Once, about two or three years ago, I
recognized Timo Meier in the lobby of the downtown Hilton Hotel and approached
him for a few seconds. He was a very friendly, humble guy; the game of hockey
couldn't ask for a better ambassador than somebody like Timo. For me, this made
Timo's five-goal game on MLK Day on January 17 even more special - pretty much
every shot he threw at the net went in, and his game that day may never be
matched by a Shark again.
But Timo's milestone game did obscure what
was really not great a performance overall by the Sharks, who were outshot 41
to 17 by the Kings, with the puck probably spending 75 percent of the time in
the Sharks' end of the ice. These are not stats that often lead to victory. And
Timo's great game was helped along by Jonathan Quick's less-than-usual
performance in goal for the Kings. The guy is a lock for the Hall of Fame, but
he was not his normal self that day.
The euphoria of Timo's five-goal
game didn't get to last long: The Sharks followed this game up by again losing
to the first-year Seattle Kraken expansion team three nights later, 3-2,
despite coming out of the gate like gangbusters in the first minute and scoring
first. Why can't the Sharks beat this first-year expansion team? They've played
them twice and lost both contests.
It gets worse from there. The
Sharks then came home to play the Tampa Bay Lightning and got smoked, 7-1, on
Saturday evening. One of those head-for-the-exits-early contests for the fans.
Now, the Sharks have to go on the road to play the top teams in the league,
including the Lightning again, the Panthers, the Capitals and the Hurricanes.
This could get ugly.
It's certainly disappointing that the Sharks are
at best mediocre and will be hard-pressed to secure a playoff spot once teams
closely behind them in points, like the Flames, make up a huge gap in games
played. (For example, the Sharks had played 42 games as of Sunday and had 44
points. The Flames had 42 points in 36 games.)
We might be in a
situation where the best we can hope for this season are some memorable
individual performances while the Sharks miss out on the post-season again.
Sigh. Disappointing, to say the least.
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