To borrow from Drew Remenda, despite their tailspin there has been one San Jose Shark who has consistently “brought” it.
Heart and effort are in short supply these days down at the Tank, with the exception of the work turned in by Ryane Clowe. That he is doing it, in not exactly the cradle of NHL excellence either, is impressive. Recently, each night at the Tank has featured bewildered (and increasingly hostile) home crowds trying to sit though and process the circus of mental errors and unpreparedness that plays out before them.
Officially, last game against the Edmonton Oilers was a sell out at HP Pavilion, but anyone who was there can tell you that attendance figure was, shall we say, a bit on the liberal side. Towards the end of the game, the lower bowl started looking like an A’s versus Royals game, and thank goodness the seats aren’t a brighter color so the empties could be slightly camoflaged amongst the remaining fans. The fans aren’t the only ones who are frustrated to be fair, and just a quick spin around recent Sharks post-game interviews are enough to illustrate that.
Last game was no exception. During the Oilers game post-game presser, Sharks’ players sounded about the most despondent as has been seen, as mild annoyance has officially given way to abject despair. Even Joe Thornton, who can usually be classified as positive spin, half-full kind guy is grasping at explanations. When asked after the Oilers game what he felt the team was “learning” from these mounting losses, Thornt0n dryly replied, “that losing sucks.”
No Slappy the dummy act right now folks.
If Joe looked down, Ryane Clowe looked like someone that needed to have the sharp objects removed from his house and maybe checked in on regularly. It was far beyond “upset”, and I would honestly hope all Sharks’ players are feeling as bad as Ryane Clowe is right now. They should.
To be fair to the less demonstrative, every person displays emotion differently and just because some players are now wearing the losing streak on their faces and others aren’t (<<ahem>> Marleau = Shocker), it doesn’t mean that they don’t care. The problem is, when it is this bad…and it is this bad…you just can’t be sure who is serious about changing their behavior and bettering their preparation and who is not.
Tank Boos Sharks
When the greatest fans in the NHL are booing the home team something is wrong. Dan Boyle was on KNBR with “Ralph and Tom” and after getting over my initial shock that KNBR was actually featuring the Sharks, I was able to listen to a well-spoken, resolute Dan Boyle talk about the Sharks recent futility. Even though Ralph Barbieri is a die-hard Sharktanker, he pulled no punches with the questions he peppered Boyle with, and Boyle to his credit, answered each one well and directly. Most questions Boyle probably was hearing for the 1000th time like “What’s going on right now?”, “Why is this team so different than last year’s?”, “How can Thornton go that many games without a point?” yet he hung in there and answered them all. Boyle gave the expected responses to the usual questions, but when Ralph brought up the booing Tank Faithful, Boyle frankly sounded a little indignant…which makes me indignant.
In Boyle’s opinion, fans are only allowed to boo a mental mistake or lack of effort but are not allowed to boo bad bounces. Sorry Boiler, not on board with that as it’s a little difficult for folks in the stands right now to parse out the difference between crappy play and crappy luck. It’s all just crap. How about you and the fellas win a game and earn the fan’s respect back? Yes, it is frustrating when the one mistake you make and one poor shift out of 15 ends up in the back of the net, but that’s the game so get over it.
As Boyle correctly stated during that interview, “fans pay their money and can do what they want”…and he can just stop there…as there’s no need to add any further comment especially if he has a mind to insert a “but” anywhere. Earn your money, earn your victories and you’ll earn the respect of the fans back. Stop and think about how much it took to turn a place like the Shark Tank against you and your team, and focus on what you are going to do to lead that building back into your favor.
Don’t blame the fans for booing the wrong things, just focus on your play and the fans will respond…100% guaranteed.
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