Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sharks Answer the Bell, Win Big in Big Game

Yesterday, I wrote an open letter to the Sharks. I have been very concerned with their play since the Detroit game, and some legitimate concerns were addressed. I even suggested that it might be time to tweak things a bit.

That was exactly what they did for the game in Boston. In an interview after the game, Joe Thornton literally said, "We tweaked our game a bit" because of the previous struggles.

Thanks for listening, guys! It's nice to know you listen to me. I mean, a lot of fans wear shirts that say things like "San Jose Sharks Assistant Coach" because that's what they fancy themselves. But I guess being a community leader for the team brings real results!

(To show you the extent and limit of my ego, I don't really believe that, but I also don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility. Athletes and coaches read and write blogs, too.)

I have written a recap of the game for The Hockey Writers (I also have written a preview for the Penguins game; please hit the link and subscribe to my articles!), but I want to stress the five most significant accomplishments in Tuesday's victory in Boston:

1. The fact that the Sharks were able to take control of a game on the road in the third period
2. Bouncing back from the only three-game losing streak all season
3. Getting multi-point scoring performances from multiple sources
4. Taming a hot team
5. Winning against a quality opponent on the road with much of the hockey world watching

What is clear to me from this response is that the Sharks were indeed overlooking Columbus, and did indeed suffer a letdown following the match-up against Detroit. While this is disturbing, it does not suggest a team not ready for the playoffs.

It may in fact suggest a team more ready. Teams cannot play at full instensity for the 100-plus games it takes to win a Stanley Cup. Vancouver, Chicago, Carolina, and Columbus whom the Sharks struggled against after playing Detroit are all potential playoff opponents, but they are not likely to be overlooked in a playoff match-up.

It is much more important you win the big games than the little ones. Not only do you get the two points yourself, but you hurt the teams you beat in their quest to catch you. The Sharks have now won both "Games of the Year;" one in Boston and one at home versus Detroit.

I cannot wait for April!

No comments: