Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Those were not the dragons I was looking for

There’s dragons and there’s Dragons.  That Sharks @ Oilers game wasn’t what I had in mind to start the Year of the Dragon.  There were some good things, like Logan Couture earned his 100th NHL point.  The Sharks did control much of the game.  They just couldn’t score accordingly, so they lost.

When I wrote about Dragons, I was thinking of something like this:

From Dark Wallpapers

See the nice color, and the water and how big and scary that guy is?  Storms don’t bother him.  Certainly no little oil spill would slow him down.

Even without the stormy background, you wouldn’t want to meet him while you were out fishing in a dinghy, would you?  Fierce.  Big, sharp teeth.  This fella would eat you sure, or at least chew you up and spit you out.  I didn’t feel like I saw him in that game last night.  Last night’s dragons were more like this:

I’m sure they can be pesky, and they are technically dragons, they’re just not as dangerous-looking as what I had in mind.  Joe Pavelski agreed that the Sharks lacked some ferocity last night:

“We get the shots and I guess sometimes it felt dangerous, but there wasn’t a whole lot of desperation, a whole lot of second and third opportunities where he’s really scrambling and with 45 shots, you’d think there would be. It’s a game we’ve got to win, we’ve got to find a way to be better.” -Working the Corners

When Burns was injured, it seemed impossible that the beast would not emerge.  Surely, like a dragon who discovers you tampering with its dragon eggs, the Sharks would demolish the Oilers after that.  It looked like they might, with that reelleefast goal from Couture right at the start of the 5 minute power play.

Spark, score!  Spark… fizzle… pft.

That’s how it all felt to me as a viewer, but that isn’t how it really was, according to the NHL.com summary:

San Jose threw everything but the kitchen sink at Edmonton goaltender Devan Dubnyk on Monday night, but Dubnyk was downright sensational in a 44-save performance through overtime. -Brian Compton

Hm.  I’m gonna go with Joe on this one, Mr. Compton.

The Sharks did that thing they do: win on the shot clock but lose on the scoreboard.  The only thing out of the ordinary in this game was Greiss being beaten in a shootout.  That first one had to be unsettling.  First fails always are.  I think he’ll get over it, be better than ever… whenever we get to see him again.

Burns being hurt was also noteworthy but not that unusual in a hockey game.

So how can the Sharks shoot so much and score so little?  What has changed since last season?  Is someone missing from the roster?  Who?  Heatley?  Setoguchi?  Maybe it’s the defense, not as good as it should be, it’s crippling the team’s offense.  So who did the Sharks lose back there?  Who was more important, Wallin or Huskins?  Hey, don’t laugh, Husky was on track for a super career season with the Blues before he broke his ankle.

I don’t buy that.  I don’t think the team lost anything they didn’t replace adequately or improve on.  So why all these misfires?  Why no goals to go with those shots?

I don’t buy in to the theory that the Sharks keep meeting the best goalies in the League, or that they are lucky enough to witness goalies becoming the best or flashing in the pan or whatever.  I think they could be making those goalies better by shooting the hell out of them, giving them ample opportunity to get their groove on.  That’s just one crazy theory.

Another theory: the Sharks are suffering from mass hysteria, of the snake-bit variety.  They know they can shoot, they know they can dominate a game, but deep down they suspect that their shots, unlike other shots in the NHL, will not go in the net.  At the last moment, their eyes drift to the post or the goalie’s chest or his glove, or anyplace but where the puck needs to go.  They believe it, they make it happen, or not, however you want to look at it.

Do they need a sleep therapist?  Guided mediation?  That sounds goofy and Californian but it is worth considering.  If they are taking all the shots they really should be winning more games.

Luckily, the latest reports have Burns doing pretty well, considering he had to take a break on the bench so he could avoid puking all over the ice after he got hit:

“The good news, it’s not a knee. It’s more of a charleyhorse situation,” McLellan told reporters. “He’ll need some treatment, beginning today. And hopefully, when we get through the all-star break, he’s ready to play again.” -Working the Corners

That is excellent news, of course.

Now if the Sharks can just get over whatever it is that’s choking off their scoring, maybe they can avoid going into the All Star break with their first four game losing streak of the season.

Who will fill in for Burns tonight against the Flames?  Vandermeer is available, but Braun seems like a more suitable replacement for Burns.  Evidently McLellan did suggest Vandermeer could get some playing time before the All Star break, but it would make more sense to have him in for White than Burns, to my mind anyway.

We will see shortly.

Go Sharks!

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: brent+burns, joe+pavelski, logan+couture, thomas+greiss


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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