch Tarts is one of our SJBFFs for sure (hell, she even concocted that adorable logo) and provided this week’s Earliest Hockey Memories entry. Make sure to follow the Couch Tarts and try not to make more than a couple obligatory Shark Week jokes. These nice people have suffered enough.

Like a lot of other American kids, I grew up living and breathing baseball. Sure, football existed too, but I didn’t care about that. It was all baseball. These were the days of the Bash Brothers in Oakland, and the ’89 world series. If you lived in the East Bay and didn’t love baseball, you were pretty damn weird.

And yet, somehow, hockey slowly started to trickle into my sub consciousness. I don’t remember how or why, maybe it was the Mighty Ducks movies, maybe it was watching Strange Brew too many times, who knows, but my friends and I suddenly developed a strong desire to play hockey. (ok, it was the Mighty Ducks movie) We went to a sporting goods store, got sticks, (the best bright plastic on wood that 15 dollars could buy), a bag of orange plastic pucks and set up a small soccer goal at the end of my friend’s drive way and started to play.

We didn’t really know how, but we knew hockey players hit each other, so the games usually revolved around how hard we could check the opposing player to the ground before stealing the puck and scoring a goal. Rules were generally ignored in favor of shin hitting mayhem, unless of course someone thought you scored a goal unfairly. Then a huge debate would be started, usually ending with someone shooting a puck at someone else, and generally in a very tender spot. (as a girl, I got the best part of this deal) After all, what was hockey about if it wasn’t about beating up the other side?

Later on, in middle school, they added street hockey into the PE curriculum. We’d play on the basketball courts, with only slightly more attention paid to rules and positions than to checking. Classes were co-ed, so we weren’t supposed to make contacts, but the boys always did. I’m sure some of it was an excuse to hit girls in the chest and feel their boobs. The Sharks had come to town by this point, but it was still rare to find someone openly discussing hockey in school. Fans existed, but I didn’t know many.

Once in high school I had little time for impromptu games on someone’s street, and I generally forgot about hockey. I didn’t get to my first NHL game until after college. Anyone who thinks a California kid can’t fall in love with hockey is dead wrong. It might take us a little longer to get there, but when we eventually get to a live game, we’ll be hooked. Even if it means making more Mighty Ducks movies.

Meet the Artist

July 14, 2009

Starting tomorrow, CLS will begin a series that features the earliest/fondest/original hockey memories from some of our favorite hockey bloggers. Expect these great stories each Wednesday, ideally through the regular season.

Like we did with Earl Sleek for our Hockey Orphan feature, we decided to ask one of our favorite hockey artists to create the logo. We’ve had Gray and the Couch Tarts gang contribute quite a few posts already, but if you aren’t familiar make sure to check out their great San Jose Sharks blog.

Gray’s artwork caught our eyes from the beginning, but particularly during the playoffs.

After seeing great logos for each playoff series we must admit that we became smitten. We’re not art majors by any stretch, but we smile every time we see these adorable, expressive pieces of art.

Make sure to check out Gray’s Web site, where you can place custom orders or purchase one of her striking pieces.

Seriously, this is some great stuff.

We cannot thank Gray, the Couch Tarts and our contributors enough. Thanks everyone!

Coming Wednesday: The great Wrap Around Curl shares her memories.

The Last Person the Couch Tarts would want to see …

June 29, 2009

Most bloggers will break down why Move “A” and Move “B” would improve his or her team’s chances of success. But at CLS, we insist on being “different” by putting on black nail polish and asking odd questions.

Instead of focusing on positivity, we asked each blogger to name a player they’d hate to see their team add and also a player whose addition to a rival would just spoil their milk.

First up are the lovable Couch Tarts: frequent contributors to the blog, creators of adorable hockey related doodles and experts on the San Jose Sharks. Indian burns all around for those who ignore their blogging.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

PRONGER! Do you know how happy we were when he went east? DW had the hots for him, and while we can’t ignore his skills as a player, no way in hell would we want former alternate captain elbows on the Sharks. Thank you Bob Murray for not wanting to move him within the division. Can you imagine regularly booing one of you own players? Ugh!

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

If the Ducks or Kings got the Sedins, we’d cry ourselves to sleep every night until next June. Swedish Wonder Twin powers activate! Power of…massive cap hit!

