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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What the Hell is Going on?

As Mike and I walked back after the game, we tried to explain to each other what had just happened. Whose to blame? The D-men?, the coach?, the refs?, global warming?. There is no simple answer. Dallas is sitting back waiting for us to make a mistake and capitalizing. Ron Wilson might blame it on Dallas lulling us to asleep but they are basically beating us at our own game. They own the corners and Morrow/Ribeiro are not even being touched. Where are the adjustments? Whose job is it to make those adjustments? the players? the coaches? So many questions, not many answers. It doesn't help that the atmosphere in the arena is one of a preseason game. I expected a slight letdown after the excitement of game 7, but the players seem to be taking a cue from the fans and not playing with desperation. The concourses between period used to be packed with fans (mostly bandwagon) but these last two games have been clear of slow moving bandwagon fans. The seat next to me has even been empty for both games.

As I got home and turned on the end of the basketball playoffs, one of the announcers was making a point about the Detroit Pistons that I feel explains the Sharks present situation. "They are like the kid in school who doesn't study and gets "B's". If he studies and works hard he is an "A" student but feels a lot of times that his "B" effort is enough. As shown in game 5 and game 7 of the Calgary series, when the Sharks work hard, they are unstoppable. On the flip side is game 6. Someone needs to motivate the Sharks to bring their "A" game every night. They need to work hard and their talent will take over.


jamestobrien said...

I like that grade school analogy a lot. It's certainly a problem for about 90% of sports teams right now.

I'd say the Stars are grind-it-out students who get As and Bs but cannot get accepted to the A-list schools. So they don't get a scholarship and end up mildly irritated.

OK, actually that's just me.

Joe said...

"Someone needs to motivate the Sharks to bring their "A" game every night. They need to work hard and their talent will take over."

So do you put that on Ron Wilson's neck at the end of the year, and bring in a motivator? You can bring in the best motivator in the world, but if the players just don't have it in them... it ain't comin out. I really can't see how at the end of the year, the finger can be pointed at Ron Wilson for all of this. If it were one player in the locker room, becoming a cancer or bringing everything down, giving someone a bus ticket out of town would work... but its more than one player, and its never the same players. And the team is so close to the ultimate goal, that you can't just blow it down and put it back together a different way, that someone thinks works better. Sadly, I think the Sharks end up just doing the same sort of thing, the next few years, until they hit a downward cycle.

Remember St. Louis Blues under Joel Quenneville? Perennial playoff qualifiers, even won a President's trophy, had stiff competition for the division title with the Wings, but managed to grab it a couple times. But never managed to get it all together and make a serious run at the cup. They were a *good* team, but they were never great, and so they would annually come up short, in the hardest tournament in the world, fighting against the 3 western powerhouses. They were already on a downward cycle, and then the lockout came, and blew it up completely. The Blues never really had a solid goaltender, they would change goalies like every year, but the performance they recieved from them was just as streaky as the performances the Sharks have gotten. Even in terms of coaching, each team had a coach who did pretty well, and would would take turns with the players being alternatively blamed for his team's shortcomings, though you could never definitively put a finger on any one part of the team for why it never even made a Cup final. It's unfortunate, but I think thats a pretty dead on comparison.

I'm a big believer in holding player's responsible for their performances, and think its unfortunate that far too often, coach's get the axe, when a group of players ought to. Sadly, I can't see any way that Ron Wilson doesn't eat the bullet for the Shark's shortcomings.

Kelpfreak said...

Oh, well, clearly Thornton is the problem. I mean, look how much better Boston got in the playoffs without him.

The problem with blaming "heart and leadership" is that there is no way to fix (or even really identify) these "problems" and time spent worrying about them is time wasted working on ACTUAL issues.

1) Clearing the puck from the zone. Don't worry about icing or puck over the glass, worry about your limp-wristed clearing attempt ending up on the opposing d-man's stick and coming back at your goalie. Dallas kept a steady cycle going for long shifts which lead to goals, penalties and tired legs. The coaches can work on this in practice!

2) The first pass out of the zone. I don't know what more can be said about this that hasn't been said already, since its been a problem ALL SEASON LONG! As much as I like Vlasic and Carle, the next time I see them (or Campbell) pass the puck across the crease or behind the net, I'm getting on a plane to San Jose to beat them to within an inch of their lives with a beer bottle whose label is wet with my tears.

3) Keep your sticks on the ice! Yes, guys are crowding Turco and the rebounds are there, but the Sharks aren't getting to them because their sticks are up.

All of these things can be addressed in practice and the coaches should be working those areas. The fact that many of these problems keep popping up reflects very poorly on the coaching staff.

Ian said...

There's plenty of blame to go around here. How about this? Evgeni Nabokov is not a good playoff goalie. We've beaten the topic of whether Joe Thornton is a big-game player to death, but for 4 playoffs in a row it seems that whenever the other team needs a goal, they get one. When was the last playoff game, or even 3rd period, that Nabby just shut the door and said, "no chance" even if the rest of the Sharks were playing poorly?

I've just about written off this team. They're like a crazy girlfriend. When things are good, they're incredible. When they're bad, it's misery of the most predictable kind.

Earl Sleek said...

They're like a crazy girlfriend. When things are good, they're incredible. When they're bad, it's misery of the most predictable kind.

A horribly appropriate analogy.

Of course, you could do what the Kings do: have a messy break up and spend your summers in blissful bachelorhood.

RudyKelly said...

The Kings are like the crazy girlfriend that steals your car and sets your dog on fire. (It may be the other way around, I'm not sure which.