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Yikes!
Sharks taking big steps backward so far
10/20/10 - By Paul Krill -

Right now, Sharks fans must feel like fans of the 2008 Tom Brady-less New England Patriots, when the Patriots played the Miami Dolphins early in the season. Because Patriots fans that day got to see something they hadn’t seen much of in quite a while: Losing big at home. (The Dolphins, who went 1-15 the previous year, demolished the Patriots, 38-13.) Sharks fans have watched our team get whipped in San Jose by nondescript teams from questionable hockey markets (Carolina, Atlanta) in games we probably figured to be phone-in games for our high-powered Sharks.

But it hasn’t worked out that way.

Pucks that won’t go in and numerous defensive breakdowns have had Sharks fans witnessing celebrations by the visiting teams on a San Jose ice surface where the Sharks had, at long last, become dominant in recent seasons. We’ve already seen shorthanded goals given up in both home games. And games have been decided with plenty of time left on the clock; fans have streamed toward the exits with the game still in progress. This is something we used to see a lot of in the past, but not recently. It’s certainly not what we had in mind for this promising 2010-2011 campaign.

It’s apparent, however, that putting three superstars (Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau) and Joe Pavelski on the ice is not going to be enough for the Sharks to contend this season. They will have to bury chances and play some defense.

If things don’t start getting better by, say, a month from now, the Sharks are going to have to trade for some defensive help. And they will have to pay big, probably trading a couple of young forwards. With the aforementioned four players probably untouchable, the following players may not want to close on any Bay Area mortgages in the next month: Ryane Clowe, Devon Setoguchi, Torrey Mitchell, Logan Couture. They all could become trade bait if the Sharks start shifting to desperation mode.

The Sharks’ next home game, on October 27, features the similarly plagued New Jersey Devils in a matchup that could be called The Battle of Two Teams Supposed to Contend for the Stanley Cup But That Instead Have Stunk So Far.

Yes it’s very early in the season, but if the hole gets deeper and deeper, Sharks fans could find themselves in the position of hoping the team can scrape into the playoffs with one of the bottom spots, with no home ice advantage.

We’ve seen the team win a lot in recent years while still failing to even get to the Stanley Cup Finals. It would be a shame if last season’s Western Conference Finals dismissal turned out to be as good as it gets for this Sharks team.

It’s time for the Sharks to get their act together, or some familiar Sharks faces could find themselves suiting up for other teams.


Contact Paul at at pjkrillsharks@yahoo.com



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