I'm tired of the experts and players trying to find the bright side of these losses. After every loss I hear people saying "the sharks did everything right. They couldn't have played better". While it is true that the energy is there and they seem to be going through the right motions, the fact remains the same that if you only score 1 goal in something like 117 shots then SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YOU. I just don't know what it is.
We are getting shots on goal, we are getting good puck movement and doing a good job winning the battles, so I really don't have true diagnosis although I have some theories. People have noticed that HP pavilion has been quiet this year; well, we're not having fun watching the Sharks because there don't seem to be having fun playing. Thornton has not been the same player in the offensive zone as he used to be and is committing too many turnovers in the neutral zone, we have already talked about Marleau enough, Pavelski is injured but even when healthy has not been getting it done, Boyle has actually been quite mistake prone lately and is missing defensive assignments, and Huskins really hasn't looked healthy since he came back and I feel like he should be bumped down to the bottom pair.
I'm not here to be completely pessimistic but something has to change. The only statistic that really matters in hockey is goals, and we can't seem to get there. The Sharks have found a way to make every opposing goalie seem legendary. Miller, Rinne, and Hiller have looked like Gods between the pipes going against us.
One final note: The Sharks have found a way to disappoint its most die-hard fans the most. What I mean when I say that is when the die-hard fans here at FTF or other communities go out of our way to back them up we get let down. Anyone remember FTF Night at the Tank? 4-0 Shutout to the Kings in the worst game in recent memory. And tonight, 350 Sharks fans woke up before sunrise and drove 400+ miles to support this team; and while the effort was better, the outcome was the same: a shutout loss.
There are a few things to be learned from this:
1) Quantity does not equal quality when it comes to shots. Many of those shots on goal were right to the chest which leads to goaltending stat inflation, making goalies seem like legends
2) Top men not getting it done (nothing new there)
3) Play for your fans. The Sharks have done well playing current teammates former teams (if that makes sense, say it out loud a few times and you will see that is not a typo). The Sharks played for Heatley when they played the Senators, for Niemi (3 times!) when they played the Blackhawks, and Nittymaki when they played the Lightning. Their incentive needs to be to play well against every opponent for the fans. For the people who drove 13 hours round trip. For the people who show up at the tank early on FTF night. For the people reading this blog right now who bleed teal each and every day of their lives.
This is not blind optimism I am about to spout. The season is only half over and the race for the west is tighter than ever. The Sharks right now could still finish First in the West! The top is within sight, it's simply a matter of who is willing to fight for it. I know I may have seemed like a downer when I started this piece, but I truly believe that this team can do it (with maybe a few moves at the trade deadline). Don't lose faith, fellow finatics but also do not fool yourself into thinking that nothing is wrong.