December 3rd, 2010, 9:00 am
The win-loss-win-loss train rolls on, this time the Sharks posting their first shutout of the season on Dany Heatley Princess Night in Ottawa. Best game of the season for several players, Antti Niemi and Justin Braun among them. I know I’ve been critical of T-Mac for his choices of when to play Niemi in the past, but last night was the right time. Ottawa has had a bad stretch lately, and you probably want Niitty to play against Montreal on Saturday. One thing that did amuse me last night was the ‘storyline’ that Niemi has just gotten ‘better and better this season’ (according to Drew Remenda). I’m a Drew fan, but he got this one way wrong. Here’s the string of Niemi’s save percentages in his last five games: .903, .878, .938, .813, 1.000. That’s not ‘better and better’. That’s up and down, just like the Sharks have been.
The Sharks were utterly dominant at times last night, which is encouraging for Sharks fans, but also frustrating in a way. It’s the same or less stacked lineup than we’ve seen against recent losses against Columbus, Dallas, and Colorado, yet it was night and day the way they played. I know I thought the Sharks might reel off some good wins after the performance at home against Chicago- I’m not nearly as confident this time. Maybe we can get Joe Pavelski or somebody to bash Montreal as a hick town or say that poutine tastes like barf. Then the fans will boo that player every time he takes the ice, throw flaming jerseys in effigy, and the Sharks roll to another win on the backs of the charged atmosphere. Maybe the Sharks should plan a 30-city Disparagement Tour, finding a systematic way to infuriate the fans in every arena in order to light the fire they apparently need.
One down, 29 to go. Although if they keep going hot and cold this way, San Jose may be added to that list without even trying.