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San Jose Sharks

New Look Sharks More Like Newerish Looking!

sharksfanI’ll admit I’m still a beginner when it comes to understanding the nuances of hockey. My observations are general in nature but I’m getting better at it. So when I went to the game the other night to get my first glance of the New 2008-2009 Sharks I thought I would see a completely different hockey team. Well, now I realize that even though that’s not what I saw it’s not the team but my expectations that were off.

I heard when Todd McLellan took over the team he and his coaching staff we tasked with individually watching video of the Sharks and deciding for themselves what they thought were the Sharks’ weaknesses. When they all came together to discuss their findings they all saw the same thing (they didn’t say what, just that they all came to a consensus). I was encouraged by that report because that means we may actually be as close as we hope we are.

The Sharks I saw Tuesday night hadn’t changed much from last season in a lot of areas. They still spend most of the time attacking in the offensive zone, they still pass first and shoot second (sometimes to a fault), and they still play a good, physical game.

Unfortunately what also didn’t change was the shots-to-goals vs score ratio problem thingy… Last year the Sharks consistently out shot their opponents, sometimes as much as 2-1, sometimes an obnoxious 3-1. But even with those outstanding numbers they often found themselves in close games. Last night after 2 periods the Sharks more than doubled Phoenix in shots-on-goal but found themselves down 2-1. Whatever the philosophy the Sharks use on defense it seems to work fine for keeping the other team from having opportunities but it also seems like it has a small margin of error. Any breakdown in defense and the opposition’s opportunities, albeit few in number, seem to be high percentage ones. Hopefully that’s what McLellan and company saw….

The good news is I did see some exciting changes. The Sharks did seem to crash the net more, finding themselves in a shooting frenzy right there near the crease. They also seemed better at keeping the Coyotes in their own zone often stealing the puck and getting more offensive opportunities. Hopefully this is part of ‘The Plan’ and not because the Coyotes are, well, the Coyotes.

My early feeling is the Sharks have made advances in some areas while in others have remained consistent over last year. Hopefully we can fix this defensive breakdown thing in time for the playoffs.

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