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San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks Escape The Island

sharksfan In response to my posting about the day-to-day musings of a Sharks fan, unrulytraveller suggested I could start focusing on certain players. He suggested Mike Grier who, coincidentally, is one of my favorite players. Based on the reaction from the crowd when Grier received the first star at last night’s New York Islanders game, I’m not the only one.

When Grier came to the Sharks I remember I wasn’t totally impressed. He wasn’t the fastest, flashiest skater on the ice – he just seemed to get to where he needed to be and did his job. Later that post-season when the Sharks were on their way to their second-round exit, I noticed that when most of the other Sharks seemed to have lost a step, played out of position or just generally looked like they didn’t know what they were doing, there was Grier doing exactly the same thing, at the same speed and with the same energy, as he did back in the beginning of the season. Since then I’ve grown to appreciate his consistency and hard play no matter what the score or no matter what the situation. I sense I’m not the only one who appreciates his kind of play, I think the whole tank was pulling for him to get that hat trick last night (apparently no Shark has gotten a hat trick this season – is that right?)

As FC Shark Fan noted, we saw Derik Joslin for the first time last night. Being at the game I was able to watch him when he was away from the play and the kid did fine, didn’t seem to make any mistakes or give anything away. When we saw that Jody Shelly was a scratch we were disappointed because we were hoping for some fights – the question then became who’s the backup brawler – apparently it’s Alexei Semenov, maybe that’s why we keep him around. At 6’6”, 245lbs he seemed to really tee-off on Tim Jackman who is 6’4” 210lbs.

The game itself was not very impressive. It seemed like the Sharks played good enough to win. There’s always the debate – do you want an exciting nail biter that your team wins in the end or do you want them to dominate so you can just sit back and relax. Last night’s game was a little of both.

Last night’s seats were not my regular partial season ticket seats. Instead they were in section 227 which was near the section I sat in a few years back and watched the Sharks give up back-to-back 2 goal leads to the Detroit Red Wings for one of those second round exits I was talking about. One of those games I attended with my nephew. When the Sharks were up 4-1 my nephew blurted out that he was happy to see another Sharks win. I reminded him that no lead was ever safe in the Tank, especially when we’re sitting where we were sitting.

Sure enough all of a sudden it was a one goal lead. Despite the win, I’m glad I read Todd McLellan saying “The lapses got them back in the game – unacceptable. Up 4-1 with three minutes left and on the power play and give up a short-handed goal? We have a lot of learning to do as a hockey club.” You can break all the records you want, you don’t go far in the playoffs giving up leads like that. Say what you want about the Islanders’ record, they obviously never quit playing and they wanted the win more than the Sharks wanted to protect their lead, and that’s EXACTLY where the Sharks get into trouble in the playoffs.

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