Two dudes blogging and podcasting about the San Jose Sharks, straight from sunny California.

post Two Periods Do Not a Fast Start Make

October 16th, 2011, 10:29 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

Todd McLellan has mentioned in the press several times that the Sharks had to play a serious game of catch-up last year in the second half.  Lolling around at 12th in the West in early January, they had to rip off a massive hot streak in order to secure their 2nd seed playoff position.  After all of that emphasis, it seems the Sharks decent start has been held to two periods.  After 40 minutes at home versus Phoenix, the Sharks were up 6-1, and just dominating the Coyotes.  Since then, the Sharks have been outscored 7-2, and dropped the last two games against teams we think will miss the postseason.  Both the Ducks game and the Blues game seemed to have the same symptoms- sloppy passing, not a lot of physicality, and giving the opposition too much space, especially on the power play.

This is just an observation from a guy in the stands, but last night there seemed to be a lot of 5 and 6-foot attempted passes underneath Blue skates and sticks.  Many of those passes didn’t work out.  A lot of tricky and slick attempts went nowhere, and even turned into scoring chances the other way.  Now I go and read the game recap, and T-Mac agrees:

“We weren’t prepared to play a grind-it-out game,” McLellan said. “We wanted to play this fancy puck possession stuff against a team that wanted to grind it out.” Later, he added: “We choose to be the Globetrotters in the first seven or eight minutes of the game, and it doesn’t work that way.”

Lots of east and west, not enough north and south.  We clearly got the shot differential, but Greiss did not have a Quality Start, while Brian Elliot was close to having a Goalie Steal.

On the good side, it’s nice to see the fourth line playing quite a bit (Winchester 9:54, Andrew Murray 10:17, Andrew Desjardins 9:54), and the third line, especially Torrey Mitchell, has been good as well.  Mitchell had another point last night, and giving him two more points on the season than Joe Thornton (0).  Joe especially was a big offender in the Globetrotter department.  While he did make several passes that had me scratching my head, wondering how he got that through, he also had several that had me scratching my head, wondering what the hell he was thinking.  I guess it’s a fine line.  Overall it almost seems as though the Sharks think they have such a talent surplus over the other team that they can not commit as much to the unpleasant parts of the game, like getting hit, forechecking aggressively, and doggedly working the boards and corners.  As the Blues and Ducks have both proven the last 48 hours, it just doesn’t work that way in the NHL.  Kent Huskins will hurt you with a laser wrist shot.

11 Comments to “Two Periods Do Not a Fast Start Make”

  1. Shrk2th says:

    I guess the last line sums it up. If your team doesn’t commit to working hard, even “Kent Huskins will hurt you with a laser wrist shot”.

    I hope the Sharks get their act together beginning Monday night. It’s only been 3 games. But 3 will turn into 6… and before you know it, the Sharks will be in 12th place in mid-January again.

  2. hateseed says:

    I was camping this weekend and missed the Sat night game. The recap made me a lot sadder than the score-result, but most especially the Huskins goal was salt inserted into a fairly deep wound.

  3. Cyoor says:

    Huskins have +5 more +/- then anyone on the sharks team, and have as much poins as the best one on the sharks team right now.
    Something is clearly wrong in the world.

  4. Tom says:

    FYI. Also sending this in as a comment/question for the podcast.


    So, I don’t want to get crazy here, and I want to have the proper perspective that the Sharks are only 4 games in… 

    But I have to say I think the leash on this team is really short. DW showed this offseason he isn’t afraid to make any changes he deems necessary. 

    And no be clear – I’m not calling for changes to be made with the Sharks roster. I think this crappy start has just as much to do with a bad schedule as any other factor. But there also comes a point where all the talk on this team becomes more empty hollow words and no action. 

    I am realizing this fact… That this road trip could be a monumental one for this team. Come November 3rd, when we play the Penguins at home, I think the Sharks are either gonna have their issues sorted out… or… we might be on the verge of something drastic happening in SJ. I almost can’t even write it… 

    I just cannot imagine DW has much of a desire to watch this years Sharks team struggle the same way they did last year. He has said publicly that in hindsight he wishes he had made moves earlier last year. 

