| The Air is Different in San
Sharks turning in 60 minute efforts
|5/3/10 - By David Towers -
It started in Game 3 of the first round series
against Colorado. It was as if we were looking at a different group of guys who
were somehow swapped for our regular San Jose Sharks. It seemed like a magic
trick to some of us however it was not an illusion, the San Jose Sharks are
actually playing playoff hockey. This is where I will lose most of
you. What the heck does this guy mean?
Of course they are playing
playoff hockey, they are in the playoffs!!! Hello!!! That is very true
but the hockey that the fans of San Jose have been watching during the playoffs
since 2005-06, (unpleasantly defined as the Joe Thornton era) has been anything
but playoff hockey. The past several seasons have actually given the San Jose
Sharks the most incredible roller coaster ride as fans.
coaster would take us very high and speeding very fast through various curves
and turns. That same ride however took us quickly off the coaster track and
giving us a feeling as though we have flown off the coaster completely. It was
consistently up and down for Sharks fans since 2005. One game we would see the
teams immense talent playing their hearts out and the next game would see the
teams talent completely vacate the building.
There was no
consistency except for the fact they were inconsistent. This created a very
uneasy feeling in the pit of Sharks fans stomachs whenever the playoffs would
roll around. A distinct certainty and expected gloomy outlook that was defined
by waiting for the other shoe to drop at any given moment.
it dropped directly on our heads with a thud that gave us migraines. This time
around its been different. The Sharks team is now playing a game that
correctly ignores the future. Every second of the game they are playing in at
the moment, is getting the teams full attention. No longer do they get
comfortable when they have a lead and stop using the strategy that gave them
the lead in the first place.
Something that has had devastating results
for the team. The 2nd round, 05-06 against the Oilers, losing the
series after being up by 2 games & the 2nd round in 06-07
against the Red Wings, less than a minute away from taking a commanding 3-1
series lead it all starts to fall apart and the Sharks lost the remaining 3
games. Even beyond the realm of believing that they had the game in hand, the
past 2 playoff seasons had their own level of annoyance attached to them.
Finishing with the leagues best record or being
in the top 3 had instilled its own level of expectation that the Sharks
path to glory would somehow be easy. The Sharks had plain and simple either
expected that the team they were playing against would not show up, or they
thought that the level of effort they needed to bring to the game was minimal
because of their incredible talent. It has bit them in the rear for the past 4
playoff runs. This playoff season we are seeing a different team and it is
creating a new environment for Sharks fans in San Jose.
Each game is
getting a full 60-minute effort. Each shift has potential for something to
happen. Each player is assuming their role of responsibility and doing
everything they can to fulfill it. The casual fan needs to understand that
although this is something they naturally expect from their team in the
playoffs, Sharks fans have not been exposed to this type of playoff hockey for
the last 4 years. We are happy to be getting reacquainted with it.
most important thing for Sharks fans of the Joe Thornton era is not that the
team achieves the ultimate prize, although obviously none of us would come even
close to complaining about it should it happen. Rather whats most
important for us right now is that our team gives it their all in the game we
love. Losing when your team has given up is 100 times worse than losing when
your team gave it their all.
No matter what the outcome of the game may
be, Sharks fans want to hold their heads high knowing that their hockey players
were doing their best for the entire game. Whatever problems the Sharks
currently have, with their defensive issues and minimal scoring from its
big guns, Sharks fans are absolutely ecstatic to be watching their team play a
full 60 minutes and not assume for even a second, that the outcome of the game
is known. They are playing till the final buzzer.
This is something new
and believe it or not, the Sharks are right now, finally learning what it means
to play, playoff hockey. No longer are they relying and waiting for a team
leader to come through. They are learning the team game that is needed for
playoff hockey. This Sharks fan thinks that these students will have a very
high & fast learning curve.
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