San Jose Sharks Definitely Not Peaking Too Soon
The San Jose Sharks have lost three regulation games in a row. The horror. For Sharks’ fans it’s a time of great concern, although from the rest of the hockey world we get no sympathy. Watching the Dallas Stars game I think the Sharks, coming home after a February spent mostly on the road, may have felt that being home was alone enough to win the game. It kind of makes sense, when you play tough, close games on long, exhausting road trips - returning home might feel like ‘an automatic’. Against the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks, the Sharks now see what teams jockeying for playoff position are capable of.
Drew Remenda commented during the Canucks game that this is the time of year where the coaches are not responsible for turning games around, as when the Sharks were falling behind to Vancouver. His take is that all year long the coaching staff has put into place a system that they believe, if executed, can lead the team to success, and that the onus is on the players to take control of games that are getting away from them. If true then that ugly question could be brought up again - Patrick Marleau’s leadership as team captain.
Hold on, I’m not bashing Marleau nor do I think he should be traded, benched, demoted, etc. What I’m saying is during the end of last season and much of this season the captain has been taking on that role, much to the pleasure of many a Shark fan. But as of late - not much is coming from the captain, and that’s the part that concerns me. Is he injured? Should he be rested? Whatever the problem I hope it corrects itself as we begin the push to the playoffs.
But there’s the rest of the team. Any one of those guys are capable of inspiring play in whatever capacity they specialize in. There are moments here and there from one player or another, but how do you get them to all get it together at the same time? How would the players react if the local media reported on the Sharks the way say the Canadian press covers their hockey teams? Is this where the curse that is the lack of hockey coverage in the media hurts a team like San Jose? Would the team be better served if they were covered not as overly critical say as in the New York press but more like some of the other local sports teams? If critical but constructive team coverage helps kick the team into another gear, we here at The ‘Net are trying our hardest!
But finally, during this slump I’ve noticed that in all 3 games there have been at least 2-4 kids from Worcester getting a lot of ice time, so perhaps the team is trying to get as many guys into the fold as possible - tuning them up for the playoffs. Or maybe, just maybe, this is some evil genius by Todd McLellan. Maybe he’s bringing these kids up to intentionally make it harder for the Sharks to win, perhaps even lose with a purpose? Maybe he wants the team to feel a little fallible, just enough to get them to appreciate the work it takes to win a hockey game? If I had a press credential I’d ask him that, but I don’t so I can’t.
At the end of the day everyone says you don’t want to be peaking too soon and that’s true, remember our 20+ game non-loss streak to end last season and how far that got us? And where the heck is Torrey Mitchell??