Since Mr. Plank has some mid season writing issues on the gameday thread, I think I will step up to the plate now. I have been reading FTF for a while now and finally decided to post for the first time. I was going to post this in response to todays gameday thread and my thoughts on the upcoming roadtrip/second half of the season, but I just keeped on writing. So I decided to start a new fan post.
This roadtrip is going to be a tough one. We need to pickup our play if this is going to be a successful road trip. I think one aspect overlooked lately is the adjustments other teams have made to system coach Mac has brought to San Jose. Not only what other teams are doing, but also our teams ability to adapt to the finer details of the system. By now the scouting on our team is out. Teams have been making the adjustments to stop us at the red/blue line and dump and chase and fight from the corners out. Slowing us down from the offensive rush, shoot, and rebound cleanup type of play we were we executing to perfection early on in the season. Teams didn't know to slow down the new explosive offense and high shot production coming from us. Two points to make about how teams have been adjusting. 1) When breaking out from behind the net teams have lately been playing a 1-2-2 trap (also implemented in Vancouver and Edmonton). Forcing us towards the boards and doing one of two things, slowing the rush in the neutral zone or making us dump and chase if we still want to enter with speed. Allowing defenses and opposing forwards to get back and pick up the extra attacking body. 2) When there is a quick transitional breakout, teams now are definetely aware the third guy on the rush could be the backside defensmen jumping up into the play. With this recognition teams have been clogging this passing lane and breaking up the cross ice tape to tape pass. With the adjusted play , I think our Sharks need to find and execute the finer details of the system brought in. I think we need to improve on the execution the cross ice dumps into space and passes off the boards in the neutral zone to beat the traps and generate high quality scoring chances. This wil continue to create higher percentage rush and rebound opportunities along with the high shot on goal production we got in the first half of the season.
I feel the only way to do this is to play mentally tough for the full sixty minutes night after night, nothing else is acceptable. The late defensive breakdown last game are types of games that can swing momentum in playoff series. We shouldn't allow that to creep into our game. Like everyone else I am pleased with the improvement this year. We pretty much have a lock on a playoff spot maybe a pacific division title already. And its only early January! But we need to improve the execution for sixty minutes day in and day out. We have found all type of ways to win this year. And we all loved the early run up to the top of the nhl, but now its time to focus. There is still three, and hopefully four plus months of hockey left this season. We need to adjust to how teams are playing us and execute for the full sixty minute effort. This upcoming roadtrip is going to be brutal if we don't step up our play. Go Sharks!!!