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Nothing wrong here
Move along
12/3/14 - By Ken Smyth -

With a quarter plus of the season gone, the San Jose Sharks' are 6-6 (or 6-5-1 if we break out shootouts) against 2014 playoff teams but 6-8 against non-playoff teams. Being bipolar means that you are really up part of the time, (uhh, so I'm told) but there's not a lot of happy here. The break in the announced sellout streak is easy to spot with rows of seats empty over the last few home games.

The stats tell another bipolar story. Against good teams they have 36 goals scored versus 35 against, again dropping the shootout add-in. Playing non-playoff teams they have 30 goals for, 31 against. That works out to about a 0.7 goals scored per game drop when they play against a non-playoff team (3.00 vs 2.31). Goals against go up against better opponents, but that's not something that should surprise anyone. What this says is that the Sharks play measurably better against the better teams, and in the process are dropping a lot of standings points when they snooze and lose to cupcakes.

Yogi Berra was quoted as saying that baseball was ninety percent mental, the other half physical. That's about describes the Sharks.. The players are talented, they can play even up with the best in the NHL, and the coaching staff more than adequate. The fact that this under-performing attitude goes on through multiple coaches says turning this team around is up to the players. Last night they faced another playoff team from last season that also lost an opening round seven-game series to a team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals. You could have flipped a coin to figure out which Sharks' andFlyers' teams would show up.

The Flyers are famous for shaking up the management and roster anytime adversity hits, the opposite of the Sharks, but they are also an under-performing team likely to miss the playoffs. Sharks Doug Wilson stated over the summer that the team needed to take a step back before moving forward, a statement that get a Philly executive torn to pieces by the fans, and so far half Doug's wish is granted.

Owner Hasso Plattner's recent release of full confidence platitudes tells us he's content for now to wait things out with Doug. Too bad, at least in Philadelphia the churn gets fans talking. The Sharks would rather their fans be more behaved, as the dismissal of Drew Remenda reminded us.

Some east coast writers are speculating that either the Sharks or Flyers will go after former Penguins' coach Dan Bylsma. Circumstances say he'd be an option for the Sharks, but how much better would he be than Todd McLellan? Since his taking over the Pens in February 2009 and leading them to a Stanley Cup that year, his record is not materially better than McLellan's despite having Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin most of the time on those Penguins teams.

Both have a similar coaching style. If Bylsma is the answer then the wrong question is being asked.

Barring a tremendous collapse in the standings, or Hasso getting a call from his numbers people that there are not enough eleven-dollar-plus change souvenir-cup beers being sold, not much will change. It looks like the cold leftovers of last season continue until the next holiday. Humbug. OK, officer I'm moving.


Contact Ken at at kensmyth@letsgosharks.com

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