Here's how I view things looking forward. Nabokov played a great game, and he's shown once again he's one of the greatest goalies to just forget a bad game and come out and find his rhythm. Thornton continues his newfound ability to forecheck, and Patty is Patty. That said, we're still down 0-3, and for numerous reasons.
Yes I understand a lot of the hate comes from a horribly played game 2. Our defense looked confuse and Nabby basically lost confidence after allowing the first 2 goals, 1 of which was his fault and 1 of which wasn't. But game 3 seemed to be a slight problem with mentality. Pavelski's disallowed goal could happen to anyone and while I'm on the topic game 3 was one of the best reffed games in the playoffs this year. But he had a wide open net after a beautiful pass from Thornton and he shanked it horribly. It's almost as painful as watching him miss shootout goals when he does his crazy mind-games stop and shoot technique. Always gets the goalie, it just has to hit the net. Heatley has basically been playing like he's allergic to rubber (if this is the truth I feel bad for him in more ways than one), but every time he touches the puck it's either a very ill-advised pass, an ill-advised attempt to carry the puck into the zone himself, or a quick shot which I like, but often doesn't hit the net. And I don't recall the last time I've seen Boyle take a shot from the point. He keeps passing to Murray, and we all know Crankshaft would rather just dump the puck so he can chase it down and check someone into the boards.
So here comes the point of my post. We're down 0-3, and everyone is thinking off-season. As productive as some of the comments may be, there is still a 4th game to be played. And since mentality seems to be the biggest issue next to execution (which is half mentality anyways), I hope the Sharks play like this: fuck it all. Just play the game. Have fun, skate hard, and just play the game. Why should Pavelski be gripping his stick extra tight? He has a rocket of a shot and just cause he found a pretty unfortunate time to go cold doesn't mean it should get to him. Heatley should just start tee-ing up shots like there's no tomorrow. Honestly, even if it becomes another one of the 20 blocks the Blackhawks seem to muster up every game, if he just fires away it'll injure someone. And I really don't want the Blackhawks to win the Cup. Not while NBC is sucking their dick through the entire regular season. Thornton should keep playing his game but just calm down a little bit. I know everyone loves this new angry Joe, but I wish he could play like this and actually not have to slash Bolland on the faceoff. Sweep or no sweep, this Sharks team is the best I've seen since we got Thornton. I'm proud of the way they've played, minus game 2 of this series, and I hope this team for the most part stays in tact. I'd also like a Jed Ortemeyer sighting before the playoffs end. Given the situation, I hope he comes out Sunday.
As for the inevitable off-season talk that will come Cup or no Cup (since everyone seems to be a free agent), here's my quick thoughts. Patty, Pavs, and Seto are the priorities. I love all three players and they are a solid group to build the team around for at least the next 5 years. I think Thornton has 1 more year (but I could be wrong and honestly he's going to stay), and I have no idea what the hell Heatley came over here with. But first thing's first, we need defense. If a team like the Blackhawks dominate anywhere over us, it's defensive depth. Blake will most likely retire and it's fortunate we have a guy like Demers getting all this experience so he can be a solid D-2/3 next year. But Vlasic needs a Chris Pronger/Hal Gill type to complement his skating and stick checking abilities. Preferably not the actual Pronger or Gill though since they come with the age baggage. I could care less about Heatley's presence in SJ, since he seems to just about cough the puck over every time someone gets within 5 feet of him. As for Nabby, it's really a coin flip for me. From a neutral standpoint, he still has 2-3 years of prime Nabby goaltending left in him before age starts to become a factor. Would not mind signing him for another 3 years and go with that but also wouldn't mind if we just save the future trouble and let Greissy step up while getting a solid Boucher-like back-up just in case things go horrid with the German.
Looking at the free agents list from http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/2010-nhl-unrestricted-free-agents-by-position/, here are a few names that interest me, not only due to their skill sets but their salary.
Tomas Plekanec - 2.75m Obviously is expecting a big payraise this offseason so don't really know about signing him. But he was on Montreal's 3rd line for much of the season and look where he is now.
Willie Mitchell - 3.5m Just look at how different Vancouver looked with Mitchell out of their line-up due to concussion. Vancouver will probably prioritize him but if we can get him for basically the same as Rob Blake's salary? Pickles, say hello to your new linemate
Kurtis Foster - 600k Power play specialist and excelled in getting extra man points on a bad team. Since McLellan loves dressing 7 defensemen, how about Foster playing a Burgeron role ala Montreal? Liability defensively, but still young at 27.
Cory Murphy - 500k Basically the same as Foster but cheaper salary in 09-10.
Vesa Toskala - 4m Even though he's horrible now, remember how solid his numbers were in SJ? And he played in playoff games for us too. Plus the media will eat up the irony of his return.
Michael Leighton - 600k Making quite a name for himself in the playoffs this year. I don't like goaltenders who step in from a back up role and play amazing in limited time, and I can name a bunch of goaltenders who got huge contracts with new teams because of situations like Leighton is in, only to play average goaltending the next year. Still, his salary is drool-inducing and since the crowd of "Nabby Must Go" are all suggesting journeymen-type goalies, how about Leighton if we can get him around the 1-1.5m range?