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Up and down, up and down
4/21/08 - By Steve Flores

As a 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 roller-coaster.

Contact Steve at


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