San Jose Sharks Struggling Mightily Lately
The San Jose Sharks continued their slide last night, in another ugly loss as they gave up seven goals against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The losing streak has now gone to six games, a season-worst for the club that has now seen their once commanding lead against their Pacific Division opponents disappear, knocking them to second place. To make matters interesting, or worse depending on how you look at it, the Anaheim Ducks — who now lead the Pacific, Sharks, and Edmonton Oilers are all tied at 91 points in the standings.
The Pros of This Losing Streak…
There are good things about this losing streak, you might ask? Why, yes. There are, albeit very little. The Sharks no longer have the lead in the division, but last I checked Pacific Division leaders haven’t fared very well in past playoff appearances. That aside, as crappy as it’s been, it’s better to get it out of the way before the postseason. Who knows? Maybe someway, somehow the Sharks will finally get their butts kicked into gear on Tuesday night when they host the New York Rangers. Oh, and if there’s any consolation for last night, the Chicago Blackhawks got lit up in Sunrise, Florida against the Florida Panthers. They lost 7-0.
The Cons of This Losing Streak…
This is the absolute worst possible time for the Sharks to be stumbling the way they have. Nothing’s been going right for them. You’d think they’d be able to snap out of it after facing the Dallas Stars again for the second time of this bygone road trip. Instead, like they did in Nashville, they got blown out of the building. They just looked lost and absolutely listless and it’s frustrating to watch. What’s even more frustrating is that they’re humans. They care about the fans. They want to win. They want to win as bad as the fans do, but they’re not showing it. The effort just isn’t there on the ice, and that’s not a good sign.
Panic Time in Teal Town?
Despite the team being out of sorts the past two games and the current state of Sharks Twitter, I don’t think it’s time to hit the panic button just yet. I know that sounds insane for a lot of fans out there, but look. We have to be rational about this as well, myself included. We’re all frustrated as heck with the team right now, but the fact of the matter is they still have seven games left to get their sh*t together. They can and should be able to figure this out, and they have enough talent to do so.
So What Now? How Do They Turn This Around?
Get back to the basics. Enough with the fancy bull crap. Enough dipsy-doodling and put your damn work boots on. This team needs to get back to foundation hockey and stick to their identity. That means pucks to the net. Bodies and traffic in front. Outwork the opponents. Win the races. Win the face-offs. Every single hockey cliche out there, because it’s true. No matter how bad things get, the answer is always to go back to the basics. Defensive structure has to be there. Everyone has to be on the same page. Most importantly, the desperation level has to be there.
The boys (Erik Kuhre, AJ Strong, Erik Landi) on Pucknology After Dark nailed it like two podcasts ago when they said that the Sharks got complacent once they thought they had the division in the bag. Yet, here they are, suffering the consequences for not locking down when they needed to. The time is now, guys. You screwed up, and screwed up bad. But there’re still games left. Let’s get hungry. Let’s get desperate. Let’s get back to the Sharks we know and love. The postseason may not have started just yet, but you’ve got to be playing like your season’s on the line right now, playoffs or not*. Let’s hope the Sharks get it fixed at practice on Monday, and then show for it on the scoreboard the following night. If the coaching staff decides to cancel practice, then may the Force be with the boys in teal, for our Star Wars fans out there. That said, as Puckguy himself would say, let’s pucking do this.
*side note: The Sharks will clinch with either a win against the Rangers or a Los Angeles Kings loss on Tuesday night.
Oh, and have a video.