Actually, if signing them means that the Ducks/Kings can only afford to put the twins on the ice with some third rate untested goalie, we’re all for it. Three guys total on the ice for the opposition? How could we lose!

Yours from the Couch,

The Couch Tarts

Five Questions: Couch Tarts (Sharks)

April 17, 2009

(Our pals at Couch Tarts sent a Five Questions our way for the Sharks, so even though we’re not going wall-to-wall for the BoC at CLS, we at least will have a hearty bowl of preview soup for the two teams. Make sure to follow the saucy pairing as they follow the strongest San Jose team ever.)

What will your team need to do to beat the Ducks?

Gray: Brass knuckles. Someone needs to put Pronger and Perry in their place. Also, airbags for Nabby. When Perry tries to tackle him (and he will) the airbags will shoot out protecting Nabby in a comfy, airy bubble while Perry gets knocked back into the Stone Age. I’m also in favor of anti force field spray for whichever of the two Ducks goaltenders gets the start.

Mina: The Sharks need scoring from at least their top two lines. They need to make sure they keep their special teams playing the way they have been late in the season. But most importantly, they need to score even strength. They have not scored an even strength goal in goal in almost 3 games and that needs to change in order to secure victory.

They need to match the Ducks in physicality and make sure not to take any stupid retaliation penalties. While it’s true that the Sharks are benefited from a closely called series, they need to no panic if the refs let the Ducks play their game. The Sharks are big and powerful and they can stand up to any team in the playoffs. If they don’t let the Ducks push them around and have their scorers score, the series could be short. But it won’t.
What would need to happen for the Ducks to win?

Gray: Perry sits on Nabby and deflates him. Pronger’s elbows go on a rampage and take out half the arena, including fans in attendance.

In all honesty, the Sharks need to respond to what will likely be physical play from the Ducks. No sitting back, no getting beat by a few rough hits. Hit back and keep going. Also? Score more.

Mina: The Ducks need to play their game. By physical, create space for their scorers, and hope that the refs let the players play. A free-for-all series will help the Ducks to win. Both of their goaltenders can steal a series and the Ducks need that too. Even though they look different from the Cup winning team, they aren’t a long way off from that group. If they get scoring from all lines and keep the Sharks on the ice with physical play, they and their goaltenders can steal the series from the Sharks.

Fan Favorite

Gray: Sharks fans have so many people to choose from. From the loveable brick wall that is Douglas Murray, the ever puzzled and slightly worried Captain Patrick Marleau, to the awesomeness that is Seto. Not to mention JR, who has settled in well here and has a huge fan base in SJ. Shelley and his can of beans perhaps?

Can I say everyone?

I’d love to highlight some of our rookies, but I’m not sure which of the woo-sta Sharks will be seeing playing time. (Go McGinn!)

Mina: The Sharks fans love themselves some JR big time. Since arriving with the Sharks last season, he has been an injection of pride and passion into the team. Plus having a guy who has so much fun with every game gets the fans excited. I love myself some Doug(las) Murray and owe him $1 for every big hit that he gives (a promise that I made last year). But I have made no secret I would love to see Torrey Mitchell get into the game sometime during the playoffs. He is my favorite and the favorite of many of the ahem..younger girls. (I would rather see the Sharks win than see Torrey play though.)

Your team’s Goat-to-Be:

Gray: I think most people would choose Semenov, since he’s been the fans favorite whipping boy all season. But I feel kinda bad for the guy so, I’m going to say Semenov’s beard instead. His beard is an independent entity. It will take an important 2 minute penalty and cost the Sharks a goal.

Mina: Despite improved play from both of them, both Alexei Semenov and Christian Ehrhoff look ripe for goat hood. Semenov has had his issues: the glove of doom, being a teal traffic cone, and just all around looking like he doesn’t belong. But somewhere in the middle of the year, the Russian Bear really picked up his game has and has had some impressive moments. But the moment he takes a stupid and costly penalty, the fans will forget all that good work and remember the old Alexei.

