Thursday, November 29, 2007

Royally beat down by the Kings...

Let's face it Sharks fans. This team isn't lacking skill - they are lacking intensity and heart. To allow yourself to get beat two nights in a row AT HOME by a team that is currently assembled of players no one wanted mixed with a few young guys is inexcusable. The fans in our section (props to 124!!) were disgusted by the result and you can feel the Tank is not the home ice advantage it used to be. The Sharks don't own "Sharks Territory" anymore and the Kings certainly aren't afraid of coming to town, it might be their favorite place after all. I think I saw Kopitar and O'Sullivan skipping through Christmas in the Park actually. Cute couple.

You can't teach heart. Some of these guys on the Sharks just don't have it. We know who Marleau is - a very good skill player without much fire and prone to slumps. When that is who your Captain is - the teams attitude reflect it. When your Captain is Chris Pronger or Brendan Morrow....I think you know the answer.

GM Meeetings are upon us. Doug Wilson, your move boss.


Ian said...

Except Iginla wears the C to an equally underperforming team, albeit one with Keenan as the coach, so there's that. Morrow hasn't exactly lifted Dallas on his back either. And remember, Owen Nolan played with all heart, all the time, but that didn't really translate into a Cup run.

To put it another way, Detroit isn't exactly led by a bunch of mean SOBs: Lidstrom, Zetterberg, Datsyuk. They win anyway.

Why them, and not the Sharks? Dunno. It doesn't appear to be coaching, or talent, or any particular piece of the puzzle missing. This year's Shark team just doesn't execute. At all. They don't dominate the other teams with their speed or size, don't appear to ever really be in control of the game. Other teams seem to be hanging back and waiting for a mistake they can capitalize on. It works, too.

Mike said...

Hehe, you read it before Grier pulled out Iginla... do a refresh. I brought up exactly your point on his initial posting. And last I checked, Dallas is leading the division.

Your other points make sense, but I agree with Grier in that intensity is the missing piece. Nolan didn't play with the talent this group has.

Megalodon said...

The Sharks are last in the league in home wins, but near the top of the league in road wins. To me this points to the team's youth more than anything else.

Young players at home are vulnerable to the "hurry-up" mentality, especially on the power play. When the fans get nervous and start complaining, it can cause a lot of problems for players without the experience to block it out.

Can'tStoptheGrier said...

I did pull out Iginla - but I do think even though Calgary is going through a funk, Iginla is probably still playing hard. I disagree with you about Morrow - that guy is the heart of team playing through a rough time. They have responded and Morrow averaged a point a game. Granted, the Wings aren't built around tough guys, but all three of the players you mentioned show up to the rink every night. They lead by example. What is Marleau's current example? Not finishing his checks and not producting on the ice and not responding strongly to criticism by the coach after choking in the playoffs. That is the current "team leader". That is my point. If this team had Owen Nolan and Mike Ricci in their prime, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

I'm not saying trade Marleau. I'm saying add some players who might be able to change the culture of this team. We must all remember, this is a young team. The Owen Nolan Sharks were a little salty and played hard because they had less talent. This current version of Sharks have as much talent as any team in the NHL, but after three years of the same result, we all agree there is clearly something missing, and I think it is unreasonable to sit and wait for Marleau and company to be something they are not - locker room leaders and impact veteran voices.

Nick said...

So my comment got lost earlier but it's probably for the best so i just cut to the point

The sharks organization has a fondness for gritty players. This year we brought on Ricci and Marchment, and our assistant coaches, Zettler and Hunter, were certainly not known for their finess. They were all spark plugs for the team and solid locker room guys. Now granted, I know Ricci and Marchment aren't in the locker room but Zettler and Hunter are which really just adds to my confusion over why this team is utterly lacking any jump.

Finally, I can only imagine the impact that Owen Nolan would have had on this team in his prime. Trade for Nolan circa '97!

Ian said...

I think we all agree that the Sharks need to play with more intensity.

The problem is that you can't really buy intensity, or import it. The Sharks have been playing whack-a-mole for the last few years, chasing the elusive "missing piece" that would finally put us over the top. I fear that trading for, say, Darcy Tucker will be just another piece-meal attempt to plug a hole, and that it won't work, because they have everything they need to be an elite team, right now, dammit.

Frankly, the Sharks have slipped to a middle-tier team this year, on the playoff bubble, mostly due to extended slumps by key players. Darcy Tucker won't fix that, even if he personally kicks the ass of every forward on the team. Marleau, Cheechoo, and Michalek actually remembering how to be an offensive threat will.

Ian said...

re: Morrow

The Stars lost in the 1st round of the playoffs with Morrow wearing the C. We went to the second round with Marleau as captain. I'm sure Stars fans at that point were looking at us with envy at our deep, talented forwards, who could regularly put points on the board.

We could definitely use some intensity from our Cs and As, but I want production first and foremost.

Jeremy said...

How much accountability are you and Mikey willing to take?
Has the Tank become an easy place to play? Are the fans not the 7th man they used to be? Is the sushi better at the consession stands?

Mike said...

I appreciate you trying to stir the pot, JT, but we both know the fans have little to do with how the team actually performs. The Sharks sold out most of the games in 2002-3 as well, when they were last in the Pacific (your boy Teemu leading the charge, as I remember).