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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Well, I suppose technically, the Sharks went farther than they did in previous seasons. I know Doug Wilson said that he thinks no one should question the heart of this group of players, and perhaps that's true--their comebacks certainly showed a never-say-die attitude that we haven't seen previously.

So that's all well and good, but you know, if the Sharks played with both smarts and hearts during the first three games of the Dallas series, they'd be gearing up to play Detroit right now. With leads in all of the games, the Sharks shot themselves in the foot with their constant reliance on a stupid defensive shell that couldn't handle the Brenden Morrow line. That same defensive shell often led to several panic plays that gave you that horrible "This is gonna lead to a goal" feeling. The damn thing never, ever, ever works, and one has to wonder whether their constant reliance on it is a coaching strategy issue or an issue of the players just not getting it.

As I mentioned before, there definitely needs to be a change in the team, but I don't think that change has anything to do with Patrick Marleau or Joe Thornton. I'll put together a full post-mortem in a few days after I've had a few days to digest the whole thing. I'll still be covering the playoffs on my other blog and FoxSports.com, but I'll probably be laying low here for a little bit. I'm sure all Sharks fans just want to breathe for a few seconds anyways.


Earl Sleek said...

I guess the key question for the Sharks is how much Brian Campbell is worth to the Finned ones? Or really, what's the ceiling they're willing to outbid other teams?

JMNOR55 said...

I guess the Sharks are the Ottawa Senators of the Western Conference. Good regular season team, can't translate it into playoff success.

Will Wilson be canned? Should he? Maybe he is the problem. Other coaches get canned if they lose three times in a row in the playoffs.

At least Anaheim got dumped early.

Mike Chen said...

Will Wilson be canned? Should he? Maybe he is the problem. Other coaches get canned if they lose three times in a row in the playoffs.

Put it this way. I've thought this season that if the Sharks won the Cup, it'd be DESPITE Wilson, not because of him.

Matt in DALLAS said...

wow - what an epic game. unbelievably great hockey. this is playoff hockey at its finest and thanks to the sharks for helping provide that. playing their guts out is an understatement.

nabokov and turco were out of their minds and morrow was a warrior. i still hate JR but that was a great moment at the handshake.

again, props to the sharks for fighting back. after this series, i'm not sure they need to change much with that team. they just need to start series stronger and get a few more breaks. they are on the cusp and they will win at some point.

now i'm stoked for detroit. stars need to vanquish some demons here.

Mike said...

Matt, good call. Epic game in an epic series. When the other 3 series were done in 5 games or less, this one seemed a lot longer than 6 games, didn't it?

I'm very interested in watching Dallas-Detroit to see if Dallas can induce the Wings to commit the same kind of mistakes the Sharks did. I have to think the Wings will have the same trouble against the Morrow-Ribeiro-Lehtinen line. Those guys are practically unstoppable right now.

Ian said...

Well, if the Sharks were a better team, they wouldn't have to rely on a few plays or bounces going their way to move on in the 2nd round. Credit Dallas, they put the Sharks in a hole that was practically impossible to dig out of, and made the most of their opportunities over the series. When it counted, they delivered.

And contrary to Doug Wilson, I do question the heart of this team. Waiting until the Fat Lady was warming up in the wings to finally play with urgency isn't heart, it's panic and drama. Not the way to win a championship, that's for sure. If he's happy with just making things interesting before bowing out, then maybe both Wilsons need to be fired.

I'm hoping that next season the Sharks will actually play bigger than they are, instead of smaller. It'd be nice if we were the team that had a line or a goalie that was unstoppable in May, and the other team was actually afraid of playing us. I, for one, am sick of the excuses.

Mike Chen said...

Waiting until the Fat Lady was warming up in the wings to finally play with urgency isn't heart, it's panic and drama. Not the way to win a championship, that's for sure.

Just my opinion, but I chalk that up to preparation and adjustments. And that's up to the coach.

Anonymous said...

The Sharks lack an inspirational forward who will just impose his will on the game. As good as Thornton is, he's not the most dominant guy on the ice most nights in the playoffs.

Brendan Morrow played 50+ minutes last night, registering 19(!) hits and 7 shots on goal. Ribeiro played 50+ minutes and had 9 shots and 5 hits, even. I know that Joe is a "playmaker." But 47 minutes on the ice and just 3 shots and 4 hits is just disappointing.

Iginla was crazy dominant and scary in round 1. Ribeiro and Morrow were like that every shift in round 2. Joe isn't even that dominant on the powerplay, if you think about it, sitting on the half boards, waiting for Rivet or passing to Marleau and switching positions with him. Sigh. There is just no urgency and surprisingly, no jam, to his game.

It's not just about Joe, of course. But that's your best player, your franchise player -- and he's just not as good as other teams' best players when it comes down to it.

Washington said...

I agree with anonymous's comments about needing someone who will impose his will to win the game. Doesn't matter if it's a D man or forward. I've never been a Brendan Morrow fan but after this series, I can see why he has the C (I always thought Modano gotted jobbed there, but I can see why now). Morrow didn't put the fear as much as Iginla did, but they both played their hearts out to do all they can for their team while JTho was inconsistent. My (half-serious) position last year was that I would have taken Baron Davis and slapped skates on him just because of his ability to will the Warriors to a win.

While Marleau grew up some in this playoff series, Thornton was largely absent. He needs to wake up and realize that he's f*in Joe Thornton. and with all that skill, no one's gonna let you sit around and make the perfect pass like they were more apt to do in the regular season. I hear often that Thornton can slow down time, but mostly in this series he just looked slow.

Re: the coaching situation, my only thing is who's out there that could replace RW? Do the Sharks need a taskmaster, master motivator, or in between? Bob Hartley, Pat Burns??? I always wanted to see what Barry Trotz could do with this team. I could see him milk out a cup or two...

Anonymous said...

Also, the reason why Thornton doesn't get as much time and space in the playoffs is because teams and players are not afraid of getting up in his grill and giving him the business. They're not afraid of an elbow or getting run in the corner.

He's supposedly 6'4 and 220+. He used to have a lot of jam to his game. Now, he shows that only when he gets pissed or cheap-shotted. See: Matt Cooke, Steve Ott, Hal Gill... uh, that's about it.

But, Thornton could create his own space with some nastiness. Watch him on the forecheck -- never goes in and pastes a guy. Always peeling back.

His physical game has dropped markedly since he came into the league, and especially with San Jose. He could be up for the Lady Byng, soon. I think it goes back to when Lindros KO'd him with one punch.