Well, that wasn’t good. No, that was way worse than not good. That was atrocious. The Sharks got beat by a Calgary team that is mediocre on its good nights.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch the entire game. I had to leave before the third period for my own hockey game (our team also only scored one goal). I’m also not one to call out players for their misgivings, but I’m fucking tired of this. There are common themes that continue to emerge game after game, and it’s time to call them out.
Ryane Clowe and Douglas Murray are turnover machines.
I love these guys. Well, I actually love these guys from two seasons ago. Unfortunately, they just aren’t the same anymore. While Murray consistently makes the big hits that casual fans like to see, he’s also responsible for a lot of goals against that just don’t need to happen.
Like on this tying tally for Vancouver on Tuesday night. Notice how he goes for the hit, taking out his own man in the process, leaving a man open in front of the net to screen Niemi.
And who could forget this gem? Jonathan Toews pickpockets the inferior puck handler, then quickly shoots it over to Patrick Kane to put the Blackhawks up 4-3, in a game that at the time, was still entirely winnable.
Ryane Clowe, on the other hand, is simply an embodiment of the entire Sharks season thus far. He has tons of potential, generates lots of chances, plays with intensity and emotion one game and nothing the next, and no matter what he does, he can’t put pucks in the net.
Even when he puts pucks in the net.
The most concerning of it all though, is his uncanny ability to create turnovers at the worst possible times. With Clowe and Murray losing the puck as much as they are right now, it’s a liability for these two to be on the ice, especially at the same time.
Dan Boyle is the Sharks’ best player this season.
Update: I mean Boyle is the best skater. Niemi is by far the best player for the Sharks right now. 3/8/13
He skates, he scores, he moves the puck, and he plays solid defense. Let’s face it, Dan Boyle is the best player the Sharks have iced this season (Pavs coming in as a close second, and Couture getting honorable mention).
Say what you want, but Boyle has really stepped it up this year, both with his play and his leadership. He has helped Matt Irwin develop into an outstanding young defensemen (one of the few promising young guys in the Sharks system), and he’s been integral in pushing the pace forward both at even strength and on the power play. Most importantly, though, is that he has played consistently well over the course of the season, something that can’t really be said of many others on the team.
And after this embarrassing loss to Calgary, he showed true leadership by calling out what the problem is with this team: scoring goals.
From Kevin Kurz of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area:
“Boyle made clear his frustration level.
‘We’ve scored [bleeping] one or two goals the last  games. That’s it,’ Boyle said.
‘You go through streaks when you’re not scoring, I understand that. But, [bleep]. [12 bleeping] games in a row.’”
I agree with the frustration that Boyle is feeling, and am glad that he’s willing to step up and call out the problem, rather than deflect questions into an “it’ll get better” response. Which leads me to my final point…
No more fucking excuses.
From the players. From the coaches. From the GM and management team.
After the loss to Calgary, captain Joe Thornton had this to say:
“I thought we played well in the third, I don’t think the score indicated that. We pushed and we pushed hard in the third, and just unfortunately we didn’t get the points.”
Let’s just call this what it is: the Sharks just simply aren’t a good team right now. There’s no getting around that, and as I’ve said before, if the losing ways continue, it may be time to make some moves, perhaps to get some more scoring?
The next three games (vs. St. Louis, at Colorado, at St. Louis) are going to be huge for the Sharks, because they mean much more than points. These games are going to show us all if this team has what it takes to say “enough is enough,” and make a stand. The Sharks are at the crossroads of this season, and now is the time to decide which path to go down.
If they don’t pull out at least four points from the next three games, especially when one of those games is against the Avalanche, then it’s time for concern.
Next game is at the Tank against a very good Blues team. Let’s go Sharks.