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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Same old complaints

Last night was one of the weirdest playoff games I'd seen in a long, long time. Was it just me or did it seem like neither team realized that this was a playoff game rather than a ho-hum January regular-season game? There just seemed to be a complete lack of consistent passion on both sides other than the odd hit here or there.

For what it's worth, the Sharks pulled their same ol' crap that's plagued them all season: lack of crisp, effective passing; good positional D that limits shots followed by a complete bonehead play that gives up a goal; and no one crashing the net or screening the goalie.

It was good to see Milan Michalek use his speed, and his goal was well deserved. Other than that, it's not like players necessarily had bad games, but no one really had a good game.

The thing is, both teams know that they can win on the road (look at the regular-season record), so losing Game 1 isn't that big of a deal. If the Sharks play to their potential (hey, I've never typed that sentence this season), they could easily string together two or three wins in a row. What are we going to get? Well, that's always an adventure.

Once again, I'm going to play "If I was Ron Wilson" and offer some suggestions as to where I think Game 2 should go:

-The power play is static. Move your feet and rotate to create time and space, then take shots and try to get rebounds and screens. Nothing's going to happen if you just dribble the puck on the half-boards for five seconds.

-Crisp, clean decisions. Watch the Detroit Red Wings move the puck on the power play -- the puck moves back and forth quickly before a crisp one-timer. That's not happening here; instead, you get a Sharks player holding on the puck, looking for something, then running out of options and firing a shot that will easily be blocked. That ain't working.

-Crash the net. My usual complaint.

-Soft dumps. Hard dumps get to Marty Turco; do a soft dump or lob it in, then generate speed to chase it down and forecheck hard.

-Aggressive penalty kill. Playing a passive box is killing the Sharks. Be smart positionally, but be aggressive to take away time and space without leaving yourself out of position for a defensive breakdown. Otherwise, you spend two minutes praying that the puck bounces off something.

You know, even though the Sharks led in shots, they still weren't quality shots. Just a lot of stuff from the perimeter and no rebounds. You're going to need to get ugly goals like Jonathan Cheechoo's shovel shot.

The Sharks are guilty yet again of waiting for the perfect pass. That'll work if you're moving around and getting open, but Dallas is too smart defensively to allow passing lanes if forwards are static. For example, when Joe Thornton set up behind the net, he basically had no options other than to dump the puck back to the point. With just a little bit more of smart positioning (think Brett Hull sliding into open ice), the Sharks can get more scoring chances. Even if Joe passes it off to a lower-percentage angle, the shot will have a better chance of getting through and someone in the crease can possibly put in a rebound.

We'll see what happens next, but if nothing else, let's at least have an entertaining game, ok guys?


Anonymous said...

What more is there to say you said it all!Pretty even game overall.

PJ Swenson said...

Sharks were all over the place. There was plenty to be mad at, plenty that made you shake your head at, and plenty that should bode well for game 2.

Stars were very confident in the locker room after the game. Each team was over .500 in the opposition's building this year. Game 2 will need a much more intense playoff effort from San Jose.

RudyKelly said...

My favorite part was when Craig Rivet skated into Marty Turco and Turco flew threw the air like he'd been hit by a car.

jamestobrien said...

Watching that game after watching Pens - Rangers was like watching Kobe Bryant and then shifting back to the days of George Mikan. You couldn't have picked two completely different games from an entertainment standpoint.

With all due respect to the before-his-time skills of Mikan, I'd rather watch Kobe.

Flaco said...

I had the opposite thought watching the Rangers/Pens game.

What a bunch of P's. They don't hit each other. It's loosey goosy all over the ice, no defensive responsibility...

The Stars and Sharks played more of a playoff game. The Penguins play like it's a pickup game.

I'm a Stars fan. I thought you guys played great. I thought you dominated the game. If the Sharks do that exact same thing, they will definitely win the series. Marty will crack because his rookie D-men and big useless sloth Norstrum will hang him out to dry

That being said, Nabokov didn't look like a Vezina candidate, and I don't expect Dallas to be that bad every night.

7 games I wager.

-Greetings from Dallas.

PJ Swenson said...

Watched video, last 2 Dallas goals were complete and total defensive breakdowns by the San Jose Sharks.

Something Ron Wilson noted in the post-game press conference, the Stars went into a prevent offense mode halfway through the second period. My seat was up at the top, but directly in line with each goaltender along the center of the ice. The Stars collapsed into a very tight 1-2-2, and the Sharks had trouble getting the puck through the neutral zone.

Any dump-ins that were soft, or that went around behind the goaltender were played up ice quickly by Turco, including one pass up ice that lead to the second goal by Dallas.

Not a tight defensive game by San Jose, but they need to turn up the intensity shift after shift and start forcing Dallas to run around in their zone instead of vice versa. A couple of bad goals, or a controversial play, and it could get into Turco's head.