After watching the Stars go around the Sharks while constantly taking a dump on them, I can't help but remember last year. Everyone in the locker room is saying all the right things, but i see absolutely none of that t coming out on the ice.
I feel like there is an easy way to narrow down the list of culprits so we know truly what is leading to this epic meltdown... again...
Here are the 5 reasons why i feel we are going in last year's direction:
1) COASTING INTO THE PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!!
Yeah, the sharks may have set a record for most 3rd period come from behind victories to end in regulation, but that does not mean crap as we enter the playoffs. In the playoffs, there is no such thing as coming from behind in the 3rd period. The positive of this record was to show that we stick to our fundamentals and the plan will get us goals in the end. If the sharks do not start showing up for the whole game in the next 3-5 games, I am sorry to say this, but it will be another quick exit for the sharks and another offseason left wondering where all the talent and money went.
2) Continually Changing Line Combos
Yeah, I am going to dish some of this blame right onto Todd McLellan. Why? Simply because he is changing lines around way too late in the season. At this time of the year, lines need to be set, and even if they are going through a slump, you let the line work it out. Look at the last 2 Stanley Cup winners. Detroit and Pittsburgh both kept their lines the same and let the line as a whole heat up and carry them through the playoffs. The sharks NEED to get their lineup set and ready to go for the playoffs now. If it is not working, DO NOT switch it up. Let the players work it out. they have practice and they all know each other well enough to do that. This will also build resiliency and work ethic for the lines. We know that many players in the sharks lineup can move up and down and that is great if we get hit with an injury, but till that happens, all lines should be set in stone.
3) The Lack of a Solid Goaltender
Nabby is one of the best goalies in the world and Griess is a great backup, but if tonight was any indication, we should know by now that Nabby wont play as well as he does in the regular season in the postseason. I truly believe that goaltending will play the largest role concerning how the sharks do in the playoffs. We can say that most of those goals were not the goalies fault, but where was the big save when we needed it from Nabby or Griess. Its time that Nabby really settle into the net, because if he doesn't, its over.
There are 2 things to look at here. First, Drew Remenda made a great point near the end of the game today saying that players are getting too comfortable in their positions in the lineup. There is no competition to wrestle those jobs away from them. Players feel like even if they have a bad game, they can still just move on and try better next game. There are 2 problems here. First, it is detrimental to the sharks to continually change their lineup like i said in #1, but also that the lack of competition is affecting their drive to perform at their peak in every game.
The other way to look at competition is that the Coyotes and catching up to us and that the Blackhawks have not gone away. The fact that our Pacific Division crown is on the line right now should be enough motivation to get us playing better. Since this does not seem to be working for the Sharks , lets look at it a different way. How about the fact that the Red Wings are getting hot at the right time and seem like they will end up in either 5th place to 7th place. So sharks, who would you rather play, Red Wings or the Predators? I think everyone will go with the Preds for the first round over the Red Wings.If we fall out of first, I feel we have a better chance of being matched up with Detroit.
This last point is not a great point, but it has a lot to do with the sharks current predicament. Over the last 3 years when the sharks have been near the top of the league, we have failed to go into the playoffs with any kind of momentum. The sharks need to look at the year when Jumbo made his way to SJ. That year was the year when the sharks were coming into the playoffs with a great deal of momentum.The sharks NEED to start playing desperate hockey right now. They cannot afford any more mediocre games or come from behinds after not even playing for 2 periods. No, that time is over. Its time that the sharks get their butts of the couch and start leaving it all on the rink night in and night out. For the sharks, the playoffs need to start today and they need to realize that they need to win every game they play from now on. All the players in the locker room say that their goal is a Stanley Cup and nothing less, but by the looks of their play, it sure looks like some Sharks players have already made reservations for the summer and are ready to get their break started.
So i think it is fair to say that the sharks need to get their game together, before it starts looking a lot like last year, because there is no way anyone makes it out alive if that happens.