Blog Entry

Sharks need to halt their generous ways

Posted on: May 11, 2011 12:39 am
Edited on: May 11, 2011 11:00 am

In close proximity to the Big Three, this Detroit Red Wings comeback doesn’t come close to Ford, GM and Chrysler all returning to profitability at the same time. 

That’s because the San Jose Sharks have been more generous than any stimulus package the latter two car companies received from the governments of the U.S. and Canada. The Red Wings almost couldn’t help themselves but force a decisive Game 7. 

Facing a soft defense that retreated toward its own net in a misplaced attempt to hold onto the lead, Henrik Zetterberg deflected in a blast from a wide-open Niklas Kronwall to tie the game. Two minutes later Sharks rookie forward Logan Couture passed the puck directly to Valtteri Filppula, who finished the play be burying a cross-ice pass from Pavel Datsyuk for the game-winner. Add in an empty-net goal by Darren Helm and the Red Wings seized a 3-1 victory at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday night. 

Now, the Red Wings stand to become the fourth team in NHL history to advance despite dropping the first three games with a Game 7 victory in San Jose on Thursday. The Wings are already the eighth team to even a series after starting 0-3 -- and the third over the last two postseasons as they join the Philadelphia Flyers (won Game 7 to advance over Boston) and this season’s Chicago Blackhawks (lost Game 7 to Vancouver). 

“We shouldn’t have been down 0-3,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We were playing pretty well. We had a chance to win them all. That’s how tight a series this has been. . . . You would have thought that it’d a long series that would go six games. It’s going to seven games. It’s good for hockey.”

Maybe outside the Bay Area. The Sharks, tagged as perennial chokers, didn’t help their cause and the term “sanjoseitis” could find its way to into the next Scrabble dictionary. (Props to former NHLer Aarron Ward for coming up with that.) 

Silicon Valley survived the dotcom bubble of a decade ago, but will the Sharks and their fanbase get over a loss at HP Pavilion on Thursday? Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he’ll do his best not to let them down. 

“I think anyone who has been in our building understands the noise level and the rabid fans we have,” he said. “The support we get in San Jose is remarkable. We have a Game 7 and we need to make sure they leave the rink happy. That’s our job."

The Sharks really had no business even being in the hunt until the closing moments of Game 6. Antii Niemi played his best game of the series -- maybe the best playoff game since he helped the Blackhawks to the title a year ago -- as he turned away the 32 shots through the first two periods. He finished with 42 saves.

“We were awfully lucky to even be in the game in the third period,” McLellan said. “I’m not too concerned about (blowing the lead).”

McLellan expects his players to be ready for Game 7, even if they sleepwalked through two periods on Tuesday.

Sharks in Game 7s
  • April 30, 1994 - def. Detroit, 3-2
  • May 14, 1994 - lost to Toronto, 4-2
  • May 19, 1995 - def. Calgary, 5-4
  • April 25, 2000 - def. St. Louis, 3-1
  • May 15, 2002 - lost to Colorado, 1-0
  • April 22, 2008- def. Calgary, 5-3 *

    * - home game for San Jose

“As far as confidence goes, each player has a toolkit, a skillset (and) a commitment level he has to bring to the rink,” San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. 

Although it’s easy to join Jeremy Roenick, maybe Patrick Marleau misplaced his hammer, level and crescent wrench at some point between the first and second rounds. He again went without a point in Game 6 and remains scoreless in series, but it was Couture --- not Marleau --- who coughed up the turnover that led to Tuesday’s game-winner. In Couture’s defense, he did score the game’s first goal early in the third period. 

“I don’t see (Marleau) getting nervous or anything like that,” McLellan said. “Do we need him to get involved? We need him to play effectively, shift in and shift out. I think there is more there. I know he believes there is more there. We have to find a way to get it out of him.”

The Sharks may not have momentum, but they do have some favorable history on their side. The Sharks have won four of the six Game 7s they’ve been involved in, including 1994 when the Sharks stunned the Red Wings with a goal by Jamie Baker after a failed clear by Detroit goalie Chris Osgood. 

Seventeen years later, Osgood is still with Red Wings -- although out of the lineup after hernia surgery -- but he can tell you just one wrong move can cost you a series at this point. One team’s goat is the other team’s hero, and McLellan said his roster is full of competitors who can be the next Baker. 

“A lot of our players will have the stage in Game 7,” McLellan said. “We’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way and been taught a lot of lessons along the way. The stage will be thiers.”

