The San Jose Sharks put together the equivalent of the “Indiana Jones” movie franchise with their last three tilts over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend: first game was electric, the sequel was a huge disappointment, and the third game was a good flick with a nice ending…just not as amazing as first one.
I will ignore the fourth movie in this series, because it didn’t happen and it also screws up my theme. This would be the so-called Indiana Jones movie featuring crystal skulls, aliens and Indy protecting himself from a nuclear detonation by hiding in an abandoned fridge—a movie that will quite literally make you laugh and cry inside simultaneously. Much in the same way the “Star Wars Holiday Special” of 1978 never happened, the one with Bea Arthur (seriously) and premised on Chewbacca trying to get home for the Holidays (seriously). Same deal here, the movie does not exist.
Sharks vs. Blackhawks – Raiders of the Lost Ark
Great plot, near perfect execution and a classic. The San Jose Sharks beat the Chicago Blackhawks last Wednesday night, in a game that featured the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion’s goalie now dressed in teal for the Sharks. It was Jones versus Belloq, good guys versus bad and had all the trimmings for a great game. Answering the call, Antti Niemi would face off against his former squad for the first time, and stymie them at virtually every opportunity. The Sharks scored
early, with goals by Dany Heatley and Jamal Mayers, and seemed to have an answer for everything the Blackhawks threw at them. Physical play by Chicago was equally matched, as the Sharks seemed to finish every check and hit everything and anything wearing red and black. Goals by Chicago seemed to be immediately answered, and the late momentum created for the Blackhawks when Patrick Sharp scored to bring Chicago within a goal, early in the third period, was quickly doused by two third period Patrick Marleau tallies.
In essence, the German bad guys rolled into HP Pavilion expecting a rout and were caught totally off guard by the scruffy guy in the fedora and angry ghosts swirling out of the Ark of the Covenant. It was a superb performance, and complete demonstration of everything that San Jose Sharks fans have been hoping for. It was a butt kicking of the first order, and any Chicago hopes of crushing Antii Niemi and the Sharks were replaced by Joel Quenneville’s face melting at the end…which would have been right after Marleau sank that empty netter to close it out. Sharks win, 5-2.
Sharks vs. Canucks – Temple of Doom
Confusing story, annoying co-stars and a little gratuitously gross. Riding high after their Chicago performance, the San Jose Sharks put up an unqualified stinker versus the Canucks in Vancouver. Not unlike the movie, the Sharks’ start was satisfactory, though not quite instilling of any confidence for the viewer. They basically survived the plane crash by bailing in the inflatable raft, and had the game knotted at a goal apiece at the close of the first period. Next thing you know, the raft rolls them magically right into an impoverished Indian village, where the inhabitants think they’re sent from Shiva and everybody is talking Sankara stones.
Then, right as the Sharks audience is reeling on the very ropes of confusion, right in the grill came two goals from Vancouver, courtesy of Raffi Torres and a 45-footer off the blade of Mikael Samuelsson. Now it was 3-1 Vancouver, but there was still time for the Sharks to get the story back online and regroup. But that didn’t happen, and the second period ended with them still down a pair. Then, all Thugee Cult hell broke loose, and the loyal Sharks fan was treated to a morass of chilled monkey brains, a drugged out babbling Indiana in the grasp of Kali Ma, the screaming harpy that was Indy’s love interest, Willie (Indyyyyyyyyyy), and a some guy who liked to pull the hearts out of people. It was just a bewildering mess and before you knew it, the Canucks had scored three more unanswered times to thoroughly obliterate the Sharks by a final of 6-1.
Sharks vs. Oilers – The Last Crusade
Solid effort, good use of legendary star power and a happy ending. Acknowledging the need to inject a little class back into the franchise, the Sharks rebounded with a great back-to-back game the very next night versus the Edmonton Oilers. Recently recalled Benn Ferriero started off the scoring with a nice backhand finish off a Logan Couture rebound and the Sharks were on the board. The Oilers bounced back with a Sam Gagner wrister to tie the game at one apiece two minutes later, and it was anybody’s guess what kind of game this would turn into. Sort of like when Indiana is fighting “The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword” throughout the canals of Venice, and you’re trying to figure out where they’re going with the story.
See, the Brotherhood think Indy is after the Holy Grail for evil purposes, when really, Jones is just trying to find and save his Dad. There is a modest disagreement that includes exploding classic speedboats, machine gun fire, multiple dead Brotherhood members and a final stand off with the leader of the Brotherhood, Kazim, being held down by Indiana Jones’ within a foot of a giant spinning ship propeller as it quickly shreds the boat they are both on. Kazim lets fly a rousing, “my soul’s prepared, how’s yours?” to answer Indy’s ultimatum. Not two seconds later, after Indy has expertly dispatched at least eight of Kazim’s fellow Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword’ associates…members, that no doubt included Kazim’s cherished family and friends, he and Indy are instant best buddies and Kazim has Indy drop him off at a dock, no hard feelings my man.
Honestly, just a slight hiccup in an otherwise wonderful movie. The Sharks hiccup versus the Oilers would occur late in the third. After supernova hot Dany Heatley (four goals in four games) had scored twice in a row, and Joe Pavelski had netted a tally early in the third to put the Sharks up 4-1, the Sharks let the Oilers score twice in quick succession to bring the game within one. This is probably due more to blue line injuries and inexperience, but you never want to give a team any hope…and two goals let in within less than a minute can do that.
Thankfully, the Sharks were able to prevail by a final of 4-3, and put an overall stranglehold on the unforced errors and turnovers that had been plaguing them during this season’s losses. Yes, they showed a little vulnerability, but still buckled down, chose wisely and road off into the sunset with a victory.
It was three games, with three different story lines from a San Jose Sharks team still searching for consistency. This season has proven that it is not easy for the Sharks to repeat the successes of last year’s campaign, let alone repeat the success of a previous game. The good news is that this is a solid franchise, with heavy hitter star power, and like the Spielberg & Lucas dream team, the Sharks have the talent to make great things happen…provided, you can live with an occasional “Howard the Duck” and “1941” thrown in every few games.
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Topics: Antti Niemi, Benn Ferriero, Chicago Blackhawks, Dany Heatley, Edmonton Oilers, George Lucas, Indiana Jones, Jamal Mayers, Joe Pavelski, Joel Quenneville, Logan Couture, Mikael Samuelsson, Patrick Marleau, Patrick Sharp, Raffi Torres, Sam Gagner, San Jose Sharks, Star Wars, Steven Spielberg, Vancouver Canucks