Ah, well we are back at square one again.
This merry-go-round of good games, and then bad games is incredibly frustrating. There is a 50/50 chance of which team the Sharks decide to be on Tuesday night. Will it be boys or men? Will it be the Sharks of February or March?
Only the Sharks can decide that, and their fate.....
and their future.
Last night, the Sharks showed every reason why they deserve to be knocked out in the first round by Calgary. One game after they showed every reason why they deserve to be called favorites for the Stanley Cup.
Calgary played desperate hockey to force game 7, and a chance to upset the Sharks. They worked hard to win, and hard work always beats skill when skill decides not to work.
Over this series, every blog I have written has the same points in it for the Sharks and about the series.
1) Calgary always works hard in games. To win, you must match or outwork the Flames' effort.
2) Speed creates space, space creates opportunities, opportunities mean scoring chances.
Last night the Sharks were completely flat. They had no interest in the game, Calgary beat them to every loose puck, and got beat in every category of the game.
To win, you need to be moving. Moving to get open, moving to get a pass, moving to get a shot on goal, and moving to make a defensive play. If the Sharks play slow and flat tomorrow, say goodnight to our Stanley Cup dreams Sharks fans because the season will be over, plain and simple.
3) If you're not moving your feet, you're doing something wrong.
(ties into #2)
Cleary, last night the Sharks were doing something wrong because they were not moving at all. The Sharks are making mistakes that 10 year old kids are told not to do. Don't stand around, don't get caught out of position, don't turn over the puck at the blue lines.
To take a few lines from Mystery, Alaska:
From Mike Myers' character: Donnie Shulzhoffer: "This is hockey, OK? It's not rocket surgery."
Seriously, what is so hard about going out and giving a full effort every night? I love teams like Calgary that work hard every night. I wish the Sharks would stop making childish hockey mistakes, and just play their game.
Last night, Ron Wilson was too caught with and worried way too much about what Calgary was doing, and trying to mix up his lines to "confuse" Calgary.
Well thats all well and good when you're at home and have the last line change. It doesn't matter when Calgary gets to see who the Sharks put out on the ice, because Calgary then can put out whoever they need. The Sharks should have played their game and make Calgary play ours, instead of playing into theirs.
Wilson screwed up big time again last night with his obsession of changing lines. Why not keep them similar to the lines he had in game 5 when the Sharks scored 4 goals?
Instead, he decides to shuffle the deck more than a dealer at the Riviera and the Sharks were shut out. The offense had no chemistry, flow, or anything really. The Sharks took themselves out of the game, and if Ron Wilson wants to continue shuffling the deck, he needs to make sure he doesn't take his own team out of the game.
Oh yeah, and number 4:
Joe Thornton needs to be more creative.
Once again, another common theme in my blogs. Joe needs to stop standing on the hash-marks, trying to slow things down. In the playoffs, everything is stepped up a few paces. Joe has not done bad at all so far, he has been good, but he could be much better.
He can be better if he parks he big Jumbo Joe rear in front of the net more. Screen Kipper, fight for rebounds, and crash the net.
To steal another line from Mystery, Alaska:
Donnie Shulzhoffer: "If you don’t play this game in front of the net with a pair of brass knuckles, and a big bag of marbles, then you ain’t got dinky doo!"
The Sharks, everyone from Big Joe, JoePa, Marleau, J.R., Cheechoo, Soupy, and the rest of the team need to play desperate, with a pair of brass knuckles, and a big bag of marbles tomorrow night to win.
As much as the Sharks could come out and play the way game 6 unfolded, I believe they will not blow this series. Calgary has been a tough test, thus far, and if the Sharks come out on top, they will be better prepared for the rest of the playoffs than any other team.
Calgary has been the toughest the Sharks have had to face in the playoffs since, well the Flames in 2004. They have shown all the weaknesses the Sharks still possess and, have shown the Sharks that the playoffs are very difficult right off the get-go. It will only get harder, not easier from this point on.
Tomorrow night, everything the Sharks have worked for this season comes to a fork in the road.
On one side, the road is dark and filled with thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, destruction, heartbreak, and the promise of a rough offseason with a let down fan base who has listened and believed eveything the Sharks organization has said to believe. The noise that you hear is the curse words from Sharks fans, a baby crying, and the quiet silence inside the Shark Tank.
On the other side, the road is a golden brick road that travels along the Bay Area beaches, beautiful skies, an eastern conference city on a river, and there is a silver something shining in the sun at the end of it. In the backgroud you hear the cheers of everyone in the Bay Area, babies cooing, the loud and deep goal horn of the Shark Tank, and the noise of fans cheering, crying, or whatever anyone will do when the Sharks finally win the Stanley Cup.
The Sharks must choose their own fate, they cannot simply sit back and see where fate takes them because there is one rule to this fork in the road.
You have to make a decision or by not choosing, you end up choosing the dark road anyways. If the Sharks pull a Milan Michalek and cannot decide what to do, they have already chosen their fate, and that is an early offseason.
Still, the golden brick road has other forks in the road, those forks also lead to a darker road, off of the golden path.
Personally, I would much rather head down a beautiful, golden brick road, that seems to be leading to something silver shining in the sun at the end of the road.
I hope the Sharks choose the right option.
Tomorrow night will be a good one.