Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
What was worse?
a) Being a Kings fan this season, knowing all along that your team probably wouldn’t make the playoffs?
b) Being a Sharks fan this season, knowing that no matter how many points you accumulated, your team was probably still destined for another playoff choke?
It’s a serious question. Would you rather be Sharks Fan and enjoy the six months of success, regardless of how it ends?
read on for the 78 comments and counting…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So if the Sharks go out in one of the next three games, what does GM Wilson do next? Last year, he fired coach Ron Wilson.
This year, he is out of easy options. Presumably, he’ll have to move either Thornton or Marleau - and hope that someone’s prepared to take a chance on one or the other, even though they have had so little playoff success between them.
In a perfect world, if Wilson could swap out one or the other for a player with less skill, but more grit and leadership ability, maybe that’s the recipe to turn a team on the perpetual cusp of playoff success into a winner.
Because nothing that they’ve done with this core group of players suggests that they can win big when it matters most; and their window of opportunity is closing in a hurry if they don’t do something soon.
more plus many NHL topics including the Montreal mess….
added 2:44pm, from David Pollak of Working the Corners at the Mercury News,
I also asked for access to Evgeni Nabokov and Joe Thornton. Nabokov came out from the dressing area right away. And though I was surprised by some of his answers – when I asked if he was fighting the puck at all, he said, no, he actually felt good out there – he answered all questions.
Thornton, on the other hand, was not available. A media relations rep sheepishly and apologetically had to explain that while the press was meeting with McLellan, Thornton had dressed and gone – something we were told wouldn’t happen when the new system was implemented.
I won’t pretend to know why. Maybe there was something pressing he needed to deal with. But Thornton did not have a good game – and the minus-3 only tells part of the story – and it would have been nice to hear what he had to say.
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
The dream could die Saturday.
A Sharks team built for a long Stanley Cup run, one that finished the regular season with the best record in the NHL, finds itself on the brink of a first-round elimination after losing to the Anaheim Ducks 4-0 at the Honda Center on Thursday night.
“We just weren’t good enough tonight in just about every area,” Coach Todd McLellan said after describing himself as “disappointed because we’re better than we showed tonight to a man.”
from Billy Witz of the LA Times,
When Ducks forward George Parros extended an invitation to Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray to drop their gloves and begin to brawl in Game 3 of their Western Conference playoff series, it did not come on embossed stationary or in the form of poetry.
“I asked, ‘Do you want to do this?’ ” Parros said. “It wasn’t an intellectual conversation.”
Not what one would expect from a couple of Ivy League graduates….
They have been running into each other on rinks since their high school days in the New York City area.
“We’ve been taking runs at each other for so many years,” said Murray, who came to the U.S. from Sweden at age 17 to live with relatives on Long Island for a year. He liked it so much he stayed.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
This evening, as the Sharks attempt to even the series, Marleau must again be the impact player he was in the Game 3 victory two nights ago. As a leader, he also must help push the team’s collective thermostat up a notch higher.
But with the soft-spoken and even-keeled Marleau, there is always the question about whether he has the passion to spearhead a playoff charge. I think the passion simmers beneath the sunscreen. We’ll find out if I’m correct soon enough.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
When it was over and the non-sellout crowd of 16,277 had filed out of the Honda Center, the top-seeded Sharks could claim several victories: they had cut the Ducks’ series lead to 2-1, ended the Ducks’ penalty killing streak at 14 over two-plus games, and had continued a trend in the series by winning on the road.
They got help from the Ducks on each of those counts.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s almost like hitting yourself in the head,” Ducks winger Teemu Selanne said of his team’s unbreakable habit of parading to the penalty box.
“Why? You’ve done a great job killing penalties. Why keep forcing things? You can make winning so much easier if you stay out of the penalty box. There’s no team in the league that if they’re going to get 20 power plays in three games, they’re [not] going to score eventually. No question. If you don’t learn that you’re stupid.”
from Tim Tawakami of Talking Points at the Mercury News,
The Sharks have it easy. On that point, there can be no dispute. Too easy, almost certainly. (I blame myself.)
And that might explain some of their annual softness in the playoffs, if you ask me…
Even after dropping the first two games of the playoffs at home to the Ducks, the Sharks still pretty much live in a little crysalis of no-crisis, generally speaking, when compared to what any other NHL team (except the Kings or, weirdly, the Ducks) ever experience after shaky postseason performances.
Patrick Marleau is the Sharks captain, and he skipped the optional skate before Game 2. (Jeremy Roenick skipped it, too.)
My thought: Isn’t that like Tom Brady skipping an optional meeting before the AFC title game? Or Paul Pierce skipping a shoot-around, with permission, before Game 7 at Cleveland? I think it is… At least show up. Show up for your teammates. You’re the captain, show up.
from Cecile Nguyen at SanJoseSharks.com,
“We put ourselves in a bit of a hole here but we have a good team,” defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. “We’ve been the best team all year. We have to prove it now and I think the guys know that we need to step up. We’re not nervous or overly worried. We’re not going to go out there and try to do too much. We’re just going to do what we have done all year.”
A day after their Game 2 Stanley Cup Quarterfinal loss to the Ducks, the Sharks’ locker room following practice Monday afternoon remains positive.
“We’re confident. All the guys in here are confident,” center Joe Pavelski. “We’ve had some good practices and guys are hungry. There’s a sense of urgency in Game 1. There’s more of a sense of urgency in Game 2. And now obviously Game 3 we got to have it.”
from Drew Rememda of the Seagate Broadcaster Blog,
First the Bad News, some things did not change from Game 1. The powerplay is still “0 for.” I believe the Sharks have to make the adjustment on the breakout and into the neutral zone. Better more patient support, using the ice behind and building up speed would be my change, (I know the Coaches are working on solving the entry problems). Puck recovery is also an issue. In the first two games the Ducks PK is outworking the Sharks Powerplay.
Obviously Nabokov needs to be better. I’ve always believed Evgeni to be a top flight goalie but he’s being beat by a rookie netminder. True Nabby has made some big stops, like the breakaway chance by Marchant in Game 2. But if the Sharks are going to get back into the series he can’t let anymore Andrew Ebbett wristers from the goal line in.
It may not be fair but it is accurate.
The BIG GUYS for the Sharks need to deliver….
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
Here are five things I jotted into my playoff notebook while watching the Ducks put the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Sharks into a 2-0 series bind Sunday night at the Shark Tank.
1. Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller’s game has had few holes so far in the California classic. The Swiss-born stopper, who grabbed the net because longtime Ducks starter Jean-Sebastien Giguere was struggling, has been rock solid, turning back 77 of 79 San Jose shots….
2. The Sharks finished the regular season with the third-best power-play unit in the league, converting at a 24.2 percent clip. In the first two games of this first-round playoff series, that same power play has been a dud….
added 11:03am, from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
The Sharks have not been that bad in this series. They have been inspired for the most part (although they have had no ability to maintain momentum or keep any sustained pressure on the Ducks). Their goaltending has been excellent and Joe Thornton accomplished more in his first shift in Game 2 than he did in all of Game 1.
It’s certainly not fair that Jonas Hiller is playing better than he ever has in his life.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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