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San Jose Sharks

Observations From Section 212: The San Jose Sharks

San Jose SharksWhen you consider how much I’ve been obsessively waiting for the start of the new NHL season, you would expect that I would have been revved with excitement on my way to last night’s exhibition game between the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. Well, I wasn’t at first. I WAS excited to go, but I was a little reserved in my expectations. As the season start grows near, my busting-at-the-seams excitement has given way to something a little more conservative. I started to wrap my head around all the things that had transpired over the summer. Even though the Sharks only acquired a handful of new faces, gone are around a dozen or so “fixtures” from the team. I also realized that last season was quite special when you really think about it - wrapping up the Pacific Division by Christmas, 117 points, 50+ shots-on-goal games, incredible record at home, and to expect the Sharks to repeat such a season is probably a little unreasonable. I’m also kind of exhausted of all the discussions of ‘what happened last year’ and ‘the expectation is the Stanley Cup’ and ‘who will lead the team’ and ‘is Joe capable of winning in the post season’ and on and on and on. I figured if I was getting a little fatigued by it all, how must the players be feeling?

That all changed when they dropped the puck. Once the game got started and the elbows started flying, it was almost therapeutic to finally be watching hockey instead of just talking about it. I’m sure the players must be feeling the same way - just shut up and play.

Some things I noticed at the game - there were three alternate captains: Dan Boyle, Rob Blake and Doug Murray. I was wondering if that was just a symbolic gesture since you have to have some captains on the ice in order to play the game, or if those three guys were leading the way towards earning the team’s captaincy. And if the later is true, I found it interesting that Murray was in that group.

Speaking of Murray, he started the game on the top defensive line with Boyle. I love the way Murray plays. Nothing brings me greater pleasure than watching his reverse-check move (passing the puck then checking the player trying to check him - turning the ‘checker’ into the ‘checkee’). Murray also scored a hat trick last night, scoring from the blue line, the half-boards and outside the crease. Maybe being exposed to Boyle has done something to Murray’s game, and maybe we’ll see more of him in the upcoming season.

Another thing I noticed was the play of Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov looked great. His legwork was snappy and quick, his flexibility and agility looking better than ever. Then I realized that Nabokov ALWAYS looks like that at the beginning of the season, but seems to get really worn down by the end. Maybe Ron Wilson was onto something when he alternated Nabokov and Vesa Toskala a few seasons back. Whatever the reason, if Nabokov can stay rested and healthy come next April I have no doubt he’s a goalie good enough to get us there.

The question again is, as always, just where is ‘there’ for the Sharks this year.

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2 comments for “Observations From Section 212: The San Jose Sharks”

  1. I think the Sharks will be the team to beat in the West this year if not the league. The sharks are one of the few teams that I worry about when they play the Canucks even more so now you have Heatley.

    Posted by CanuckulheadNo Gravatar | September 27, 2009, 5:35 am
  2. [...] I hate being right, but my hunch about lowered expectations for the San Jose Sharks came true last night as the team barely managed to keep up with the Colorado Avalanche. In the [...]

    Posted by Another NHL Hockey Blog Article from penaltykill.net | San Jose Sharks Practice Skate With The Colorado Avalanche | October 2, 2009, 10:17 am

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