Sharks Gameday: A December To Remember



7:30 PST
24-13-2, 50 points 23-8-7, 53 points
4th in Western Conference
2nd in Western Conference
98.5 KFOX,
Five For Howling

Before this month got underway, we came to the conclusion that these next two months of Sharks hockey were a prime opportunity for the team to load up on standings points in preparation for the last third of the year-- the vast amount of home games led one to assume that it was an achievable goal, a chance to pad the stats and acquire a thick layer of body fat to be used in case the team decided to hibernate once the premier players returned from their respective national teams.

Unfortunately, the case can be made that hibernation struck early. And I'm not quite sure there's a whole lot of sun melting the snow just yet.

What we have today is a look at the even strength play of the team as a whole over the course of this month, broken up by period. As always, penalties drawn/taken do not include coinciding minors, fighting majors, "too many men", and puck over the glass infractions.

Even Strength Goals (December)

Goals For
0.8 (8) 1.1 (11) 0.4 (4) 2.3 (23)
Goals Against
0.2 (2) 0.5 (5) 0.6 (6) 1.3 (13)
+0.6 (+6) +0.6 (+6) -0.2 (-2) +1.0 (+1)

Even Strength Shots (December)

Shots For
8.1 (81) 6.5 (65) 7.0 (70) 21.6 (216)
Shots Against
9.0 (90) 8.0 (80) 9.1 (91) 26.1 (261)
-0.9 (-9) -1.5 (-15) -2.1 (-21) -4.5 (-45)

Even Strength PIM's (December)

PIM's Drawn
2.0 (20) 1.8 (18) 2.2 (22) 6.0 (60)
PIM's Taken
3.6 (36) 3.2 (32) 2.8 (28) 9.6 (96)
-1.6 (-16) -1.4 (-14) -0.6 (-6) -3.6 (-36)

There's not a whole lot of positives here, except where it counts (that being the scoreboard). Whether or not you take that as a good thing when looking forward to future results is completely up to you. In my opinion, San Jose doesn't have the personnel to be able to counterpunch to the extent that Anaheim did in last year's postseason-- at some point the lack of a premier shutdown defenseman will expose some gaudy shots against totals, causing more pucks to end up in the back of the net. You also have to wonder just how much the Sharks can continue to rely on Nabokov to remain nearly invincible as he has looked the past few games, what with his heavy workload, age, and the oft-cited effects of playing in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.

However, what concerns me the most about December would have to be the penalties drawn vs. taken. Those are some pretty porous numbers, and seem to indicate a team that has (or had) forgotten to move their feet. A lot of this team's production is reliant on special teams, and if they're giving away opportunities left and right like they have during December, you're going to see them continue to turn in erratic game by game efforts for the rest of the year.

All that being said, the win against Anaheim was an excellent showing for a team who needed one. Here's to the next two games against top opponents producing more of the same.


Phoenix is a team that really gives me the Sharks some issues, in large part to their ability to break the game down into manageable blocks. Dave Tippett's teams have always been a hallmark of the trap system which, while frustrating to watch, is extremely effective, especially with a goaltender who has the skill level of an Ilya Bryzgalov. It's likely going to be another low-event snoozefest tonight.

Prediction: Sharks win 3-2. Goals by Heatley, Ortmeyer, and McGinn. The gameday open thread gets a little more traffic.

Go Sharks.