Monday, April 14, 2008

My More Complete Thoughts on Game 3

I'll address the Sharks issues first then I'll go into my conspiracy theory at the end of the post. This isn't as objective as I had hoped I could be by the morning but I tried to address all the issues I saw last night, not just the lack of call against Sarich.

No D. None. Where did it go? The Sharks need to get that back if they have any hope of advancing to round 2.

Brian Campbell started to suck. Seriously. The man's giving away more pucks than a mystery puck night. My wacky suggestion, though it's never going to happen, is to sit Campbell. You eff up, you sit. That would send a message to the rest of the team to get their act together. This would unfortunately mean the Sharks would have to play Semenov or Ozolinsh, neither of whom I trust very much, but at this point, Campbell is about as ineffective as they are and I'd be tempted to try something shocking.

Kyle McLaren. As much as I like you Kyle, you've been sloppy. Taking penalties the Sharks don't need at bad times. Those situations all seem to be resulting in goals. McLaren isn't hitting and isn't playing effectively. I hope Erhoff is back for game 4 because I think Kyle also needs some bench time. My guess is he's worried about getting hurt. If he's that unsure, he should sit.

Lack of response, lack of physical play. Last night there was SOME response to the hits on Patty but not enough. (Clowe and Carle, thanks for coming over to try and beat some guys up in response) I realize that it wouldn't have mattered, the refs would have sent the Sharks straight to the box for pulling the same crap as the Flames, but they needed more than Shelley having some words with the Flames bench.

Other Issues: (The conspiracy theory section)
The refs: What, did they think three goals in under 5 minutes was too much? How can you possible NOT call anything on Sarich for that elbow? HOW? WTF! That was the signal, the moment, that changed the pace of the game. If the refs had done their jobs and sent him to the box the Flames would have known they couldn't get away with dirty play. But they didn't. That was one of the worst blown calls I have ever seen. If that had been blown in favor of the Sharks it would have left a bad taste in my mouth. What utter crap. The officiating has been very poor all series but last night was especially atrocious. Ugh.

Lack of scoring chances: After the Sharks chased Kipper and after the Flames realized they could get away with playing dirty, they shut down they Sharks completely. There were very few quality chances and the Sharks had such a hard time entering and maintaining puck possession in Calgary's zone that they had a hard time responding to anything.

Calgary playing dirty: There's a long history of the Sharks getting screwed by teams who decided to play a little rougher than is necessary. I don't just mean hard hits. I'm fine with hard hits. It's when Calgary can cross check a guy to the back of his head and get away with it that I get really pissed. It's like Nashville with their "I'm going to hold on to you for as long as possible" style of hockey. Or the hit the guy waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy after he no longer has the puck, because we can, approach. And the refs ignore it. That's a shitty way to win. If you out play a team, fine. But to beat the hell out of them by getting away with bad hits and things away from the play, that's just low. I know, I know, it happens every season and every season the Sharks fail to respond. I don't think it's a failure to respond so much as a lack of desire to play like a bunch of jerks. I'm proud of the Sharks for not wanting to sink to that level, but they're going to need to find a way to respond or they'll keep having teams shit all over them because they know they can.

You don't have to agree with my assessment, I actually doubt most people will, but that's how I saw Game 3. It was a frustrating, poorly called mess of a game. Even if the refs had sent Calgary the message that dirty play wasn't going to be allowed, I realize the outcome could have been the same. I'd be less annoyed by the Sharks losing if that had been the case.

Games 4 and 5 are next. I'm hoping the Sharks can spilt the series in Calgary and win game 5 at home. (and then win game 6)

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