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They're not Problems
They're Issues
11/24/13 - By Ken Smyth -

At the top of my last Hockey News were the words "Why You Can Believe in the Sharks This Time". It arrived just as the Sharks were slipping into a slump. So here we go again. We have issues. We've always got two tens for your five. Every season you tell us that things are different now, that you've changed. We always fall for it. Then you fail and break our hearts, and we always take you back. We enable you. We are either true fans or future guests on Dr. Phil.

A good effort last Sunday in Chicago could have meant a win. The Blackhawks got their wings clipped in a blowout the night before in Nashville, and were hitting the road again Monday to leave the United Center free for the circus. Instead, the Sharks brought the clown show early.

There were a few thrills, but nothing to scare the kids. Tommy Wingels and Joe Pavelski put out a good effort, but Hawk fans got to play "Where's Jumbo?" in the third period; trying to find Joe Thornton out on the ice during his shift (hint- of the four guys in white standing in front of Patrick Kane while Kane passed off to open teammates, Joe was the one in the tall striped hat). Tuesday night the same Blackhawks team got waxed in Denver, admittedly playing in front of their AHL goaltender, who wasn't too sharp.

The first six weeks of this season show that the San Jose Sharks can certainly beat up on good teams still figuring out a new coach's system and bad teams that won't figure out anything. They can make the playoffs piling on against poorer opponents, and the schedule gives them streaks of those. But they're 0-3 in games against last season's Conference finalists, and that says another second-round exit.

They have the talent, supposedly, to do much better. Coach Todd McLellan is expressing frustration; he has his own issues. Most NHL coaches rely on the leadership of established players to motivate the team. Good luck with that, Todd. All we hear are the usual stale platitudes from the dressing room. Three coaches are sacked already and it's only November.

You can start to explain that the Sharks are missing some guys, but at this point in the season so is every other team. If losing a Burns or Torres tanks this team, they have no business in the playoffs anyway; and should consider trading a top player to start rebuilding. That probably won't happen unless Doug Wilson decides he is not going to re-sign someone. He may have issues, too, but nothing that will muss his hair.

The Pacific Division is proving to have four other competitive teams ( Phoenix, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Anaheim), all of whom beat up on the Eastern Conference and break even overall against each other. The Sharks have owned Vancouver, but they don't see them again in the regular season. The Kings will show up next Wednesday. Will the Sharks? Not that we'll stay angry if they don't. Because it's not you, Sharks; it's us.


Contact Ken at at kensmyth@letsgosharks.com


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