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Wrapup -- Game Three, Western Conference QF: Calgary Flames 4, San Jose Sharks 3

Okay, I'm relatively sure I've calmed down enough to discuss this game in a fairly rational, analytic manner.  Or at the least do so without violating my own community guidelines about no profanity.

At some point in time, the Sharks players have to address why they are either unwilling or unable to answer a direct challenge by another team.  The moment they did the seemingly impossible -- run up a quick 3-0 lead and with it run Miika Kiprusoff out of the game -- they adopted an attitude of being able to take the rest of the game off.  When Patrick Marleau was run by a Cory Sarich cheap shot, they responded by running their mouths at Calgary even as they turtled.  The end result was as expected.

The defense played horribly in this game.  Kyle McLaren is slow, indecisive, and absent as a physical presence.  Douglas Murray plays hot potato with the puck every time he's in its general vicinity.  And what has happened to Brian Campbell?  Bad decisions, even worse puck control... why?  The cynical side of things suggests perhaps his agent needs to remind him that when it comes time to contemplate whether an unrestricted free agent warrants the big bucks, NHL general managers look at post-season performance just as intensely as what transpires during the regular season.

Finally, when are Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek going to show up?  They continue to play their regular season system of Thornton holding the puck while waiting for Cheechoo and/or Michalek to work themselves free for a quick pass and a scoring opportunity.  Nice idea... when you're given the space by the other team's defense.  However, this is the playoffs, during which you are guaranteed to be wearing a defenseman like an extra jersey provided the defense is playing things properly; i.e. how Calgary is doing it as opposed to San Jose's scared little rabbits during a fire drill scheme.  The Sharks top line needs to both step up their quality of play and adjust their philosophy.  Period.  What they are doing isn't working and will never work until the regular season next year... which at the current rate will be in a handful of games, since the post-season will not last much longer if San Jose keeps going at its present indifferent, unwilling to work pace.

Why this team continues to be a yo-yo escapes me.  Either they're not listening to Ron Wilson, or to put it simply they don't want to be bothered with playing at the necessary level for post-season success because they either think they're above that or are at their core gutless.  Whatever the issue is, they're better resolve it two ways: immediately and permanently.  If not, their season will be over in said fashion.