Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Every which way to lose

Holy flashbacks, Batman.  This is what Sharks fans mean when they say "these are the same old Sharks," when they start making suggestions like the ones described in this tweet:

@BroThornton: bring back irwin! trade marleau! go back to the cow palace!

It was the sort of game that leaves you speechless.  You could go rant somewhere about this or that mistake, but... where do you start?  Where does it end?  Beaten by Columbus 6-2?  It makes me tired just thinking about it.  I don't know if I've got a rant left in me to do it justice.  McLellan described that speechless, astonished feeling very well  post-game:

"It's a pretty simple league -- the team that works the hardest wins," a visibly intense McLellan began. His team, he added, was "outworked, out-executed, out-detailed, out-goaltended, out- a lot of things."

The team lost in every way they could.  In that respect, they succeeded with flying colors.

@SharksStats: Columbus's -15 goal differential entering tonight was 2nd-worst in the NHL (Florida Panthers: -16).

Those Columbus fans must have had a really nice time tonight.  That's something to be glad of.  But it feels like all I'm writing about lately are losses.  I don't enjoy that,  it gets monotonous.  So I won't.  The Sharks didn't show up, neither will I.  Instead, I'll take a stroll down memory lane.

“You can only shake your head,” McLellan concluded. “We’ve got to get that out of our game. So are we going to play a fast, aggressive style or are we going to muddle around and go nowhere?” -Mercury News

Coaches say stuff like that all the time after a breathtakingly, shockingly, really outstandingly horrible loss.  So do players:

“We’re not playing good, sound positional hockey right now,” Boyle said. “But we didn’t become a bad team overnight. Ninety percent of this locker room is intact from last year. We can get ourselves back to where we need to be.” -ibid

In case you didn't follow any of those links, I'll clue you in: they were from October of 2010.  Those took me back to one of the very first things I wrote about the Sharks:

In today’s paper, I read David Pollak’s Sharks Report.  It was a bleak tale.  The gyst of the story was: the team is working on it, looking for a way out of the losing streak.  Near the end, Sharks captain Rob Blake was quoted as saying: “We’re not going to wake up tomorrow morning and say ‘Oh, we’re going to play better’” What the? Actually, that sounds like exactly what you need to do.  

That was March 2010.  The title the Marin IJ used for the article I mentioned was "San Jose Sharks are searching for way to end six-game slide."  

If the Sharks start throwing the word "fragile" around again I may start spewing obscenities that no one will listen to.  I hate when that happens.

One of the bright spots in tonight's game was the intermission feature that Drew Remenda built up so much that there was no way it could possibly meet expectations.  I liked it anyway because of what Larry Robinson said on the subject of thinking:

You never want to change a player... the worst thing you can do as a player is think.  You think and you learn and you work on things in practice, but [in] the game it's all reading and reacting.

We all know that you shouldn't "think too much."  I still liked that he said it.  It resonated with another part of that same March 2010 post, a reaction to something Nabokov said:

“We talk all the time about making the save and let the other guys clear the rebound, but I wish I could have….”

Stop right there.  I can’t be hearing a goalie say this! During a game, a goalie can’t think twice about how or when or what to do with the puck!  Why not throw an angry Rottweiler in the net, it would be less distracting for him. Doubt is catastrophic. Sure, people can talk about new things and even learn to do them, but when you are in the thick of it, let it go, shut out the noise. If they’re not on the ice, then ffignore them. Play your game.

---End rewind---

Now that I got that out of my system, there was one little thing in tonight's loss to Columbus that I thought was memorable in a good way: Brent Burns and Justin Braun helping Greiss out with a save that he had to make because they let Brandon Dubinski storm by them.  Burns fell to his hands and knees behind the goalie, and Braun scooted in close in front to keep any rebound from sneaking out again.  It looked to me like Greiss had the puck safe and sound, but his remorseful defensemen were really really sorry and they were going to make damn sure it was okay.  That was a sign of life, emotion and a sort of apology.  I doubt they had any idea how much there would be to apologize for.  The score was still 1-0, but it's the thought that counts.

I hope that game cleared the stinking, festering muddle out of their heads and they can just go play tomorrow.  I'm not sure they can do worse, maybe there's nowhere to go but up.  Of course, I've been wrong before.

Filed in: | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: brent+burns, flashbacks, justin+braun, larry+robinson, todd+mclellan

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About Petshark: Talking Stick

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net