Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Monday, May 07, 2007

The aftermath

Well, that sucked. I'm not going to make a full judgment until we get a full list of which Sharks were injured and to what extent, but my fears at the beginning of the season were realized:

1) The young defense wilted under pressure.
2) The lack of a #1 defenseman hurt the power play.
3) The overall inconsistency was maddening. I thought they'd overcome it with the last 20 games or so, but I was wrong.

There's a lot of other places to point to: secondary scoring in the form of Steve Bernier and Mark Bell were non-existent all season, and the team had trouble adjusting when the opposition figured out what their break out was.

There's a lot of people jumping on the "Fire Ron Wilson" bandwagon. I think Ron's a great tactician but can be very stubborn on execution. In terms of being a motivator, well, just compare how Ted Nolan's troops are willing to run through walls for him whereas Ron's stay on the perimeter. That being said, Ron has a great analytical mind and has good hockey instincts. At this point, though, I'm beginning to think that Ron would work best with a naturally fiery team that he can teach tactics to. This is the opposite situation; you've got a naturally skilled team that seems to lack passion. Let the debate begin. I'll do a more thorough post-mortem once we get the full injury report.

In the mean time, I begrudgingly tip my hat to the Red Wings. They knew how to exploit a team's weakness, then drive them batty with it, allowing for their own self-destruction.


Kelpfreak said...

Now, I like Ron Wilson as much as the next guy (which probably doesn't say much based on whomever posts after this), but someone's head has to roll after this latest fiasco, and I'm looking square at the guy who continued to stick with Guerin until Ehrhoff did us all a favor and put him out of our misery. I mean, christ, I can count on my testicles the number of times a Guerin pass made it to a Shark stick this postseason (granted, one of them was a goal, but still....) You want to talk motivation? What message does it send when the veteran that hasn't gone to the boards for a puck since 1996 continues to get ice time? I, for one, am tired of hearing "Well, this was good experience for the kids...we'll get 'em next year."

But maybe that's all just the bourbon talking...

hockeychic said...

I'm wondering what you think about a point the Versus people made last night about Ron Wilson trashing Marleau publicly. They were saying that was the wrong way to motivate him.

I enjoyed reading your blog through this series. I don't watch a lot of Sharks games so you gave this Wings fan good perspective.

Daniel said...

It shouldn't be the coaches job to always have to light a fire under his teams ass. Natural leadership from the players has to be responsible for SOME of that. When you make millions of dollars a year to play a sport and you make it to the playoffs, your teammates, the fans, the trophy and yourself need to be all the motivation you need to go.

Mike Chen said...

Wilson's been known to say one thing to the public and the complete opposite to the guys in the room as a strange way of playing the media. I'm not going to say anything about anyone until we find out who was hurt and how bad, but Marleau wasn't the only one who sucked this series. Even Thornton had his moments of confusion out there. I'd say Grier was the only consistent player; Nabby too, except he had to keep bailing out his D on odd-mans and breakaways, and SOME of those are going to go in.

andrew said...

I agree with Chen, Grier and Nabokov were the only two players to leave everything out on the ice, every single night. As for Wilson, I say get his ass out of there. I have been saying for the past three years, that if we had a motivator behind the bench, this team could compete for the cup. In my opinion, he definitely holds them back. Look no further than the choices he makes: He leaves Guerin in the line-up while the guy is literally stinking out loud. He is constantly switching up line combinations, all season long, never really allowing most of his players to gel with each other. I could go on....but I think I just might go drink for awhile instead. I now will cheer for the only team that I think can beat the Ducks. Go Sabres.

MetroGnome said...

Yes, yes...please fire Wilson. In fact, you can have Playfair in exchange.

Ted said...

Yes Grier was solid throughout. One of the only consistent players all year long, you get the same solid game out of him night in and night out.

And Nabby carried this team from March on.

But I think you have to give Thornton a nod. He played his heart out, and should dispel the doubts of some of his detractors with his gutsy efforts in the playoffs this year.

Ian said...

Actually, Nabby was not impressive enough this post-season, apart from 1 game in each series. He made some big saves, yes, but more important was the timing of the saves he didn't make. How many goals were scored in the last minute of a period? What about his consistently bad puck-handling decisions (and we all know how that turned out in G5)?

Great goalies make the save, even if they have no business doing so. Nabby was the one letting in the lead-halving goals, the game tying goals, the game winning goals against the Wings. Hasek closed the door when letting in a goal would put the game out of reach for his team, or would let the Sharks back in the game. I think Hasek was beatable, if the Sharks forwards had tried harder (like, say, lifting the damn puck top shelf), but as they say, "scoreboard."

I'm done with Nabby. Let him prove me wrong with his big-game worth on an east coast team. Not here. He's had his chance.

Mike Chen said...

Re: the Game 5 puckhandling gaffe...yeah, he didn't execute right, but what were his decisions? His defense left him out to dry on a 3-on-1. If he had been a split second better, it gets by Datsyuk. Still, I've seen goalies with better reputations make dumber mistakes than that.

Count the number of breakaway/odd-man/tip-in goals that went in for Detroit. That's a defensive issue, not the goaltending. I think one of the biggest problems is that the Wilsons expected too much out of Carle in his true rookie season.

RudyKelly said...

I'm not sure if firing Ron Wilson is a great idea. These guys are in the NHL Playoffs after working their entire lives to get there; they don't need motivation.

The Red Wings collapsed on the Sharks' forwards, daring the Sharks defensemen to beat them. The Sharks don't really have any defensemen who can score (besides maybe Carle), so the strategy worked. I don't think firing Ron Wilson is going to change that.

Doogie said...

Your thoughts on Wilson sound a lot like mine on MacTavish. I think comparing last year to this year, one of the things that stands out (besides the definite deficit of talent on the back end) is the fact that the players were not motivated. They gave up after Game 61 (Smyth's last game), and pretty much did nothing until Game 82 (beat the Flames). Surely, a decent motivator could get better than 2-19 out of a team down the stretch, even if the playoffs do seem like a longshot.