And despite a career year (8G 34A), Christian has an amazing and terrible shot. Sometimes it hits the net, the goalie, or even goes in, but more often it goes somewhere miles from the net. If he continues to shoot wildly, he may hear some boo birds.
Top storyline:

Gray: The brutality that will be shown in this series. If the brawl at the end of the last regular season match-up between these two teams is any indication, this is going to be an MMA style match up.

Mina: Can the Sharks show the promise that they showed during the regular season and dispatch the Ducks in a manner befitting of the President’s Trophy winner? (In all honesty, I expect this series to go at least 6 or 7 as the Ducks aren’t really a typical 8 seed.)

Hockey Orphan: The Couch Tarts on the San Jose Sharks

April 2, 2009
(Click on Sleek’s logo above for all the Hockey Orphan entries)

So here you are, a lonely former sports fan with no recollection of your past life. Your friends are trying to stir your memories and lure you back into the fold, but you aren’t sure. There are other teams, other fan cultures to explore. Maybe you live someplace snowy and cold and yearn for sunshine. Sunshine, but not smog. Deserts aren’t really your thing and humidity is just the worst in your book. You X out the two southern California teams, ditch the desert dogs and go nova on the Stars. You settle you sights on the usually sunny, occasionally foggy, reaches of the south bay area. You pack your things and make the long (or short) trek to the south bay area in search of a new, teal life.

Magically, you find yourself walking the Teal Mile. It’s just before game time and the place is an explosion of teal and Thornton. You make a mental note to pick a more original jersey and follow the masses to your new home. The Tank rises like a beacon of light next to the Guadalupe River.* You enter the sacred building and walk in to find a writhing mass of fans and concession stands, Una Mas nachos and tasteless puck like burgers. You ascend to the upper bowl and find your place amongst kings. Here, in the upper reaches of the Tank is where the reputation of the loud and boisterous Tank is born.

Smelling the clean, fresh scent of “new fan”, a nice person takes you under their wing and leads you to your seat. How fortunate! You’re in 208! The perfect section to be introduced to the rituals of the Tank. Your mysterious guide hands you a pamphlet. In it you find a list of tips and important information for all Sharks fans.

1st (and foremost): Thou-est must not-ith lean-ith forward! NO LEANING!!

Denizens of the upper levels will raise quite a raucous if you lean forward during the game. We don’t pay to see the back of your head Mr. or Ms. New fan!

2nd: all must boo Pronger when he touch-ith the puck and must continually boo until it leaves his grasp.

3rd: If thou-est playing the Stars, thou must boo the word “star” in the National Anthem. Delicious sacrilege is at home here.

4th: If thou shall be sitting in 209 thou must arrive on time lest thou be subject to merciless taunts for the rest of the game. Also, thou shall be warned that 209 will yell “YOU SUCK” at the opposing team before the start of the anthem(s) and thou shalt be required to participate. 209 is the leader of the upper bowl and its traditions. Thou must follow the lead of 209.

5th: If at any time during intermission there is competition between the upper and lower bowl, thou must vote for the upper bowl. When the lower bowl wins a jersey, thou must complain about how they never give prizes to the “real fans” and that the lower bowl “can afford to buy their own jerseys.”

6th: Thou must hate-ith the following teams: Anaheim, Detroit, Dallas.

Thou may also hate-ith any of the other remaining teams as appropriate.

7th: Thou shalt worry endlessly when facing the Coyotes.

You look up as cheers erupt from the crowd. The team streams out of the smoking, glowing head of a Shark. How’s that for an entrance? You can look but you won’t find a better one anywhere in the NHL.

Suddenly it sounds like folks are booing? What’s this? Ah, they’re actually shouting “Cheeeeeeeechooooooooooooooooooooooooo” They take their train metaphors seriously here.

As you discover through dutiful observation as the period ticks by, Sharks fans are an emotional lot. They ride the ebbs and flows of the game as if they were a roller coaster. They are a passionate bunch, far better educated in the ways of hockey than most realize or give them credit for.

Cheers arise when bitter rivals are shown to have lost on the “out of town score board.” These fans know who is where in the standings, and who stands in their team’s way of greatness.

You feel overwhelmed and look back down at your pamphlet and read the following words of wisdom:

17,496. Get used to that number. It’s a sell out and you’ll hear it more often than not at games.

