Sharks inconsistent season comes down to four game stretch
|42-30-5, 89 points||39-29-10, 88 points|
3rd in Western Conference
9th in Western Conference
Defending Big D
Razor With An Edge
The Sharks were supposed to be much better than this.
Scratch that. The Sharks record was supposed to be much better than this.
Disagree with me as much as you would like, but the Sharks just might be the unluckiest team I've ever seen. I don't want to get too deep into the underlying statistics (you've heard that plenty), the injury issues (every team goes through it) or the inability to get everything moving in the right direction at the same time.
But when you watch San Jose most nights, you can't help but think this team is good. This team has weapons. This team can absolutely obliterate the competition when they are firing on all cylinders. They just haven't been able to do that much of the year.
If you allow me to use a metaphor, and a rather complicated one at that, think of the Sharks as the classic slap-stick example of a guy trying to get something sticky off of him. In a late scene from one of my favorite movies, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", the maniacal Judge Doom is outwitted by Eddie Valiant, and gets his hand covered in glue while trying to clock Valiant a good one, leading to our example.
Doom, with glue on his fist, then tries to punch again, but gets stuck to a steamroller (convienient!). Then panicking, trying to get his hand free, he steps in glue, tries to use that foot to get his hand free, and gets his foot stuck instead! Lather, Rinse, Repeat as necessary until you're run over by a steamroller.
The Sharks have been Judge Doom all season, fixing one problem and having another one almost immediately replace it. Antti Niemi was god-awful for February, but has since turned it around. Problem solved? No, because now the Sharks can't score a goal to save themselves from being flattened in the Acme Warehouse.
All of that aside, these four games give the Sharks a chance to get their act together. Luckily for San Jose, Dallas and Los Angeles are the two teams in the Pacific that the Sharks have done well against. They've struggled against the Phoenix's and Anaheim's, but gotten better results against the division's top-tier teams. Go figure.
Joe Thornton says that the Sharks have to win all four games to make it in. That's really more like 3-1 if you're serious, and if you go 2-2 but win both games against the same opponent (especially LA), you've got a decent shot too.
This season isn't over yet, and if anything, this high-stakes four game stretch will help Doug Wilson to identify the players that deserve to get another shot with the Sharks next year. If not, they'll be thrown in the dip like a sad, squeaky, shoe. (If you didn't cry during that scene, you either have no heart, hate shoes, or are have no heart AND hate shoes).
Prediciton: Sharks win 2-1. Goals by Havlat.