Sharks Gameday: No Time To Cry
@ 7:00 PST
10-7-4, 24 points 6-11-4, 16 points 11th in Western Conference 15th in Western Conference
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If you were deserted on an island or stuck in a foreign airport since October and didn't see any hockey games this season, these last two games were all you would want to see to get a clear picture of your 2010/11 San Jose Sharks so far.
They can come out hitting, blocking, saving, fighting, shooting, shedding blood one night, giving one an impression that they may be the best team in the league right now. Then in the next game the same Sharks can come out timid, flat, unmotivated and so disorganized that one wonders if they even want to play hockey anymore.
As we've said again and again since the season started, inconsistency has been the name of the game for this team.
Last night the Sharks played one of the stinkiest games of the whole season. Sure it was against a good opponent, but this was still no excuse. It wasn't just how many goals San Jose allowed. It was how the defense played and how these goals were scored. Years ago I spent a summer as a tourist in Scandinavia. Luckily, most people there speak English, and I had no problem communicating in a normal setting. But it was when I played sports that I had major problems because on the field people still spoke local language. In one soccer tournament they asked me to play defense. While I sort of knew what to do due to playing the game since I could walk - there were many times when I was messing up because I couldn't understand what my teammates were yelling in Swedish or Finnish or whatever. I felt like I was playing all by myself because whatever they were asking me to do, I had no idea. Or at least this was my excuse.
That's about how the Sharks defense looked last night against the Canucks. Players kept running into each other. There was no help from one another when one was found out of position. If they tried to talk, the players apparently did it in foreign languages. Worst of all, they kept giving the puck away, as if they not only couldn't hear each other, but couldn't even see each other. Poor Dan Boyle - he'll see this one in his nightmares.
Tonight San Jose Sharks have a good opportunity to forget it all as they step back on the ice in Edmonton. There is no time to think about what happened yesterday. Not much can be said of this year's Oilers - they are once again competing for a lottery draft pick. They're the second worst team in the NHL, won just three out of the last 10, and have the worst goal differential in the league, -32. Out of nine home games, the Oilers won just three. They also have a penalty kill unit from hell - way behind of everyone in the league with the 67.5 percentage.
Let's see if the Sharks can quickly bounce back from the wreck in Vancouver and restore some confidence. When they return to California, the next opponent is an old friend, Detroit Red Wings.
Prediction: Sharks win 3-0 on goals by Boyle, Wallin and Niittymaki, all set up by Kent Huskins.