Wrapup -- Game One, Western Conference QF: Calgary Flames 3, San Jose Sharks 2

After having trudged out of the Tank last night, feeling like last week's leftovers because of this blasted upper respiratory thing and thoroughly peeved over how the Sharks had chosen "Dazed And Confused" as their theme song for the just concluded game, I switched on my car radio just in time to hear Jamie Baker lecturing one and all about how one loss in a playoff series doesn't mean the sky is falling, and based on what he was saying frankly this game wasn't all that important.


I don't know what Baker was watching last night, but what I saw was very legitimate reason for concern. It's not that the Sharks lost. No one expected a sweep. If you go out there and compete, but the other team catches some breaks or makes some fantastic plays or their goalie is standing on his head, you tip your hat, acknowledge you got beat, and set out preparing for the next game. However, that wasn't what happened.

What happened was the Sharks reverted to the same dismal form they've shown in the past three post-seasons where the moment someone stood up to them they immediately turned into timid, leaderless little rabbits scurrying every which way in an effort to look like they're defending themselves but in reality mounting about as organized a presentation as two carloads of teenagers pulling up next to each other at a red light and everyone in each car jumping out to try and get into the other car before the signal turns green. Name names? Sure. Milan Michalek's response to a hard check was a "retaliatory" push that wouldn't knock over a butterfly with bad feet. Aside from his one assist, Patrick Marleau provided about as much effective leadership as whoever in the Donner party said not to worry; not only did he know a shortcut, but the weather in the Sierras during winter was nothing about which to be concerned. These are the things that concern me. Losing a game happens. Losing a game in this manner is unacceptable.

The only player who shift after shift gave the impression he knew this was the playoffs, not pre-season, was Ryan Clowe. He gave maximum effort every time he was on the ice, and it's little wonder he scored both Sharks goals. Unfortunately, he was quite alone in this regard. Given this, the game outcome was as to be expected.

San Jose was outworked, outhustled, and outhit by a Calgary team that features three players of note and a whole lot of roster fill. Three players beat the entire Sharks team last night. So no, don't tell me I'm overreacting. This is not the case. Neither am I panicking. What I am is thoroughly disgusted. It would be nice if the Sharks shared that sentiment and from it resolved no more weak outings. Whether they do so is entirely up to them.