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San Jose Sharks

What Can You Tell From One Hockey Game?

sharksfanThe guys on NHL Home Ice were discussing back and forth whether or not last night’s Red Wings loss was significant or irrelevant. Losing a home opener to a team they should beat on a night where they raised their World Champion banner - is it a sign of things to come or is it just one game in an 82 game season?

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The Sharks showed some impressive hockey last night in their opener against the Ducks. Having had a day to digest it a bit more here are some things that I and my fellow Sharks fans noticed last night:

1) Passing - apparently you’re not allowed to hold the puck for more than 3 seconds in a Todd McLellan scheme. Those guys passed the puck constantly and in any direction - drop passes, between the leg passes, between the opponent’s legs passes - but not many across-the-ice passes. We’re definitely seeing a new, short passing game where you tic-tac-toe the puck up the ice. And no standing around. The Sharks forwards are in constant motion and moving towards the front of the net. That motion seems to really work the defensive guys cause they’re constantly changing directions.

2) Hits - if it moves and it’s not wearing black and white stripes, hit it. When we were going to the game the radio announcers were speculating that even though this is a big rivalry and these two teams probably really hate each other, since it was the first game of the season it might be pretty reserved comparatively speaking. The Sharks hit the Ducks constantly, probably trying to send a message that the San Jose Sharks are not going to be a soft team anymore.

3) Diversity - We talked about it here before (and was validated yesterday by our old friend Ray), the Sharks had to get production from more people than just Joe Thornton. My friend Tom has been saying for two years that our blue line production needed serious improvement. With 3 assists from Blake and Boyle plus one goal from Christian Ehrhoff maybe this is the year we see the blue line come alive offensively and force the opposition to spread out their defense.

So does the first game of the season mean anything? I don’t think anyone can really know for sure, but what I do know is if it DOES matter it’s better to be a Shark than a Red Wing!

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