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Roller Coaster
Sharks are inconsistent, except for blowing leads at the end of games
12/20/10 - By Paul Krill -

This year's team has been a tough read so far. After starting out the year not looking so good, the Sharks have played some great games, such as the Kings game on November 15. But they also have had a penchant for blowing leads late in games, such as last week's game in Nashville.

Then, there's the Philadelphia game a couple of weeks ago. Since I was busy working that evening attending a Bill Clinton speech, I had to rely on intermittent updates from my BlackBerry instead of watching the game. Once the Sharks got behind 4-1, I figured that game was out of hand. Then, I refreshed the BlackBerry a while later and saw the score was tied. The Sharks then won the game.

Right now, though, it's tough to say whether this team is good or just mediocre. The Sharks have not been able to put together a long winning streak and there is absolutely no certainty this team will even make the playoffs . Of course, tearing up the league in October and November two seasons ago got the Sharks nothing but an embarrassing first-round playoff loss in the Spring of 2008.

Instead of the usual cast - Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau - leading the way, it has been "rookie" Logan Couture (who played last year but still qualifies as a first-year player) and Ryane Clowe taking charge. No-names like Benn Ferriero have been impressive as well. If players like Marleau can pick things up, the Sharks can start to dominate the division in time for the playoffs.

Maybe the recent San Francisco Giants World Series victory can serve as inspiration. The Giants weren't even assured of a playoff spot until the last few days of the season. Then they got hot in October and it didn't matter anymore if the team had struggled several months' earlier. If the Sharks can just gather steam starting about now, they should be OK for a long playoff run or maybe even a championship. But they're going to need to make the playoffs first.

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