Monday, April 20, 2009

No more excuses for Sharks

The theme of the head coach and players coming out of the San Jose Sharks dressing room on Sunday night following a second consecutive home playoff loss to the eighth-seeded Anaheim Ducks was:

1)   We outshot them.

2)   We outplayed them.

3)   We outeverythinged them except outscored them.


Quit it. The top-seeded Sharks are outexcusing them. They’re down two games to none in the series going to Anaheim and, to hear them, the Sharks are terribly down on their luck. They’ve hit a crossbar and three posts in two games. They’re getting shots on the power play but, darn it, they just can’t seem to put the puck in the net. They’re playing as hard as they can!

Hogwash. These are the Stanley Cup playoffs. Get used to it. This so far has been a series of skill versus will and will is winning. The Ducks have rarely had any lapses, they’re making fewer mistakes and they’re taking advantage of the Sharks whenever they do. Yet the Sharks make Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller sound like the second coming of Ken Dryden.

Enough already. The pesky Ducks are playing each shift like they’re the Hansen Brothers. Except Anaheim has the Niedermayer Brothers – Rob, Scott and Douglas C. (better known to Sharks fans as Chris Pronger).  As much as the Sharks and their fans loathed Pronger, I saw the 34-year-old, 6-foot-6, 220-pound defenseman drop to the ice to block a shot by the Sharks’ Joe Pavelski that I thought was for sure going to give San Jose a 2-1 lead in Sunday night’s game.

That’s playing to win. The Sharks are playing not to lose. Big difference.


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