|7-7-1, 15 points||6-5-1, 13 points
|10th in Western Conference
||11th in Western Conference
A day after news of Joe Thornton’s suspensionn threw the city of San Jose into a frenzy, the Sharks handled early season Eastern Conference powerhouse Tampa Bay to the tune of 5-2, setting the stage for what should be another exciting game at HP Pavilion tonight.
Thornton will still be watching from the rafters, but his name is bound to receive its fair share of attention even if its not being uttered by Drew Remenda or Brian Hayward. The NHL General Managers will be conducting their annual fall meetings today to discuss a wide array of issues, and common sense indicates Sharks GM Doug Wilson will be banging the drum quite heavily on Rule 48, specifically concerning the League’s disciplinary committee and their handling of suspensions for hits targeting the head. Speaking to David Pollak of Working The Corners over the weekend, Wilson re-iterated his feelings on the supplementary discipline handed to Thornton by Colin Campbell and :
“If they ask me my opinion, I will give it,” said Sharks GM Doug Wilson, an architect of the new rule who strongly disagrees with the suspension of his team’s captain…
…Wilson also contends the hit was not predatory as defined by the rule. To support that, he points to an almost identical shot that defensemanput on Chicago’s last season — a hit included in a league video as an example of acceptable contact.
But on to other matters.
As we stated before Saturday’s game, Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan had his hands full in attempting to reign in a team that was struggling in the offense department, had developed a propensity for ill-timed penalties, and was skating without their Captain. The Sharks handled that test well, striking first in the tilt with a shorthanded goal from , and displayed an ability to channel their energy into productive ways to earn the two points they needed.
That doesn’t stop tonight however. As the Sharks have shown over the early part of this season, putting up a five spot on any given night isn’t out of the ordinary– San Jose has done that with regularity this year. Five out of their twelve games this season have resulted in 5 goals for or more, a good indicator that when the team is rolling offensively they have one of the most potent offense groups in the League. A brief perusal of the top nine roster forwards on the team is a testament to that.
The issue this season has definitely been consistency. Whether it’s winning puck battles along the boards, stacking bodies in front of opposing goaltenders, or fighting to get to high percentage shooting areas, San Jose hasn’t quite been able to find that nightly cohesion expected of them. It’s a problem that can be rectified on some level tonight with another strong outing, but one that will be looked at very closely as the season moves along.
A six game homestand helps in this regard. But in order to build on Saturday’s effort against Tampa Bay, San Jose needs to come out with the same discipline and tenacity they showed in those sixty minutes, and ensure that the on-again off-again performances we’ve seen thus far don’t become a bad habit that is hard to break.
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Prediction: Sharks win 5-3. Goals by McGinn, Marleau, Demers, Vlasic, and Setoguchi. Todd McLellan somehow manages to work Thornton into a 5 on 3 power play late in the second period.