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Deja vu again
Two games played. Two games lost
4/20/09 - By Steve Flores -

Unfortunately this year's version of the San Jose Sharks is looking more and more like every other year's version. The one big exception is that this team is likely bowing out in the very first round of the post season. Normally the Sharks tantalize their fans enough to get them into the second round. This season the Sharks earned the NHL's best regular season record by virtue of flying out of the gate like 23 men on a mission (those of you who attend the game's can attest to the irony of that much used HP Pavilion playoff slogan).

I am not going to sit here and break down, in tiny detail, which players are performing poorly or making mistakes etc. Players are human and stuff happens. I don't want to underplay the importance of player's mistakes, or to minimize any concept that players must give 100% at all times. This goes without saying. But, as far as I am concerned the Sharks are down 2 games to none because their power play has gone the way of the Dodo.

The Sharks levied PP goals in like 11 of their last 12 or 13 regular season games. The team wasn't scoring many even-strength tallies but the PP was definitely on track.

In two games against the Anaheim Ducks they are zero for twelve. Despite the efforts of the Ducks, despite lapses that the Sharks may have had, despite the likelihood of injuries that some key Sharks may obviously have the one fact remains; this team could be up two games to none if they had scored on three or four of their power plays!

The Ducks deserve credit in their efforts. They have shutdown the Sharks in virtually all aspects of their offensive game. The Ducks are working hard on both ends. They are being well coached by Randy Carlyle and Jonas Hiller has been stellar between the pipes. But, they have not played AMAZING, FANTASTIC, INCREDIBLE hockey. They have played very, very well. But a great team would be able to find a way to beat them. Great team's win Stanley Cup championships.

The Sharks played like a great team early in this NHL season. Injuries to their players along with adjustments by opponents led to a lesser degree of success in the season's latter portions. But, make no bones the Sharks were thought of (once again) as an elite side. However their play through the first two playoff games has been anything but elite.

Let us throw all of the rhetoric, analysis and scrutinizing aside. A team with the ability to win the whole enchilada would find a way to dispatch an eighth-seeded team. The Shark's have the look of the wounded and hunted deer in their eyes. We have seen both this look and the currently exhibited body language in the past.

This team looks to be on its way to post-season golf before the end of the week.

No one can turn the tide but the players themselves. Not Head man Todd McLellan and not his coaching staff. No speech from GM Doug Wilson and no pep talk phone-calls from mommy or daddy are going to change this series. The Ducks are standing like men and they are making these Sharks look more like guppies or mismatched boys than NHL caliber players. The next two games (in Anaheim ) are must wins for the Sharks.

Anything less than total victory in Anaheim will ensure that the Sharks continue to hold on to the much deserved mantle of "King Choker's of the NHL".

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