Sharks Gameday: Reasons To Be A Little Less Pessimistic



7:30 PST
21-16-6, 48 points 21-19-5, 47 points
9th in Western Conference
12th in Western Conference
98.5 KFOX,
St. Louis Game Time
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Things have been pretty dire in Sharks land lately. A six game losing streak, currently the longest one in the league by three games, compounded with play that's very much deserving of said streak. Two of the only players that are actually playing well are injured in consecutive games. Losing to the Leafs at home for the first time in 13 years - there are eighth graders out there that had never seen that before. Patrick Marleau is number 783 out of 788 in plus-minus - regardless of your opinion about that stat, that's horrible for a player who is known for his defensive prowess. Outsiders have started commenting on the Sharks’ play, which only happens if they are on some massive losing streak/lose in the playoffs.

Basically, being a Sharks fan has sucked the past few weeks, and with their overall inconsistent play this season, there really has been little to fall back on. So, in lieu of an actual game preview, I present to you a list of reasons why to be optimistic, or at least a little less pessimistic.

  • The Sharks lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers in consecutive games at home. Since the Sharks have already played the New Jersey Devils this season, it literally cannot get any worse.
  • Antti Niemi has markedly improved his play, a credit both to him and the goalie coaches the Sharks employ (i.e. Wayne Thomas). Just imagine the Niemi of October playing with the Sharks of January. Yeesh.
  • The Sharks have found that much sought-after consistency for a few weeks. Yes, they are consistently bad, but that is still technically consistent.
  • As Antti Niemi has transformed into the goalie version of Matt Cain (great stats, horrible win-loss record), we can be comforted that he will have a 0.00 GAA in the playoffs.
  • Logan Couture is not out for the season.
  • Every single player on the Sharks not named Ryane Clowe or Logan Couture is underperforming to an almost extreme degree. The odds of that happening again are not very likely.
  • Both Huskins's and Wallin's contracts are up after this season.
  • Doug Wilson has not traded away the 2011 first round pick.
  • Jim Harbaugh. According to the Bay Area media, he's the answer to every problem.
  • Joe Pavelski is back, bitches.
  • Defense prospect Taylor Doherty has been described as Chris Pronger-like with his stick positioning. Oh, and he's also 6'8".
  • Despite a six game losing streak, the Sharks are only 4 points out of playoff position.
  • Last week, I saw a guy wearing a Chicago Cubs hat and a New Jersey Devils sweatshirt. So, you know, at least we're not that guy.
  • Charlie Coyle: top 6 forward at Boston University as a freshman, chosen as one of the best three USA players at the World Juniors by the coaches, tied for the lead in scoring for the US, and has been deemed a "steal" for San Jose by some.
  • If things keep going this way, we won't be getting any articles about how the Sharks always choke in the second round of the playoffs, which will be a nice change.
  • For that matter, we likely won't be getting many articles from Mark Purdy or Tim Kawakami about that or any other subject concerning the Sharks.
  • There is no Bay Area championship curse. Not that we'd have to worry about that this year, but it's always good to know.
  • None of the Sharks are -27 and locked into a $100M, 15 year contract.
  • Within the past year, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, the Oakland A’s led the majors in ERA, the Oakland Raiders actually won more than 5 games for the first time in 7 years, the San Francisco 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh (see above), the Golden State Warriors are a little more respectable this year, Stanford won their first BCS bowl game, and Cal held Oregon to its lowest point total this season. This must be bizarro year, which means the Sharks had to suck.
  • In the 2009-10 season, 7th rounder Jason Demers suddenly emerged as an offensive defenseman in the mold of Dan Boyle. This season, 7th rounder Justin Braun suddenly emerged as an offensive defenseman in the mold of Rob Blake. Obviously, there is some sort of 7th rounder offensive defenseman factory in Worcester, and we need to get them the mold of Nicklas Lidstrom for next year's suddenly emerging defenseman prospect.
  • When the Sharks score goals at home, Gary Glitter's Rock 'N Roll, Pt. 2 plays in celebration. Gary Glitter is a convicted pedophile. Ergo, the Sharks' lack of scoring is because they have decided to no longer support pedophilia.
  • Last year, the signs of the impending apocalypse were many: Douglas Murray's hat trick, Marc-Edouard Vlasic's fight, Joe Thornton's interview with a shirt on, the Sharks getting past the second round of the playoffs... Obviously, this is the apocalypse that the signs foretold, so we're all good in 2012.
  • No Shark is signed past 2014, which means if worse comes to worse we'll only have three more seasons of this.
  • Somehow, the Sharks are still technically above .500. Woohoo, winning record!
  • The Sharks are just getting used to their new Zodiac sign; based on the day the Gunds were awarded an NHL team, they used to be a Taurus (stability, loyalty, and dogged determination) and are now an Aries (initiative, courage, and determination). The lack of the "dogged" adjective is really getting to them, but they'll adjust soon enough.
  • Kyle Wellwood has reportedly been signed by the Blues, but he still will have to go through waivers. The Sharks still have a chance!
  • I will likely be unable to go to another Sharks home game this season, so their chances of being shut out at home have been greatly diminished.
  • No matter what, even if the Sharks lose out the rest of the season (which is a feat in of itself), they still will have a better record than the 1992-93 Sharks.

Prediction: Sharks win, 7-1. Jamie McGinn (x5), Joe Pavelski, and Kent Huskins. McGinn’s goal-scoring onslaught will begin when he channels the spirit of Owen Nolan and scores from the red line.