As many of you whom attend games at the Tank know, the most common heard phrase is, "SHOOT THE PUCK". Well that is exactly what the Sharks have been doing, shooting the puck. Unfortunately they have not been shooting it into the back of the net. Well maybe the back back of the net when they are behind it, but that does not count. So whats the deal with all the shots and no goals?
This happens every year. San Jose will go through a stretch of games where nobody wants to shoot the puck. Then all of a sudden everyone is taking shots, left and right, and they usually open games like these with around 20 shots on goal in the first period. They also usually come away from those first periods with only those shots to show for their efforts.
My take is they get instructed to take more shots, and they go crazy with it. Having 30 shots on goal means nothing if you only get 3 or 4 good scoring chances out of it. Now granted the Sharks ran into 2 great performances by the opposing teams goalies, but how do you explain last nights outshooting and basically outplaying of Dallas and not coming away with at least a point. The shots were 39-12 in favor of San Jose, yet the Sharks were beat on Dallas' first 2 shots on goal. The Sharks were 1-8 on the powerplay where they should be much better. The PP unit is basically the same from last year, so why are they so much worse?
Too much standing around. Players are not moving. Thornton gets the puck on the half boards and has to force passes through the middle that are usually blocked and cleared out of the zone. Guys need to get moving to create different angles and to also make the penalty kill unit work. The opposing teams PK can stay out the whole 2 minutes when the Sharks just stand around. San Jose keeps waiting for the perfect opportunity on the powerplay, problem is that usually comes at 2:08 of the powerplay, and we all know that does not exist in a minor penalty.
Too many shots are missing the net. Other teams capitalize on good scoring chances. San Jose has been taking those opportunities and throwing them at the glass. Why do the Sharks players not score those highlight reel goals. You know the ones I"m talking about. Why do they not pick the corners on goalies like some others, I'm sure you can remember Jonathan Toews goal against us. Is it a question of talent? Is this team really as talented as we think? Yes they are. The plays will come, so will the goals, and the wins.
I can only remain positive about all this. The shots will eventually find the way into the net. Patrick Marleau has been better in the last 2 games. Jonathan Cheechoo will score 30+ goals again this season. Big Joe will be over the 100 point mark. Milan Michalek will put up 70+ points. Devin Setoguchi will score 20+ goals as he will catch fire beginning on Saturday. Ahhhh one can be optimistic can't he. Actually I really believe all those things will happen. So should the fans. This team is good, very good, they just need to establish a better work ethic. Too many guys come out and play only when they think about moving their feet. That part of the game should be instilled in them. Players either have not been conditioning enough or they are not motivated to go out and play.
All the talent in the world can't be successful unless that talent is properly motivated. San Jose must find it within themselves to want to fight and scrap it out to win these games. It may look to us as if they are not, but they are working. Many things go into winning a hockey game, besides scoring goals. Next time you watch a game do not pay attention to the guy with the puck. As hard as it may be watch the other players on the screen. You may miss a goal but you will see what the other 4 guys on the ice are up to. The little battles must be won before you can win the war. San Jose must start winning the little battles. As you watch the other players without the puck you will notice a lot of standing around after they get into the offensive zone. People need to start moving to win the battle. People need to start taking the puck hard to the net instead of always opting to pass to win the battle. The powerplay needs to spread out a little more to win the battle. Sandis Ozolinsh must be as good as he was last night to win the battle. Joe Thornton must begin to shoot the puck more to win the battle.
I will leave it at that to keep this short. We all know this team can do it. The question is , does the team know they can do it and do they want it bad enough to dig deep?
Thanks for reading and have a great day ! GO SHARKS !