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San Jose Sharks

Chaos Theory + Evaluating the Sharks’ First 3 Games

sharksfan From dictionary.com: chaos theory - the study of unpredictable and complex dynamic systems that are highly sensitive to small changes in external conditions.

In seasons past you could pretty much tell whether or not the Sharks were going to have a good game. If the opposition kept Joe Thornton from setting up shop down in the corner then the Sharks were going to have to improvise to get their goals. Watching the better part of two games this season it seems like Joe setting up in the corner is the backup plan, a tactic deployed only if the defense finds a way to settle down the Sharks’ attack. That’s one heck of a back up plan for a team to have.

My good friend Tom explains that hockey isn’t like football where the plays have a specific design and execution, it’s more of a game that just ‘happens’. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a good amount of teamwork, planning and overall strategy required, there certainly is. But goal scoring is a matter of how often you can create opportunities and how quickly you can react to that opportunity you just created.

It’s basically controlled chaos.

The Sharks offense is chaotic indeed and it really does play well to the team’s strengths – speed, size and teammate familiarity (the core of this team has been together for quite a while now). I think there are basically two principles to the offense:

• Pass the puck before the defense gets to you
• Never stop skating

The only problem with it is it’s very physical and I’m wondering if the Sharks have the physical conditioning to keep up this up for the 100+ games it’ll take to win The Trophy.

On the other side of the ice the Sharks seem to have maintained the one part of their game that I thought was surprisingly under-reported last year: the Sharks excellent shots-on-goal ratio. Last year it was not uncommon to see the Sharks out-shoot their opponents by a 2-1, sometimes 3-1 ratio. So far this year they’ve out shot their opponents 101-53.

Another notable stat is that the Sharks started out the season 2-0 at home - remember how bad the Sharks’ record was at home last year?

It’s early, I know - but when you see teams talk about fixing things but always getting more of the same (see: Oakland Raiders or San Francisco 49ers) it’s refreshing to see a team say they’re going to do something AND actually seeing evidence of doing it.

UPDATE: It looks like I’m not alone in my assessment, see www.fearthefin.com for a similar analysis. Great minds think alike!

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One comment for “Chaos Theory + Evaluating the Sharks’ First 3 Games”

  1. Sharks look so much better this year. Last year they couldn’t get the puck out of their own zone!

    I’m glad Ehrhoff is doing better. Still seems like he’s just an offensive threat though. Clowe is on the third line - that’s REALLY scary to opponents.

    It’s unbelievable how many shots we’re getting off this year. Setoguchi has been my favorite Shark this year and he’s an offensive demon. He plays with Thornton and Marleau… incredible.

    I’m sad that Friesen didn’t make the team. I know the Sharks badly need an enforcer (Murray’s great but not the Shelley type) but I think we’d be scoring a ton more with Friesen playing with Goc or Roenick. And fans love him.

    I like the new kid, Staubitz. But there’s no room for him! He’s a Rob Davison type. Gotta love that.

    Posted by urltonowhereNo Gravatar | October 25, 2008, 9:21 pm

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