Forty-one down, forty-one to go.
Since the thought of an in-depth, player-by-player analysis of Los Tiburones de San José is a bit more than I can bear, in lieu thereof I offer a thumbnail sketch of where things stand halfway through the regular season.
The most prominent items are:
- Evgeni Nabokov's iron man act. It's now Thomas Greiss' turn to keep the bench warm and open the door during home games, as Dimitri Patzold has been sent back to Worchester so he can find out if he still remembers how to play goalie. One has to think Nabby is going to have to take a night off sometime, but I wouldn't bet heavily on it. Thankfully he's been up to it and is having a solid year in net. This is especially important because...
- The offense is MIA. San Jose is tied for the third-lowest number of goals scored. Who to blame for this? Let's be honest. Jonathan Cheechoo and Patrick Marleau have been phantoms thus far. Even Joe Thornton's numbers are down. Not good.
- The defense has played far better than anyone expected going into the season. As in second lowest number of goals allowed in the league, with only four more tallies against than Detroit. The minor detail they've scored forty-seven fewer goals... ah well.
- The emergence of Torrey Mitchell. Kid Dynamite is energy and action plus on every shift, making positive things happen with his speed and puck handling skills. His numbers aren't particularly gaudy (eight goals, seven assists, plus four), but the more he plays the better he gets. Most definitely the best rookie on the squad.
- Why can't they win at home? The Sharks' record at the Tank places them butt-naked last in the NHL. If I read or hear one more "we need to stop trying to put on a show for the fans" comment from any member of the organization I will scream. Stop saying it and just it, okay?
- Why are they so terrific on the road? The best away record in the league. Is room service that inspirational?
Thus endeth my brief look at the state of the Sharks. Feel free to use the comments area and chime in with your thoughts and observations about our men of teal... who are vastly better when they wear white.