There Is Too Sleeping In The Playoffs

Maybe I'm missing something, but wasn't there a huge push in the NHL not that long ago to cut down on the clutching / grabbing / holding school of playing the trap defense in order to bring some life back into the game? Guess not, based on how the Stars played Game One en route to a 3-2 overtime win.

That said, let's give credit where credit is due. Dallas took what they were given by the officiating and working it to their advantage. Their basic game plan is to think defense first, clog the lanes, wait for the other team to make a mistake, and then pounce. When the game is tied or they're behind they are more aggressive in their effort to establish an attack, but even then the basic philosophy remains the same. The other night, it worked.

The game was for the most part a dull, plodding affair. San Jose had clear physical dominance, but that wasn't on Dallas' list of things to worry about. They laid back, frustrated the Sharks, as mentioned took full advantage of the refs having left their whistles in their other uniforms, and eventually ground out the win.

It didn't help in the least that the Sharks took far too long to adjust. Grinding against a grinding team isn't playing "their" game; it's accepting what's being allowed and using it to your advantage, not allowing the other team sole possession of the scenario. It also didn't help that while Milan Michalek played easily his best game of the playoffs, Brian Campbell... ugh. His asking price is dropping precipitously with every mishandled puck. When the player you're counting on to initiate plays via precision passing is instead fumbling and bumbling time and again, you're not going to generate a whole lot of offense.

Most disappointing was how the Sharks played in overtime; i.e. on their heels. They didn't stand up to Dallas' pressure. They didn't stand up to Dallas period. Why?

Hopefully all parties involved learned their lesson and will be far better prepared for Game Two tonight.