Support this community by becoming a Sponsor
  HOSER of the WEEK
  Contact Us
  Meet the Staff
  Join the Team
  Our Sponsors

A matter of WILL?
Sharks need to pick it up against tougher competition
2/7/10 - By Steve Flores -

Where to begin? Yeah this is yet another column along a road that has been traversed countless times before. The San Jose Sharks sit atop the NHL's Western Conference yet the fans and critics are once again at their throats. The Sharks 4-2 defeat last week at the hands of their arch-nemesis the Detroit Red Wings has, once again, fueled the fires of the critically vocal. Once again the Bay Area's hockey franchise bowed to a team that it knows is an important team to overcome. In fact there are really only two teams in the league that the fans, critics and players really, truly, gage themselves upon; the Wings and The Chicago Blackhawks.

Well folks the Sharks combined record against these two teams this season is 1-3-3. So, in a nutshell, the 'gut-check' games that the Sharks should gear up for have resulted in abject failure.

In review of the Red Wings' victory on Tuesday night Sharks analyst Jamie Baker brought up the word 'will'. Baker used the term to describe the positive level of the Wings effort over the Sharks. Baker went on to describe the continual ways that the Sharks find to 'implode' when they take the ice against Detroit . The Sharks have performed even more poorly against Chicago - having really only played well in the most recent contest against the Hawks - and in that contest they dug such a deep hole that the Hawks eventually found a way to rise up and get the better of the result.

The Sharks seem listless and hopeless in the bulk of these games. Last season (Marleau injury aside) the team was dominated by the Anaheim Ducks and in prior years have folded like a tent in each post-season series that they lost. I also must point out that they were actually favored in all of those playoff series - they were not the underdogs!

The question of 'heart' and 'will' pervades this team like a looming ominous shadow.

The fans of the team wait and hope each season that the team can find a way to break through and meet all of the expectations that have been lauded upon them by supposed experts, players and fans alike.

Like the Sharks chances or not the team is laden with big name, high priced talent. GM Doug Wilson has gone out and brought in pieces that he feels will hopefully put them over the top. The problem with this logic is that the issue may not lie in the area of talent but may actually be the far more intangible lack of 'heart' or 'will'.

Intangibles are a difficult thing to gage and even more vague in their definition. The one factoid that can be pointed out is that when the Sharks engage a top NHL team or a 'hot' franchise they always seem to fail in the end.

This team definitely has holes on defense. Team Captain Rob Blake has begun to see critics lambast him in print for his defensive deficiencies. Constant penalties have resulted from poor positioning, poor puck control and most frequently the need to clutch and grab because players are too fast for him to stay with. Blake has been guilty of it since the start of the season, but only recently has the media decided to place it in print. It was almost as if a professional courtesy had been handed to him for his years of excellence in the league. It now appears that this 'pass' has reached its expiration point.

Injuries to Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic have compelled the Sharks to dig deep into their AHL Coiffures to replace these important defensive components while they recover. The only problem with placing blame on these injuries is that these guys have played the bulk of the games against Detroit and Chicago and still the team has managed to be not only outplayed but even dominated at times. Two of the games against Chicago were affronts to NHL hockey. The Sharks were truly embarrassing.

Everyone in the know assumes that Wilson will bring in a defender of two prior to the trade deadline. I am sure that he will bring in players better than what currently mans the blue line and that the team will be deeper than they are currently constructed. The problem is that this still may not be the best or most needed corrective surgery. A call out to a Heart Surgeon may be the most apropos form of knife wielding needed. But alas, no X-Ray or MRI is able to detect problems of 'heart' and or 'will'. It is up to the Sharks to prove whether or not the now percolating fervor of discontent, critique and unrest is to be proven wrong or right.

Contact Steve at

What did you think of this article? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums

Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

Privacy Statement   |   Contact Us   |   Advertise
Copyright 1997-2015 All rights reserved.
This website is an unofficial and independently operated source of news
and information not affiliated with the San Jose Sharks, any team, or league.