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Erik Karlsson contract: How Sharks fan made pitch with song parody

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USATSI

Erik Karlsson contract: How Sharks fan made pitch with song parody

How do you convince one of the best hockey players in the world to stay with your favorite team? You could always follow Sharks fan Emily Hall’s lead.

Hall wrote and sang “Time Is Nigh,” a parody of Blondie’s 1980 hit “The Tide Is High,” centered on San Jose defenseman (and pending free agent) Erik Karlsson.

When Blondie came on while she was grocery shopping back in December -- in an aisle with teal gummy sharks and Swedish Fish, no less -- she had her inspiration.

“I’m like, (singing) ‘the tide is high … the time is nigh,’ and literally, that’s how it hits me,” Hall recalled in a phone interview with NBC Sports California on Wednesday. “I just hear a phrase, and it comes together … and it sometimes never leaves my head until I actually finish it.”

This was shortly after Karlsson walked out of a press scrum that began moments earlier with The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell telling him “the time is nigh” for his first game against his former team, the Ottawa Senators. Karlsson opened his press conference in Ottawa the next day with the same four words, and they were soon stuck in Hall’s head.

But Hall, a Berkeley resident who has parodied songs with a teal twist on her YouTube page for over a decade, knew that a clever turn of phrase could only go so far.

“I actually try to take a song that has a feel of what it is,” she said. “In the case of ‘The Tide Is High,’ that song is about longing.”

That’s a feeling familiar to anyone who’s held a boombox outside of a window, flipped cue cards on a doorstep, or mouthed “you complete me.” Hall employed all three iconic romantic-comedy tropes in her video, and for good reason.

Since Feb. 25, Karlsson has been eligible to sign an eight-year contract extension with the Sharks. The defenseman can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and, like a rom-com lead making their dramatic pitch, Sharks fans (including Hall) are smitten and don’t want to see him leave.

"He has a lot to offer, right? His skating ability is amazing, and he just seems to have a really good attitude on the ice,” Hall said. “There's something about his personality that seems to fit. But not only that, when he's top of his game and the Sharks are clicking, just look at we went through. That last part of December and part of January was amazing.”

Hall recorded “Time Is Nigh” at some point after that run, and shot the video with her husband on a dreary February weekend in San Jose, just before the NHL trade deadline. She uploaded the video to YouTube on Monday, as well as the song recording and its lyrics to the karaoke app Smule to encourage other Sharks fans to sing along.

At least one Karlsson has heard it. Melinda Karlsson, Erik’s wife, tweeted on Monday that she was a fan.

The Karlssons have some time to ruminate on Hall’s parody pitch, and however the Sharks try to top it.

[RELATED: Jones carries Sharks to win, point back of Flames in West]

In the meantime, Hall just wants him to get healthy. Karlsson has missed 13 of the Sharks’ last 18 games with a recurring groin injury, and Hall thinks they should rest him as much as possible prior to playing “a few games before the playoffs to get playoff-ready.”

Hall has followed this team since 1998, ever since she first attended a game on what was just her second date with her husband. With Karlsson in the fold, this San Jose team is as good as any she’s seen.

“I think the Sharks have a shot [at the Stanley Cup],” Hall said. “I do. I think this is the best roster we’ve ever had. … I think that we can beat Calgary. I think that we can beat Tampa, really.”

And if they do, Hall will have plenty to sing about.

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Well, the Sharks certainly made it interesting. Every time the Ducks scored a goal on Friday evening, the Sharks came back and were able to tie things up. They even got the game-tying goal late in the third period that took their contest into overtime – at least, before they lost 4-3.

Perhaps at a different time of year, getting their first point in five games would feel better. Not on this night. 

The focus remains on the work to be done with just seven games left in the regular season. For Team Teal, they need to clean their game up and get back into the win column.

“It’s better than nothing, but overall, we’re just not finding ways to win games now,” Timo Meier told the media in Anaheim regarding the single point. “We’ve got to find a way to win games. It’s an important time of the year. Playoffs are really close.”

San Jose put a better effort on the ice on Friday than they did the previous evening in LA against the Kings, but the opportunistic Ducks were able to bury more of their chances,

"I don’t think we gave them very much," Peter DeBoer said. "Every chance they got, they stuck in the net, though."

DeBoer was more critical of the team a second night in a row, and rightfully so. Despite outshooting the opposition, the Sharks weren’t able to find the back of the net enough times. They allowed two goals while playing on the penalty kill and tallied 14 giveaways. Plus, outside of Meier’s power-play marker, San Jose still went one-for-five on the man advantage. Despite tying the score up three times, the Sharks couldn’t keep the Ducks from responding.

Clearly, all areas of the game need to be tweaked.

“We’ve got to find a way to get an extra save, and on (the other) end we’ve got to find a way to get another goal,” DeBoer said. “We could’ve used a power-play goal tonight -- another one.”

Perhaps the only silver lining, as Meier put it, is that the Sharks are going through this stretch now instead of once they get into the playoffs. San Jose is still trying to get some of its key players healthy and into the lineup so they can make a deep playoff run with the lines and pairs they want. The goal, at least at the moment, is to make sure this five-game skid is a lesson to learn from and not a prelude to the future.

"Get stronger as a team, get tighter as a group, and learn," Meier said. "It’s going to make us stronger going into the playoffs because there are going to be lots of ups and downs coming up. It’s going to make us stronger and we’ve got to react the right way.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

BOX SCORE

All the Sharks needed was a win. Just one win on Friday evening against the Ducks. Two points to salvage the road trip, stop the losing streak, and get back to hunting for first place in the division.

Not surprisingly, Team Teal made things interesting with a game that stayed tied up heading down the stretch. Unfortunately for San Jose, the Ducks were the victors in overtime 4-3.

Here are three takeaways from Friday’s game:

How did the power play look?

In a few words: nonexistent until the third. San Jose had three opportunities on the man advantage through the first 40 minutes of play and couldn’t make anything happen. They even gave up a couple breaks the other way that Dell had to stop. Had the power play converted, the Sharks might’ve been up by two or three goals after two period of play.

Timo Meier came up big with the power-play goal in the third period to tie the score up 2-2. While they couldn’t capitalize on the power-play opportunity immediately followed, Meier’s marker will hopefully open up the flood gates for the power play.

Who else stepped up?

Sharks’ bench boss Peter DeBoer didn’t mince words after Thursday’s loss to the Kings, saying that the team needed someone to step up during this stretch with injured superstars and be a hero.

“You’ve got to get a great performance from somebody in a game like this and I don’t think we got that,” DeBoer said on Thursday.

In all honesty, the whole team looked better even with the loss. The fourth line had a couple very memorable shifts, cycling low and establishing pressure. Joe Thornton’s line was clicking, which was clear from Kevin Labanc’s goal.

Gustav Nyquist was a solo standout – despite not finding the back of the net, he played a heck of a game and had some incredible looks. Of course, you can’t talk about this game without talking about Justin Braun scoring the big game-tying goal in the third frame, which was his first marker since December 2.

How did Aaron Dell do?

In all fairness, Dell gave the Sharks a chance to win for the majority of the game. No. 30 has looked good in his last couple of outings – save his relief effort against the Golden Knights earlier in the week when he had little defense to help him out – and he made a couple great saves in Anaheim as well, especially when the Ducks had a couple short-handed breakaways.

Unfortunately for Dell, he gave up the two power-play goals in the third frame. While Braun was the hero and scored the tying goal late in the third to help take the game into overtime, Dell still couldn’t hold down the fort in overtime. It doesn’t matter if he’s the backup or not – at this time of the season, playing too loose late in games isn’t good.