Yes, even here in sunny San Jose, fans stream in from all points of the bay to watch their beloved Sharkies. The Sharks have quite the following and a great deal of support from their fans both in and around the South Bay.

The buzzer sounds indicating your first period has come to a close. More time to consult your fandom pamphlet!

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies in the land of teal. Nay, there are some downsides to being a Sharks fan.

Despite the large and passionate fan base the Sharks have, the team remains one of the best kept sports secrets in the Bay Area. The lack of local coverage is astounding.

Second round taunts are common throughout the season. It doesn’t matter that the Sharks did, in fact, advance to the Conference Finals only to be defeated at the hands of the Flames in 2004. It’s all about those 3 consecutive second round eliminations.

Those three early bows have also left Sharks fans with a bit of a complex. They whine relentlessly if their team doesn’t win all 82 games. Come playoff time, it’s all woe is me and “we’ll never make it out of the second round.”, unless of course it’s, “this is our year!” and “nothing can stop us now!”

Sharks fans have a lot of pride in their team, and often take out their frustrations over not being taken seriously on the player/current position in the standings/Detroit/Ron Wilson.**

You will have to become used to hearing the following things:

not a real hockey market, it never snows there (ignore that the mountains surrounding the South Bay indicate otherwise), Californians don’t know jack about hockey, they shouldn’t have a team, they shouldn’t have three teams, all the fans are transplanted Canadians, the Tanks never sells out, no one there plays hockey, “disappearing Joe”, no heart…

It doesn’t matter that these fact aren’t true, you will hear them.

As the second period begins, you settle in. You feel welcomed in this new teal family and despite the downfalls, you’re going to stick it out. This seems like a good place. A season or two under your belt will only make it better.

*This is the Bay Area. It’s really more like a stream with mood swings.

** Only valid in the years 2003 through 2008.

(Thanks a bunch to Gray and the gang at Couch Tarts. Make sure to follow them and their great coverage of the San Jose Sharks.)

Couch Tarts: why Joe Thornton should be the All-Decade Center

February 17, 2009

(Earlier today, Jibblescribbits argued the case for Joe Sakic to be All-Decade Center. Now, for the pro-Thornton take, we enlisted the help of Mina from the always entertaining San Jose Sharks blog Couch Tarts. Go there for the adorable doodles, stay for the witty banter.)

Voters of the Hockey Blogosphere, when it come to making your choice for best center of the decade, there is only one true candidate: Joe Thornton. Don’t know much about Joe Thornton since he left the Boston and you couldn’t stay up for Sharks games? Can’t find Sharks games on national TV? Didn’t know that hockey was played in California? Fret not dear reader, it’s time to enlighten you about the awesomeness that is Jumbo Joe.

Joe Thornton has everything that you need in a hockey player: speed, skill, and the ability to make players around him better. You want a player who cares more about his fellow players?Joe Thornton is your guy.

Despite the fact that he consistently takes close to 100 shots per season, Joe has had more than 50 assists in 6 of the 9 seasons of this decade. That includes this season, which isn’t even over yet. He almost singlehandedly helped Jonathan Cheechoo win the “Rocket” Richard Trophy in his first season with the Sharks. Joe Thornton is one of only three players with consecutive 90 assist seasons. The other guys? Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Not bad company there. Joe Thornton is a player who is selfless and helps others more than himself.

Sure we know that everyone is concerned about what a candidate will do when they reach the playoffs. Sure Joe had some rough years while in Boston. But that is all in the past. You want to look at a candidate’s recent performance and 30 points in 35playoff games over 3 seasons shows the kind of performance you can come to expect from Big Joe. Plus at 6’4″ and 235 lbs, Joe has the size to be able to take on all playoff foes and come out on top.

Despite being Canadian, Joe was made to live in California. He has the laid-back surfer attitude and chronic allergy to shirts that all good surfer boys need. And really isn’t that one of the most important qualities that you need in a player that is asked the lead a team: the ability to relax after a game so they can focus their energy on the game.

There are many things that make Joe Thornton the perfect center for your hockey team needs. Size, speed, a deadly passing ability, and the ability to make those around him better make Joe Thornton the greatest center of the decade. And remember, a vote for Joe Thornton is a vote for shirtless locker room interviews.