Take Five: Diversions To Keep You Home!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a Take Five list, and it feels strange to blog in the middle of such uncertain and frightening circumstances. I genuinely hope everyone out there is feeling well, taking care, and staying safe. Social isolation is extremely important right now to slow the spread of coronavirus. Of course, it’s understandable that being cooped up at home can start to test one’s patience. As a public service, here are five diversions I’ve found during this time. May they keep you all contentedly indoors!

JOE PERNICE’S BARELY MANILOW

It’s been hard to give up live concerts, but musicians’ streams and videos have been an unexpected and welcome silver lining. Joe Pernice just finished a series of reworked Barry Manilow covers on Vimeo, linked through his Twitter page. Apparently an album is coming. Dare I hope for an acoustic deconstruction of “Copacabana”? Fingers crossed…

(P.S. If you’re poking around Vimeo for something peppier once you’re done, Iona Bateman’s 2009 Ash tour mini-documentary is just the thing! If anyone knows any great lost Sloan links, I’d be forever grateful…)

SAN JOSE PUBLIC LIBRARY’S SPRING INTO READING

Summer reading programs are time-honored boredom-busters for all ages. This year, summer has come early thanks to San Jose Public Library and its Spring Into Reading program. You can find details (and prize descriptions!) here. Most libraries are relaxing their e-lending card restrictions during these physical closures, so if you’re a wayward borrower, have no fear. (Meanwhile, your local indie bookstore is likely to welcome an online order right now, Bookshop Santa Cruz included.)

What will you choose to fulfill the four hours of reading needed to complete the program? I’ve just started book one of Hikaru Nakamura’s delightfully original Saint Young Men manga series. San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture has announced John Lescroart’s The Rule of Law as the first pick for his upcoming book club, so I’m curious about that one. What do you recommend? Please leave a comment!

SESAME STREET RESOURCE PAGE

Any regular reader knows my love for Muppets and Sesame Street, so this page of advice, videos, activities, and book links has been as helpful to me as it will be to anxious parents…

VIRTUAL MUSEUMS AND ARTS PROGRAMS

Local museums such as SFMOMA and institutions worldwide are presenting virtual tours and exhibitions during their physical closures. These aren’t always easy to spot on their websites, so check your favorite’s social media pages. Search engines such as Google Arts & Culture are a useful source, too. Stanford recently made some programs available here.

MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM LIVE WEBCAMS

The Aquarium is not open to visitors right now, but its inhabitants are going strong (and camera-friendly to boot)! Whether you like penguins, birds, jellyfish, or those incorrigibly cute sea otters, watch them all here in real time.

If anyone has additions to suggest, please drop a line! In the meantime, wash your hands frequently, consult a reputable source for your health information, and be kind to yourself and others! We’ll get through this.

They’ve high-sticked my heart…

Ugh, some days I wish I followed a sport other than hockey. Take today, for instance.

Patrick Marleau was just dispatched to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the trade deadline. Marleau’s return to the San Jose Sharks was one of the few comforts fans could take in a bafflingly torturous season, so this development seems especially cruel. (Yes, of course I’m sorry to see Barclay Goodrow go, too. Nevertheless, I think even Goodrow would understand that it’s not quite the same.)

Bear in mind, I’d already spent most of the day trying to comprehend this news item. All I will say is: Miracle on Ice guys, what the hell?

Perhaps I will feel more eloquent regarding these subjects at another time (probably not). Hope your day is better…

At last, a teal lining!

I present you all with cause for celebration. Sure, the nightly news still has me wringing my hands. Writing deadlines loom before me, and a threatened Northern California power outage has me typing frantically. Yet tonight, I cheer. Why?

Patrick Marleau is a San Jose Shark again.

Of course, to most devotees of Team Teal, he never stopped being one. Nevertheless, if my mom’s tears and hugs following the announcement were any indication, this is a happy development indeed. Welcome back, Patty!

 

Welcome to San Jose, Kendall Coyne Schofield!

It’s been an up-and-down summer for San Jose Sharks fans, but there have been some welcome bits of good news here and there. Most of the enthusiasm has focused on Logan Couture taking over the captaincy following the loss of Joe Pavelski to free agency. (It seemed like a natural choice to me, given that Couture is equally adept at scoring and painfully honest postgame media interviews.) I’m surprised that more people aren’t excited about this recent announcement:

Kendall Coyne Schofield joins San Jose Sharks TV broadcast team

If you watched the 2019 NHL All-Star Skills Competition, you may have seen Coyne Schofield blazing down the ice as the first-ever female participant in the Fastest Skater Competition. As part of Team USA, she won gold in the 2018 Olympics, and helped to secure the 2017 IIHF championship during one of the most exciting games ever televised. At Sharks FanFest this Sunday, she’ll compete with fellow members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) against Sharks alumni in the Legends game. I’m definitely intrigued, and eager to hear her perspective this coming season!

