Sharks Up the Yangtze

Shark’s Fin Soup. Yum.And you thought the Ducks and Kings had it bad.

In a move that continues a trend to export all hockey out of the state of California, the San Jose Sharks have agreed to send 5 players and 3 coaches to China for the upcoming season in hopes of strengthening the Asia Ice Hockey League (AIHL.)  A collection of squads from China, Korea, and Japan, the ultimate goal of the league is to determine the next Great Richard Park, and apparently some AHL scrubs from the San Jose organization will help.  Why San Jose, you may ask?  Because the AIHL has a team called the China Sharks.  Brilliant work, guys.  (I’m silently hoping the Asian Tackle Football League has a team called the Cowboys.  That would be one way to get rid of T.O.)

As I surmised above, the lucky 5 who will be headed across the Pacific are yet to be determined, but it’s likely that they will not be players currently in San Jose’s immediate plans.  When guys like Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo take the ice for the home opener, these 5 will be waiting outside the HP Pavillion in silence.  They don’t do it for the longing of playing the NHL; they do it because they’re practicing for their next assignment.  We hear standing in front of a Tank is HUGE over there.

And despite our regards to the Battle of California, I don’t feel that the Sharks will have a huge effect on the Flyers’ quest to win the Atlantic.  Therefore, why ship 3rd-class checking liners abroad to promote hockey as a global sport?  Why not give the Central Kingdom some real star power?

MYFO’s suggestions, after the jump.

Evgeni Nabokov, Goalie – Nabokov has been frustrating fantasy owners for years ever since that one polished season-long effort in 2002, and even with Vesa Toskala out of the picture, he’s still not a sure thing between the Sharks’ pipes.  Now 32 years old, he’s no longer likely San Jose’s long-term plan in net (despite not officially listing any other goalies with NHL experience on the roster.)  However, don’t count out #20 just yet – being 32 has its advantages.  He’s got experience, with over 350 appearances and 9,000 saves.  He can mentor fellow netminder Dimitri Patzold, who also hails from Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstain.  Speaking of Borat’s home, being 32 also means that Nabokov lived under the veil of Communism until the age of 16.  Being a goalie under such an economic system requires practice – if he gives up a goal to one player, then all players must have equal right to goals.  That can really be an ego-crusher.  With such experience, it would be ridiculous NOT to select Nabokov to go to China.  (Note: Cheer up, Evgeni.  When you get over there, your NHL-ready skills will likely earn you the nickname “The Great Wall of China.”  Pay no attention to the fact that every Chinese goalie gets that nickname as well.) 

Marcel Goc, Center – Goc is one of the few players in the league that came from Germany, and therefore is a lock to play for any Olympic squad Deutschland may field.  From the looks of it, the Chinese Government will take any suggestions they can get concerning their impending Olympiad next year.  Now, we know that the seasons are different, but Goc doesn’t seem to mind.  We envision him becoming quite vocal in the bureaucratic ranks – commenting on everything from air quality to state-run healthcare to industrial planning.  Ever since Germany knocked down the Wall, Germans have felt an obligation to evangelize their new form of government to other non-believers.  Goc may be the one person in the world to establish Chinese Democracy.  Lord knows Axl Rose isn’t anytime soon.

Jeremy Roenick, Center – Ah, J.R.  Welcome to the final frontier.  You’ve played for Chicago, Phoenix, Philly, Los Angeles, and well, Phoenix again.  You’ve become the loud, annoying voice of American hockey, while Mike Modano quietly stays at home with his new hot wife.  We’ve sent you across the Pacific once before, and you thanked us by leading a crusade against the furniture of the Japanese hospitality industry.  You do all your major correspondence via text message, the one true universal language barrier.  Yeah, this is totally going to work out for all parties involved.  What’s the Cantonese phrase for “kiss my ass?”  It doesn’t matter.  Those rice farmers are just jealous.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Defenseman – Vlasic, a rookie for whom the Sharks have high hopes this year, was born in 1987.  Maybe he can write a nice report and turn in a scrapbook and treat this like one long class trip.  Don’t forget your thermos.

Mike Grier, Right Wing – Little-known fact: Mike Grier loves everything about Chinese culture.  He hand-calligraphied his nameplate over his locker back in Buffalo.  He welcomes hooking minors as an opportunity for short 2-minute meditation sessions.  He saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the theater 9 times.  His wife has beautiful feet, thanks to Mike’s insistence on footbinding.  He’ll kick your ass in Mah Jong and Chinese Checkers simultaneously.  Chinese New Year is his own personal Christmas, and would prefer if journalists referred to his checking line as the Grier Dynasty.  Yep, Mike Grier is excited to play in China, and from his intense cultural interest, he’ll fit right in.

Or not.

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6 Comments

  1. Wow! The Sharks must be getting some sort of tax break for this….

    …maybe Chris Simon will get traded to the Sharks to be an international ambassador. I hear Rick Tocchett has some free time on his hands…

  2. The worst part about playing hockey in China? An hour later you want to play another game.

  3. When on the penalty kill do they use the “Tiananmen Square” alignment? Because if they do, it could get ugly.

  4. “Being a goalie under such an economic system requires practice – if he gives up a goal to one player, then all players must have equal right to goals. “–>or they could have just shot him

    “What’s the Cantonese phrase for “kiss my ass?” It doesn’t matter. Those rice farmers are just jealous.” JR TIME!!! *happy dance*

    “He’ll kick your ass in Mah Jong and Chinese Checkers simultaneously. ” What a badasssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  5. Marco Sturm>Goc

  6. Threadjack

    WIRTZ IS DEAD!

    /threadjack


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