    I can’t imagine we’re gonna see that same level of patience if this years team can’t pull it together. 

    So here’s to the Sharks having a great road trip AND not continuing to make barely NHL capable goalies look like all stars!

    • Cyoor says:

      Hmm Im not sure what the question was, but yes, I think you are right in what you write. IF they go on the road trip, come back and continues to lose games, there is a big problem and DW will probably do something about it.

      However, the thing im thinking about is.. Right now SJ on paper is a verry good team and ALOT of changes have allready been made. At some point I dont know if continuing to swap players in and out of the team is the right thing to do. The thing they are having problems with is what is getting done on the ice, not how good their potential as players individually is.
      As I see it there may be two possible issues here. (That is if threre realy are problems, and not just some start of the season thing) The first thing is the “spirit” of the team, meaning the effort they put in or how they think heading into the game, might be off. And/or it might be that the system they play just isn’t working.

      So.. As a manager, how do you think DW would solve any of those problems?

      Or may there be other problems I dont see here?

      Just to clarify: Im not saying we have a problem just yet. Its to early to say, but as Tom says since we have seen things like this before its abit hard to just let it pass by without a thought.

      • Tom says:

        Yeah. I formed it into a question on my email to the dudes. It’s more of a comment here.

        But the core question is do you think DW has this team on a shorter leash than last year – which I have every indication he does.

        And you’re right Cyoor, on paper there isn’t much that can be improved. But I’ve seen teams and GM’s trade core players just to shake up the team.

        In honesty I don’t know what the correct course of action would be. Just merely pointing out that the road trip might end up making or breaking this years team – at least in it’s current make up.

        • Cyoor says:

          The discussion is intresting and I have alot of thoughts about it. But I think Ill wait some untill the roadtrip is over to say mor then ive allready done about the topic though. 😉

  5. Ruben says:

    It is a little to early in the season to be stressing out about this team. I grow enough gray hairs during the playoffs.

    Honestly, I seriously doubt that DW thinks the Sharks ran out of gas at the end of the year last year. He is a smart man and appears to be a slick motivator, just like TMac, and was trying to motivate the team. The Sharks losing against the Canucks had much more to do with Niemi playing poorly, the PP fizzing out after G1 and 2, and the evil stanchion.

    The Sharks probplayed more than well enough to win both games against Anaheim, but it just didn’t happen. Unless the Sharks are something like 3-12 after 15 games, I think DW stands pat until midseason to give this team a chance to gel.

    • Patrick says:

      I agree with everything you said here, Ruben, except that they played well enough to beat Anaheim in the first game. They played absolutely horrendous, and had about 8-10 terrible giveaways in their own zone. If not for a bunch of big saves from Greiss that easily could have been a 4-0 loss.

      • Ruben says:

        You know what, I’ll admit that I didn’t catch that game until the middle of the second period, so that very well may be the case, but didn’t the Sharks heavily outshoot Anaheim in the first period of that game? Still, I do remember turning the game on and Drew and Randy commenting that Anaheim had taken over the game midway through.

    • Tom says:

      Ruben I appreciate your feedback because it was an open question. But I’d encourage you to read this interview on Fear The Fin with Doug Wilson.

      From that interview:

      “You want to be patient and believe in your players but at some point you need to move. Where we were at in mid-January was unacceptable, the way we played down the stretch after that probably took its toll on us, the margin for error that we had to compete to get into the playoffs.

      So you wish you would have been more aggressive—

      Not aggressive. We are always aggressive.
      Pulled the trigger earlier.

      Made some trades, yes. You could say we aggressively believed in our people. Which is good, but sometimes—we knew it was a good group. We knew they cared. We knew they could play up to a certain level. But sometimes you’ve got to say, “You know what? They need a change, they need something.” Sometimes, and yes last year we had some suspensions and had some injuries and all that, but we couldn’t wait any longer. We always say, “Look in the mirror first”. We would have done something a month earlier.”

      I’m not saying anything needs to be done now. I’m just pointing out the notion that DW might not be so patient this year.

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