In Praise of Jonathan Cheechoo

I’m generally a patient person, slow to rile and evenhanded in my opinions. (Stop snickering, Mom.) Nevertheless, a few topics always set me off. I was infuriated that, following Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch’s death in 2012, not a single evening news program mentioned his musical innovation or humanitarian efforts, but EVERY STINKING ONE showed a clip of him spitting beer in the “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” video from 1986. (I cheered myself up by imagining MCA’s friend the Dalai Lama setting them straight.) What else will get an earful from me? Sports articles calling Jonathan Cheechoo’s 56-goal 2005-06 season a strange, wonderful blip on a supposedly lackluster NHL career.

Nearly nine years after Cheechoo’s final game with the San Jose Sharks, he remains one of the team’s top ten scorers, top five in power-play goals and game-winning goals. His record-setting nine hat tricks for the Sharks (five in one season) remain an unassailable fact:

People conveniently forget the shudder-inducing injuries that cut his NHL days short. He suffered a brutal knee-to-knee hit in Game One of the 2007 playoff series against the Nashville Predators. Cheechoo was still the leading goal scorer for the Sharks that year, one season after winning the Rocket Richard trophy as the league’s leading scorer. There was also the double sports hernia so grisly that Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson expressed amazement that Cheechoo could walk, let alone play hockey. But play hockey he did. His post-Sharks career included a trade to the Ottawa Senators, stints with four AHL teams, and four years overseas in the KHL.

Yesterday, Jonathan Cheechoo announced his retirement from hockey after sixteen seasons. Today one article (not linking to it, sorry) opined that he’s likely to become a footnote in NHL lore. Let me see. Cheechoo is a former NHL All-Star, and a legendary figure in Sharks franchise history. The second Indigenous player to win the Richard, he remains strongly involved with the Little Native Hockey Tournament, and is considered a role model for youth players to this day. Hailing from tiny, remote Moose Factory, Ontario, he fulfilled his dream while strengthening ties to his community. Joe Thornton still proclaims Cheechoo the best hockey player with whom he’s played.

Don’t know about you, but that all sounds pretty significant to me. Congratulations, Cheech!

2017 San Jose Sharks Holiday Video

The San Jose Sharks’ annual video has become a holiday tradition, and this year’s model is entirely animated. (It took me a while to recognize defenseman Brenden Dillon, but I admire the accurate rendering of Joe Pavelski’s slightly red beard.) The tone is gently amusing rather than hilarious. Nevertheless, highlights include a sly nod to Herb Brooks, a cameo by Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s rescue dogs, and Tomas Hertl’s sweetly believable turn as an enthusiastic cartoon sidekick:

Brent Burns wins the Norris Trophy!

On Wednesday night, Brent Burns became the first San Jose Sharks player to win the NHL’s James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded each year to the league’s top defenseman. (“What about former Sharks player and current Sharks general manager Doug Wilson?” you ask. He won the award in 1982, with the Blackhawks.) While I personally thought Burns should have won the award last year as well (then, he was a first-time nominee who lost to LA’s Drew Doughty), his 2016-17 statistics were incredibly impressive. He scored 29 goals and 47 assists in 82 regular-season games, leading the league’s defensemen in goals and points. He also had his best defensive showing ever, with a plus-minus rating of plus-19.

It’s been a stressful couple of months for San Jose Sharks fans, with the team’s unusually horrific injuries leading to a first-round playoff exit. With the NHL draft in full swing and the free agency period looming, the offseason promises to be intense. Nevertheless, there are a lot of things to look forward to next season, and a brand new reason to celebrate. Congratulations, Brent Burns!

1,000 career assists for Joe Thornton!

Patrick Marleau’s career milestones have been a frequent topic on this blog. His equally accomplished San Jose Sharks teammate Joe Thornton was not to be outdone last night. In a 3-2 Sharks victory over the Winnipeg Jets, Thornton assisted on Joe Pavelski’s game-winning empty-net goal. Thus, he became only the 13th player (over 100 years of NHL history) to notch 1,000 assists in his career. (Yet, somehow, the NHL didn’t see fit to place Thornton or Marleau on the list of 100 all-time NHL greats announced earlier this year. Don’t get me started…)

An Ageless Wonder Has A Night For The Ages

Conventional wisdom says that the NHL is a league suited for rookies, and that a nineteen-year veteran’s best days on the ice are likely behind him. (Obviously, these naysayers never heard of Gordie Howe, but that’s another post entirely.) It’s true that 37-year-old Patrick Marleau has racked up many career milestones, including two Olympic gold medals for Team Canada. Nevertheless, in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche last night, Marleau had the best offensive performance of his career thus far. He became the oldest NHL player to score four goals in a single period, and only the 12th to do so in NHL history. Consider that he scored on each shot he took in the third, and the achievement is even more impressive:

After scoring a natural hat trick (plus one) the night before, Marleau managed to net the game-winning goal against the Winnipeg Jets tonight. With two more tallies, he’ll reach 500 goals in his career. Of course, Patty took it all in stride:

[Update on 2/2/17: Patrick Marleau scored his 500th goal tonight in Vancouver!]