Sharks Gameday: Ian White



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My favorite memory of Ian White as a San Jose Shark isn't anything specific-- he scored a goal in game two against the Detroit Red Wings that helped the Sharks take a 2-0 series lead, and was excellent against Los Angeles in a series where he was knocked out of game one and missed game two following a check by Jarret Stoll. There's very little that stands out in the way of particulars however-- he didn't have that mammoth game where legends are made, and by and large was a defenseman who didn't have a lot of flashy plays that demanded you pay attention.

But boy was he ever solid.

I mentioned this in our piece on Brent Burns from yesterday, but Ian White was hands down the best defenseman on the team last year when it came to carrying the puck from side to side on the blueline. He'd receive the puck from a forward along the boards, drive off his right leg, and walk the point like a tightrope artist between two large buildings. It wasn't a flashy play, nor is this paragraph lacking mild hyperbole, but it was something that really stuck out during his forty games with the organization. It was effective, meshed well with the strength San Jose's forwards have in the cycle game, and opened up a lot of scoring opportunities in situation where you thought a little chip back down low was going to occur.

White also had a really nice shot from the point-- it wasn't a bomb, but it got on goaltenders quick and always seemed to find its way on net. He averaged 2.275 shots per game in both the regular and postseason, and gave the Sharks a nice weapon to use on both the power play and on the second/third pairing.

And then there was the mustache. Now we never got to see this in San Jose, but anytime a man can grow something on his face that can make Tom Selleck* a little uncomfortable about his masculinity you have my vote of confidence. With Movember coming up and hockey doing their part to raise awareness for cancer, my only hope is that White brings back the mustache and earns an honorary place on Jonas Hiller's goaltending mask next month. He deserves it.

*Unrelated to hockey; related to awesome.

By all accounts White has fit in well with his new team in Detroit; as this article written on Yahoo! Sports indicates, White's good offensive smarts and ability to move the puck has made his new home in Detroit a logical place for him to play and have success in:

White, a much needed right-handed shot brought in to help compensate for the loss of Brian Rafalski, who retired, has made a smooth transition to the Wings' style of play, fitting in seamlessly as Nicklas Lidstrom's new defense partner.

"So far it seems to fit my style," White said. "They're such talented forwards that if you can find (an opening) as a D-man, they're going to find you and you're going to give each other a lot of chances."

>> Yahoo! Sports

Once the Sharks acquired Brent Burns at the NHL Trade Deadline there was no room for White on the blueline-- they had upgraded their right handed offensive defenseman position by leaps and bounds, and made the correct decision in signing two stay at home guys in Colin White and Jim Vandermeer to round out the defensive end of the ice. With all that being said, the fact that White says the Sharks didn't even call him before July 1st ("I don't know what the norm is, but there was just silence") tugged at the heart strings a bit. That's a players recollection, and it may or may not be accurate, but a part of me wishes that life was a fairy tale and the organization gave him a courtesy call before bidding adieu.

At any rate, San Jose locks horns with the ever powerful Red Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena. Always an excellent game between the two teams, and with that game seven series still fresh in all of our minds, it should be yet another opportunity to watch some of the best this sport has to offer.

I've said this before, but there truly is something poetic about the way the red jerseys of the Wings dances with the teal of the Sharks over a glistening piece of fresh ice. Coupled with the skill set on both sides of the ledger, these games are always ones that are truly a pleasure to watch.

Prediction: Sharks win 3-2. Goals by Havlat, Couture, and Boyle. McGinn continues to tease us with his Rick Nash power move to the net impersonations, but rings another one off the post tonight before knotting a hatty tomorrow against the Islanders.