Thursday, November 16, 2006

Road Trip Grade: A-

Some might be surprised that I give the recent 4 game roadtrip such a high grade. They played 3 teams, all not very good, and only got 6 points out of 8 possible. By the Sharks' own admission, they played poorly against the Coyotes, the second game against the Kings (where they lost) and Colorado, for significant stretches. However, this feeling about the Sharks is almost entirely new to me. In past years, when the Sharks would play badly, they'd get shellacked. As this recent road trip shows, the Sharks are capable of sucking for a while, pulling up their (hockey) socks, and squeaking out a win.

This ability to win even in non-ideal circumstances is the mark of a good team. It's fantasy to think the Sharks will have their best game every night, or even 95% of the time. There will be plenty of games where they are discombobulated for a period, a power play, or an entire game. Poor teams give up 2 goals during a bad stretch of time, and flog themselves the rest of the game for doing it. Good teams have that selective amnesia - forget about the bad things that just happened - and go back work, knowing they can still win. In the case of the game against Phoenix, we played just crappy pretty much the entire time. But the Sharks managed to find a decent opportunity to score, made it happen, and kept the puck out of their own net. It'd be great to put a 5-0 beatdown on the Sabres, but that 2-1 squeaker has a satisfaction all its own.

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