Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick


In college, I read about a ritual in some Native American cultures where you give away all your possessions.  This is supposed to get rid of your bad luck, spiritual crisis or mental funk.  Is that what the Sharks are doing, giving away the puck and fan patience, bit by bit each game?  I think doing it by accident misses the point.

And still their even strength scoring plummets, their power play ails, points slip away.  Their penalty kill seems better than before, but is that just compared to the fall off of the rest?  Last night, Kevin Kurz tweeted:

“Blues may have played well defensively, but I’m not completely buying some of the post game quotes. Final recap, here: http://t.co/nm2BubxJ

Before even reading those quotes, I thought “I don’t buy them either.” The Sharks are usually understated in their postgamers (which has to make you wonder what Clowe or Boyle say off camera). Even so, there just doesn’t seem to be any valid excuse for this loss. Perhaps a mea culpa on a par with Bryzgalov’s “lost in the woods” speech. Maybe that would do.

It makes me grateful I have another team to turn to. It happens, when a fan feels neglected, she might stray. Especially if an old friend lives right next door, just a few channels over… Is it crazy to want the Sharks to be mad as hell until they win seven in a row?  Is that really too much to ask?  Other teams have given their fans that.  The nice people over there on Minny Street, those boys gave their fans seven wins in a row.  Those brutish Boston fellows, they gave their fans ten.  I don’t think seven is too much to ask. 

I didn’t turn away from game against the Blues, except to engage in some ritual holiday family shouting. But I didn’t turn and run off to watch the Flyers WIN, not while the Sharks lay gasping, beached on St. Louis ice. I waited until the Sharks’ game was over, tapped it on the eye to check for a blink reflex. Thus assured it was quite dead, I moved on. I still have a bitter taste over it, my brow is still furrowed and I’m still blaming the Sharks for not winning to offset the bummer that is a family dinner.

Speaking of shouting, I know shouting doesn’t solve anything. Volume is of no consequence if the content is lacking. So did the Sharks do some shouting during, or after this game? Does it matter?

Oh look, Matt Carle scored there, with help from Briere and a team of guys who might be green, old, injured and missing, new, really old… All that and they have won 5, FIVE in a row now. Why shouldn’t I watch them instead? Why shouldn’t they be my favorites now?

“No fair, they have…” What? Who? What do they have the Sharks don’t? Giroux? Yeah, too bad the Sharks don’t have any All Star caliber forwards. Bryz? The Sharks know very well how to undress Bryz. Been there, seen that. Jagr? Someone who doesn’t freak out? Someone who says stuff like “I just want to help the team,” means it and does it? Timonen? A vet who acts like a vet instead of having a meltdown every other game?  Someone who learned a long time ago how to pull himself out of a tailspin? 

Of course the question of coaching comes up. What to do when the vets won’t line out, screw their heads on, get it done?  Is it too hard for them to play well when the lines keep changing, they don’t really know who they will play with next game, can’t get their chemistry sorted out?  That would be a problem if they had played consistently well in any particular combination.  They know very well how to play this game, Thornton is supposed to be setup guy extraordinaire.  He should be able to set up a goat if he gave it a little thought, used some imagination.

Some of the Sharks are making the effort.  Havlat, for his slump, is making a visible effort to get in position, he persists even after things break down.  But he’s too often on his own.  McGinn and Winchester are still driving through obstacles and keeping things moving in the corners and around the net.  Nemo is still stopping most of what he sees.  It’s just that they aren’t getting enough help from the guys they’re supposed to be doing this work for.

The leaders on this team are not following the rule of “if I can’t muster 100% I will still find 80%.”  No, they seem to be all or nothing lately.

Should a GM give them a new coach so they can give away their failure in the form of the old coach?

No. If they can win with another coach they can win with McLellan. They don’t deserve an out like that. I thought I was cranky before. Now I want to take away their flip-flops and their hot water. Don’t just sit there complaining about the stink of the cow plop you landed in. Cowboy up, Sharks.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi, brad+winchester, joe+thornton, martin+havlat, 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

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