-- A.J. Perez

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:01 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: May 11, 2011
Posted on: May 11, 2011 5:35 pm

Sharks need to halt their generous ways

As a sharks fan since they arrived into the league one can't denied that this team has a fragile pysche since the lockout ended. They have not had a player step up to be the one to carry them to playoff glory. Prior to the lockout and earlier days the sharks favored the role of spoiler and had some success with that role but no one took them seriously as Cup contenders during that time...However with there recent players and greater expectations they have been labeled chokers for early exits in the playoffs. The team is capable from an on paper point of view but to shake loose the label of choker they will need one of the top forwards to carry them to playoff glory Thursday night - Marleau , Thornton, Heatley, Pavelski, or Clowe... The last two gentlemen do step up more often while the first three seem to shrink...

This has been a good series to watch and the Sharks did have a very good chance in game 5 to put it away but played it safe in the third and got whacked by Wings instead. It's been all Wings since that collapse. I do not know where the Sharks frame of mind is for game 7 but all they can do now is play for 60min or more ( OT if needed ) like they want the playoff glory more than the Wings...That's what great teams/players do...They relish the do or die moments and find ways to achieve it.

If they fail in game 7 then Mr. Wilson must be shown the door and Thornton, Heatley and Marleau should be traded for a rebuilding mode. I like what Todd has brought to this organization and should be allowed to continue on as coach with a new GM. Here's hoping the SHARKS team shows up to claim GLORY.

Since: Apr 29, 2010
Posted on: May 11, 2011 5:07 pm

Sharks need to halt their generous ways

History? "Recent" Wings game 7 history, with exception to the '09 finals, says this won't even be a game. In '02 against the Avs and last year with the Coyotes the game was over right after they dropped the puck. But history really means nothing for either team in this one, it's just something to write about on an off day to build it up. Still got to love my Wings chances at this point, but the Sharks play better at HP, proven by the fact that they won the first 2 games and carried the majority of the play in the other. This should be a nail biter and one of the most satisfying wins for whoever takes it. 

Since: Oct 8, 2010
Posted on: May 11, 2011 4:07 pm

Sharks need to halt their generous ways

I wish, for once, Perez would offer some substantive analysis of the game. Nothing here but paragraphs of quotes.   In my opinion, this kind of drivel belongs on Bleacher Report.

Since: Jun 15, 2008
Posted on: May 11, 2011 3:51 pm

Sharks need to halt their generous ways

Well if you wana talk history AJ Howard is 5-1 on elimination games.....But you can take STATS, HISTORY, GAMES 1 THRU 6 AND TOSS IT OUT THE WINDOW. Cause this is game 7 baby and it's anyone's game.....I think both teams will come ready to play it's all on who makes less mistakes.......IT'S GONA BE ONE HELL OF A GAME.

Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: May 11, 2011 2:58 pm

Sharks need to halt their generous ways

Wow aren't we touchy today! Yell Don't get your panties an uproar you'll be doing that tomorrow night! Tongue out

Since: Jul 28, 2009
Posted on: May 11, 2011 1:15 pm

Sharks need to halt their generous ways

Both these teams have the depth in their lineup to win the stanley cup.  I'd put my money on detroit in this series at this point.  I was really excited to see San Jose do well.  I've felt bad for them in the past because of their post season misfortune.  Detroit clearly knows what they need to do to win a cup, and even though my confidence lies with Detroit, I hope San Jose pulls out the win and advances to the 3rd round.  I think San Jose vs. Vancouver would be an interesting series...then again, so would Vancouver/Detroit.

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: May 11, 2011 12:12 pm

Sharks need to halt their generous ways

TRUTH5150 is probably the dumbest person on these boards.  The Sharks were lucky to be in a 3-1 game with as many lucky bounces and stick deflections that they benefited from last night, especially in the first 2 periods.  Even their own coach, who Detroit fans still respect, said they were outplayed in almost every way.  Grow up Truth...your Hawks are a joke this year and so are your comments.

Since: Mar 5, 2008
Posted on: May 11, 2011 11:47 am

Sharks need to halt their generous ways

Lucky bounces?  Someone should ask Dan Cleary how many of those he got last night?  Sharks were lucky the game wasnt over by the end of the second period....defenceman bailed Niemi out on more then a few occasions with great blocks and stick work

Since: Apr 18, 2008
Posted on: May 11, 2011 11:37 am

Sharks need to halt their generous ways

Not geting the bounces??? Are you kidding me.  Both the first and third goals for the Wing were with too many men on the ice.  If that's not home cooking, I don't know what is.  The fact that the Wings played better was why they won and deserved to win but it sure helps when the refs miss easy calls like that.  I can't wait for the game tomorrow night.  Go Sharks!!

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