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Mid-season musings
Observations on the Sharks' year so far
1/6/18 - By Paul Krill -

With a bit more than half of the regular season - 43 games - having been played, here are some observations on how things have gone for the Sharks so far:

* After Saturday's game against Tampa Bay, fireworks were set off downtown. These undoubtedly were part of the festivities for the college football championship game, to be played at Levi's Stadium on Monday night. But no Sharks regular season game was more appropriate for fireworks this year than the Sharks' masterful 5-2 win over the league's top team.

Down some key defensemen, including Justin Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the Sharks nonetheless played an almost-perfect game, maintaining puck possession, having shots go in, playing tight defense and Martin Jones getting the job done in the net. The win snapped a 16-game point streak for the Lightning. The Sharks never trailed.

* After watching him for a few dozen games now, it is apparent to me that Eric Karlsson is, indeed, one of the league's top players. He takes control of the game when he's on the ice. And his point totals are starting to add up. It will be devastating if he doesn't sign with the Sharks after this season.

Related to this, I cringed whenever I heard Josh Norris's name mentioned during the just-concluded World Junior tournament. A member of Team USA, he's the prospect the Sharks gave up to get Karlsson. That deal could come back to haunt the Sharks for a very, very long time.

* It's a real head-scratcher how the league could suspend Karlsson for two games for his hit on Austin Wagner of the Kings while Sam Bennett of the Flames gets absolutely nothing for leveling the Sharks' Radek Simek.

* Our goaltending situation, which has been a sore spot for most of the season, appears to be getting a bit better with Martin Jones getting his act together lately. He'll need to keep that up.

* Alex Ovechkin's bowing out of the upcoming All Star Game in San Jose is a disappointment, to say the least. The guy probably has the most personality of any player in the league. I was counting on Ovechkin to put on an All Star show, as he has done in the past. But now, he's not coming. Is the NHL All Star Game going to become like the NFL Pro Bowl, known for players declining to participate? Let's hope not.

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