Patrick Marleau: -17
Joe Thornton: -12
Dan Boyle: -10
It is just plain difficult to watch the San Jose Sharks these days, but every fiber that comprises my Shark fandom is telling me to focus on riding out this storm and just waiting out the Sharks‘ as they seemingly race to the bottom of the Pacific.
Just take a deep breath in and letttt outtt thatttt angerrrr in a calm, cathartic exhale.
Of course, as I am trying to go into this Zen trance, I have to constantly remind myself (as I watch endless neutral zone turnovers and countless missed scoring chances), that kicking chairs in front of you at the Tank is often frowned upon by the patrons who might occupy said seat. Also, launching things at your plasma at home only incurs unwelcomed wrath from your better half, and is not the proper way to dial up a television upgrade.
Over and over, I tell myself that this is not the first time the Sharks have hit rough patches to try to calm my nerves…
Looking at last year for instance, in December the Sharks dropped five straight with four of those being at home and that fifth one being an away game in AZ. That particular pattern sounds quite familiar, and just like now when you flip open your Mercury News or happen to catch the 39 seconds of allotted hockey time on KNBR, the media back then was all over the Sharks as “underachievers”, “soft” and “overhyped”.
Now, the Sharks were absolutely those things last year during that stretch and absolutely are those things right now in their current free fall, but last season’s team did something about it.. In fact, the 2009-2010 Sharks responded to last year’s media skewering by ripping off eight straight, and then 16 of 19 to not only calm the Faithful’s nerves but effectively silence the sky-is-falling crowd…until the playoffs started.
Last year’s torrid and otherworldly winning streak is starting to be the kind of response the Sharks are going to have to require this year to invigorate the flinching Faithful, and (can’t believe I’m writing this) get back into playoff contention.
Thing is, I tell myself that the Sharks are talented and motivated, but then I am reminded nightly that our Canadian Olympians are all playing like they want to be traded, except Dany Heatley…which is just weird in and of itself considering his history as a malcontent. Regarding Heater, even though he is outplaying his fellow gold medalers now, if you don’t think Dany Heatley is a hair away from going all Terrell Owens (or Ottawa as it were) on the Sharks, you are crazy. That guy is about as volatile as Darfur and how long he can keep it together during this tailspin is unknown.
Back to the Ministry of Minus and their collective minus 39…
Frankly, this is a just hot mess of crap out of arguably three of the finest hockey players on the planet and simply cannot stand if the Sharks are going to right the ship.
Marleau is Marleau and he won’t get angry at anything, at least I don’t think. Although on second thought, maybe he is like that guy in your group of friends who appears to have the never ending temper fuse, and then one day <<BOOM>> just decks a guy at a bar out of nowhere for stealing his coaster or something and everybody is like…”man…what got into Jeff?”.
As for the guys who should be able to turn it around, there is no reason for Thornton and Boyle to each be in double digit minus territory, and I would imagine both guys would be the first to admit that. Thing is, standing up for your mistakes and changing your behavior are two different enterprises. Unless they don’t want to be around here any more, which seems silly but lackluster play and bailing on a teammate when he’s getting roughed up by three guys can lead to even more wild speculation.
That last one was against Jumbo, and I just hope to God he didn’t see Logan Couture getting the three on one business a couple days ago and still just walk into the tunnel at the end of the game…but honestly I can’t be sure and that sucks.
It’s increasingly difficult for all Sharks fans to remain upbeat, and it is indeed a confusing time for fans used to dominance, crisp play and let’s face it, wins. We all must continue to remind ourselves to not overreact, and that there are plenty of games remaining.
Hey, first one to admit that is very easy for me to say, and sure…I am starting to see those same pieces of the sky beginning to give way.
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