Kukla's Korner

Hot Starts And Ugly Finishes

“Last year was a little different. We had a bad start and I didn’t play well. This year we’ve had a good start and I’m kind of feeling comfortable and I’m playing better than last year.”

“I don’t think there’s any such thing,” said the coach. “Just play right, and that’s an attitude, a mental thing. Like the Montreal Canadiens in the mid-1970s, when they lost eight games all year. I think they peaked all year. They were the best players, that’s why they won, but if you’re the best players and you do things right, when do you peak? You always play good.”

“Confidence is very underrated. If you’ve got confidence in your ability, and the people you’re playing with, you’re going to succeed.”

Oh, those hot starts. It’s all about good habits and confidence and feeling good about team play. Are those quotes from the 4-0 San Jose Sharks?

Nope. They’re from the 2007-08 Ottawa Senators. That is, the team that once captured the imagination of the Canadian media as being compared to unbeatable Montreal teams of yesteryear, the team with the blistering start through the opening weeks of the 2007-08 season, and yes, the team that free-fell in January and February with only seven wins in 21 games.

The cautionary tale here? Hot starts can mean many things, and while I’ve championed the fact that this team is showing me signs that it’s better both on and off the ice than previous squads, there’s never, ever a guarantee that a hot start means a good finish.

By the way, in case your memory is short, those same Senators got kicked to the curb in an ugly fashion by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs.

For more on today’s Ducks (0-4)/Sharks (4-0) matchup, check out the joint preview from Earl Sleek and myself at Battle of California. Also, you can hear me guest on ChompTalk, the weekly San Jose Sharks radio show on the Bay Area’s 1220 AM (available online as well). The show’s Sunday from 9-10, and I should be on near the beginning of the show.

Filed in: San Jose Sharks, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: ottawa+senators, san+jose+sharks

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