I'm on my way to Philadelphia for what turned into a working vacation thanks to the Sharks reaching their first ever Stanley Cup Final. No complaints here, obviously, so I took advantage of my time aboard a Southwest Airlines plane to answer some Sharks questions.
@fearthefin Do you think 8 and 88 in teal are gripping their sticks too tite? It's hard to see some of our biggest produces not score.— Mike Parra (@BEAVERCAAAT) June 7, 2016
Questions like this are tough because we can't get inside the players' heads to see what they're thinking. Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski haven't scored a goal in this series but both have put forth decent possession numbers. What they haven't done is put pucks on net the way we're accustomed to seeing.
Pavelski took five shots on goal in game four (that's a lot) but he put only four on net in the three games preceding it. He's usually good for a goal about every nine shots, so maybe Pavelski has one coming in game five.
Burns is suffering from a similar problem — he has 12 shots through four games, below his regular season average of 4.31 shots per contest. I won't play armchair psychologist, but it seems the Penguins have done a good job getting into shooting lanes and the Sharks haven't adjusted.
At this point in the season, I assume everyone is playing with something. That being said, no, I don't think Pavelski appears to be injured in such a way that it explains him going goalless through the first four games of this series. But who knows, I'm not a doctor.
This question likely refers to this video, yet again displaying ESPN's total contempt (or just stupidity, I guess) when it comes to hockey. Anyway, no, his beard is the only thing keeping the rest of us alive right now. I hope he grows it all the way through next season, too.
You're more than welcome to do whatever you want, but consider this: Doug Wilson has made some great moves and some terrible moves while with the Sharks, but I still feel the good outnumbers the bad. Yeah, the Roman Polak/Nick Spaling experience has been crappy, but we can't just forget about Joel Ward/Joonas Donskoi/Paul Martin because of it.
Well, we can, but I'm not going to.
@fearthefin if Hertl doesn't make game 5, how would you line up?— Damian Moody-Smith (@DMoodySmith) June 7, 2016
I'd do something like this:
@fearthefin Why can’t the Sharks move through the neutral zone against the Penguins at all?— Mark Allen (@bytemeorg) June 7, 2016
The Penguins play pretty aggressively in the neutral zone and the Sharks passing hasn't been good enough to exploit it. In game four they resorted to home-run passes and nearly connected on a few of them...but they didn't. So a combination of poor adjustments and lack of execution.
I would be extremely surprised to see Hertl again this season.
Probably. Honestly, given his contract and play I don't see too many takers for him over the offseason whether he wants to go or not. That being said, if Wilson can get a decent return, he should trade him. Marleau can sign a one day contract when they retire his jersey, but the Sharks aren't in a position to let sentimentality cloud their judgment.
I really hope not. Both have played very poorly during the Final and we can only hope that's been enough to convince Doug Wilson they can't be a part of the group next season.
I think so, yes. Seems like he'd be a good fit on the top line with Pavelski and Thornton, which means Hertl could move down the depth chart.