Home Sweet Home For The San Jose Sharks
Dear Mr. Pittpen - let me explain what happened. I know your team is in the middle of a long road trip and certainly fatigue is always an issue, and I know you were also missing some key players due to injury. But unfortunately your team ran into a San Jose Sharks team that played in a way not yet seen this year.
The Sharks made a lot of personnel changes over the summer and the Sharks have been working on getting into sync. The Sharks were becoming notorious for making passes to empty spaces. Sometimes they’d make passes to the other team. Last night the Sharks passing seemed to take on a precision and crispness that I hadn’t seen all season. It was probably the first time that all four lines were all on the same page.
The Sharks are also sometimes known to…well…let up. I’ve seen the Sharks give up plenty of 3-goal leads. Last night, for whatever reason, the Sharks knew it was a 60-minute game.
When the Sharks were bounced from the playoffs last year, the conversation turned to the eventual change in the team’s captaincy. Danny Boyle was a name that came up a lot when discussing a new captain for the team. As this season progressed Boyle, while playing sound defense, seemed to be less of the offensive threat as we had come to know him. Last night he displayed the kind of offensive prowess and skating agility that has made him quite the fan favorite.
Evgeni Nabokov ended last season as an average goalie. I thought he must have been playing hurt for most of the season, it was the only reason I could come up with to explain such a sudden drop in performance. Nabokov started the season again very average but has managed to really get his game back, playing better than I’ve seen him in over a year. But one area of concern was his puck handling outside the crease. Nabokov has been known to pass the puck to the opposition, setting them up for nice one-timers to an open net. Last night Nabokov handled the puck like nothing I’ve ever seen him before. He made passes like Joe Thornton!
So the Pittsburgh Penguins ran into a Sharks team playing their best hockey of the year. What remains to be seen is if this was just a blip on the radar or a sign of things to come.
And for those Sharks fans not paying attention – since Rob Blake is out with injury, did you see who was designated as an alternate captain? Patrick Marleau.