The San Jose Sharks have the ability to emulate a crazy, Ivan Drago led, 1980’s Red Army mega-team one night, and then the next, roll out a squad that would struggle against a beer league team…the ones whose games always start after 11:00pm on Sundays.
One night, it’s a parade of perfection as the greatest assemblage of hockey prowess not seen since the days of flat stick blades and hair pomade takes the ice, and the next, the Sharks run out a unit that would struggle versus the Moose Jaw Mighty Drunks…the night after their annual “Yukon Jack Pong Night”.
There’s just no middle ground these days, and the Sharks riddle is the epitome of a feast or famine enterprise right now. It is maddening to fans, it puts poor Drew Remenda into an almost disconsolate state, and it is our 2010-2011 San Jose Sharks.
Anybody waiting for the inconsistent San Jose Sharks to get on track this year, I have an unfortunate update for you: Folks, this is the track.
This abject inconsistency does have one upside. That is, the Sharks are absolutely guaranteed to win a seven game playoff series, just as long as we win the first game. Also, if you ever happen to find yourself in the Bellagio Sports Book (hypothetically), and you see a moneyline wager in San Jose’s favor that pays +125 or better…and the Sharks have lost the previous game? Please proceed to bet the farm.
On the other hand, if you ever bet on the San Jose Sharks winning two games in a row?…ever…I have a rink to sell you. It’s in San Jose, has an ice surface that resembles skating in oatmeal and can be used for concerts when the Sharks are away. Nice location, if you can just get past the part where commercial planes on approach to San Jose International airport, play chicken with the arena’s roof all night.
The good news is last night versus the Detroit Red Wings was a Drago night, with the Sharks beating the Red Wings 5-2 in front of the cephalopod slingin’ Detroit home crowd. A huge part of this victory came from Captain Calder himself, Logan Couture. Playing way over his head from a physical standpoint, Couture did his best impression of the juiced up, 6 ½ foot tall, Brigitte Nielsen datin’ Russian oak tree.
Captain Calder scored his fourth goal in the last two games, and has established himself as not only the leading candidate for rookie honors, but possibly the most dangerous scoring threat on the team next to Dany Heatley.
Couture’s first goal was clean wrister passed Red Wings’ keeper Jimmy Howard, and he capped off his night with a sweet tip-in off a Ryane Clowe shot in the third. What is so impressive about the young rookie is his constant positive movement in the offensive zone. His legs are churning, and he is constantly funneling himself towards the net as soon as he passes the blue line, and is a one man wave of pressure delighting hockey coaches everywhere and putting Drew Remenda into sheer “Madden Loves Favre” nirvana.
Couture has shown, especially recently, a “sixth sense” for the puck that all great scorers demonstrate, and one that Sharks fans can only hope is a realization of his pure talent versus a lucky streak. Based upon his history of success in lower levels, I personally vote pure talent and that bodes very well for the Sharks. Exciting times, and for an old Jeff Friesen fan, it’s also nice to see a scorin’ number 39 out on the ice again.
Hopefully, Logan Couture can continue his stellar play, and help lead this team back to a land where a two game winning streak is not impossibility. That being said, we cannot have the Sharks’ veterans sitting idly by and looking to Couture as some sort of savior. In the face of Couture’s display, they need to be redoubling their own efforts and utilizing Couture’s budding star status to bolster a foundation of their making, not make riding a hot rookie their only game plan.
In the end, rookie production is a nice to have, but consistent veteran leadership is an absolute need to have to enable real, substantive success. Right now, the Sharks are only getting that veteran leadership, quite literally, every other night.
The fate of the San Jose Sharks will continue to be in the custody of guys like Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Dan Boyle. These players are the ones that need to step it up nightly, give the Sharks a sorely lacking identity and lay the foundation for the team’s consistent success.
Thornton, Heatley and Boyle will mark our reemergence as a top 5 NHL team, or those players will be the ones playing the fiddle while our team burns to a crisp.
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