January 5th, 2010, 8:38 am
The Sharks managed to serve up a stinker after a brilliant eight-game winning streak, losing to the Kings last night at home 6-2. However, I’d say it was nowhere near as bad as the 7-2 thrashing the Sharks took at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks six weeks ago- that game managed to include three shorthanded goals against. This one merely had three power play goals against, with the kill looking as bad as I’ve seen it this year. Oh, and it snapped a streak of 29 penalty kills without giving up a goal. So we have that. Which is nice.
Actually, both special teams groups looked pretty bad all night, and the fact that Douglas Murray got a power play goal late should tell you something. Now I’m a big Murray fan- he’s played better this year than I ever thought he would, but he’s not exactly an offensive juggernaut. That better describes the Illusionist, the here-today-and-gone-tomorrow, the runaway bride, Jason Demers. Although he’s not the reason why we lost. And he’s not putting himself on the Worchester (and now Stockton) shuttle. That is because of the rarely questioned Doug Wilson, and now I have questions. I asked Dan Rusanowsky on the ChompTalk radio program about whether Demers’ demotion was because of cap or because of play, and he said a bit of both. I just don’t get it.
Demers is making $543k this season, only a few thousand more than Brad Staubitz, although admittedly about double what the Sharks have to pay Jay Leach. And while I have a certain amount of warm feeling toward the new guy, last night we saw a glimmer of why Leach has been of waivers a couple of times this year. And I’m not just talking about him blowing a tire in the middle of the ice with no one around. Leach certainly knows his capabilities, and those don’t include rushing the puck up ice. With the Kings forechecking fiercely all night, the Sharks could have really used a guy that made a move around a forechecker and created a 3-on-2 in the neutral zone. But that didn’t happen, and after some top line dominance in the first period, we saw the reverse of the Phoenix game on New Year’s Eve. The Sharks didn’t get a goal out of it, and the Kings seized control after a missed assignment and two quick power play goals, and the rout was on.
I’d like to see how quickly Demers comes back from his Stockton assignment, which probably won’t include him playing a game, according to Pollak. I’d hate to think this is a bit of hazing, making sure the kid pays his dues riding the bus. Of course there are going to be some rookie mistakes, and I hardly see how racking up frequent flyer miles is going to change that. Work with Trent Yawney and Matt Shaw after practice will.
As a final note, today is the last day to get your submissions in for the first Dudes On Hockey t-shirt contest – please get them in by 6pm Pacific. You’ll have to listen to the last third of the most recent podcast to get the details on what that contest entails. We have a good number of submissions so far, but I know there are more of you out there dying to get your hands on a piece of limited edition podcast regalia.