Monday, January 01, 2007


After 3 consecutive losses, all to division opponents, and losing 5 of 7, the Sharks are officially in the doldrums. That is, before the win last night. The 8-0 loss to Phoenix on Thursday night is probably the worst, most embarrassing loss in franchise history. Two other times in their history the Sharks have lost 8-0 and worse. But both came in the first two season, when the Sharks were playing under Kevin Constantine, and had such superstars as Link Gaetz and Kelly Kisio. A team with four All-Stars, including a Hart and Richard winner they weren't.

So management kicked ass, took names, and benched three good players on Sunday vs. Dallas, choosing to suit up Scott Parker, Rob Davison, and Doug Murray, generally healthy scratches all.

And the Sharks looks great ... for 20 minutes. The first period they were flying around the rink, contesting every loose puck, forechecking hard, and driving to the net for rebounds. Frankly, they looked like the Ducks. They went up to a 4-1 lead, and it appeared the rout was on. And then it wasn't. Dallas managed to regain control of their zone, playing their ho-hum, slow-tempo, lock-the-neutral-zone, dump-it-in-and-let-Zubov-take-slap-shots style of play. In the Sharks' defense, they did play the night before, and may have shot their wad proving that they could be dynamic and dangerous in the first period. But it still makes periods 2 and 3 a little disturbing. If the Sharks can't put together a good 60 minute performance after the worst loss in franchise history, exactly when is it going to happen?

There is a bit of a respite, now that Pronger and Giguere are both hurt for the Ducks, arguably the two best players on Anaheim this season. Maybe the Ducks won't end up with 124 points, their current pace. To put that in perspective, the only team that finished with 124 points in the last 10 years is Detroit, last year. In a division which included the three worst teams in the Western Conference. By contrast, the Pacific division this year has the three of the top five teams in the conference. And the two worst. Even so, if the Ducks finish the season with 120 points or more, I would argue it would be the best regular season performance since 1995-6.

With only two really good opponents in all of January (Dallas on the 30th, Detroit next on the 4th), the Sharks need to make a run here. And we need to stop friggin' losing to the Kings and Yotes.

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