Up and down, up and
4/21/08 - By Steve Flores
child I always loved riding on roller coasters. Funny how things change when
you grow up! The San Jose Sharks Western Conference Quarter Final series with
the Calgary Flames has been every bit the thrill ride with as many ups and
downs, bumps and thrusts of an actual roller-coaster, but it definitely hasn't
been an easily enjoyable ride. Excitement in sport is a truly desirable facet
of competition. The series has been as close to a classic as an opening round
series can be. Close contests, great comebacks, excellent goaltending!
The Sharks took a 3-2 series lead and went to Alberta where they played like
the underachieving Shark's team's of the past. A seemingly heartless effort
that has left the faithful wondering whether the team has the wherewithal to
actually finish off the lower-seeded Flames in the series deciding game seven.
As a matter of note the Flames have also been a teeter-tottering team
in this series yet they came alive when their backs where truly against the
wall. The Flames not only staved off elimination in game six, but also
seemingly took back any and all momentum that the Sharks had grasped with their
two back-to-back wins in games four and five.
I am not sure if anyone
can ever explain the reasons a team as talented as the Sharks can play as
poorly as they did in game six, but the Flames deserve credit for putting the
Sharks into a position that had them reeling and doubting themselves.
The Sharks were missing passes, fanning on shots, falling all over the ice and
nowhere to be found at key moments in the crease. The Sharks were dominated on
face-offs early and often. Their inability to finish was frustrating to watch
and the overall effort was easily their worst in these playoffs.
Tuesday night becomes the team's most important game of this season - if not
franchise history. This adage will, no doubt, continue to come up should the
team find a way to advance into the NHL's final eight. A loss on Tuesday will
more than likely cost a few people their jobs with the team - both players and
coaches alike, which is too bad.
Ron Wilson and staff have done a remarkable job with
the team this season. If a team is unable to find passion and drive from
within, in response to their current post-season situation, then it is not the
fault of the coaches. These are grown men and they know what's at stake. Fires
should not need to be stoked form beyond one's own heart and soul. The desire
and drive to succeed comes from within, not from the coach's mouth!
Tuesday night is the biggest night in the history of the San Jose Sharks.
Something tells me the Calgary Flames will be even more aggressive than they
were in game six. The big question is whether or not the Sharks will be able to
respond in a manner that shows us all whether they are truly a team that has
that which it takes to do what they must.
Hopefully the team will find
their E-Ticket game and show the world that they can control that proverbial
Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
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