Monday, March 9, 2009

Is It Time for HWFO Yet? ( A Rambling Rant)

My thanks to the players and folks at YoHoHo! Puzzle Pirates

Is it time to panic yet? Obviously, we're all experiencing some collective disappointment over the Sharks recent lack of performance. Lots of us are starting to toss the Sharks under the post season bus. Maybe we have good reason for that; we're a pessimistic lot after all. That Sharks haven't found their way to the big show yet, and everyone forgets that they actually advanced to the conference finals the year before the lock out. (everyone but Sharks and Flames fans, that is) They aren't just a perennial second round swan song. Occasionally they get further, or don't get there at all. Wonder of all wonders, they're just like any other team. But we fans, we fans are a different breed.

Sensitive, perhaps overly so, to criticism of our Sharkies. All we want if for them to win every game of the season and to blow through the playoffs to silence the detractors. We even occasionally indulge in thoughts that this would silence critics. (It won't) It's easy to pick on a California based team thanks to that unusual/small/sunny market stigma. And we get upset when the Sharks don't preform to our expectations, because man, they are HIGH.

So are we more disappointed in their play or the perception of it by outsiders?

I, for one, I'm pretty darn displeased with their play of late, but I have a way of trying to keep it in perspective. First, why give a frak about what those outside the market say? Fans know their team best, so let's just focus on our own tribulations. Understand some folks won't like the Sharks anyway based on location and let it go. Understand we're an easy fan base to target, and get over it.



What we need to do is put this all in perspective. Anyone remember last year? Last year was OUR YEAR, or so we were told repeatedly by RW and the players. Remember our record last year? Remember how the season started? Don't want to think about it? It wasn't always pretty. 49-23-10. Those were out numbers for all of last season. That includes last season's epic March run. Last season didn't exactly start with a bang either. Last year was THE year and the Sharks still lost a bunch in the regular season. Welcome to the joys of fandom, ladies and gentlemen. Your team will lose.

Now, this is not to say that the Shark haven't regressed of late. They have, and that's mighty troubling. Do the Sharks still lack "heart" or do they simply lack motivation? Are they coasting because they lack the will to compete, or because they don't think they need to work for anything at this point. Who's lacking motivation in the locker room? Why aren't they channelling their anger in a more powerful way? I don't know. The calls have been going against us lately, play has been off, passes have been horrid, awareness is out the window. We don't have static Joe in the corner, but we have a lot of guys who seem to forget they need to cover people in their own zones. We have players from the other team going behind our net to get the puck. Something is terribly off. But is this just par for the course? Is this just the sort of slump all teams hit at some point in the season? If so, isn't it better to get it out of the way now, rather than have it hit during the playoffs?

Some have suggested the keys to this mystery are the injuries of JR and Grier. These guys are glue, and right now, they're stuck to the sidelines. I would think you'd play harder for the guys who aren't there but it hasn't been that way lately. Frustration is visible in the faces of Boyle and Clowe and Joe Pa. These guys hustle. No one else is. Seto is overly fancy all of a sudden, Joe is dead in the water. Patty's working, but he's not getting good chances. So what is it? What's wrong? Are the Sharks just showing their humanity, are our expectations too high, or is it truly time to panic?

The fact of the matter is, I don't know. I have no idea if this is the sign of the end of days or if we're all jumping the shark a bit here. (forgive the unintentional pun) Whatever it is, I'm going to do my best to enjoy the rest of the ride, but I won't claim to not be a bit disappointed if it continues down its current path.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Isnt it funny how all the top teams are struggling a bit right now? The Bruins last 10 game record is almost identical to the sharks! and as you point out, Thomas and Boucher both let in bad goals!

There just isnt much separating these teams! I would like to say between Detroit, San Jose and Boston it's going to come down to whoever is last to blink. Given the current situation, it might be better to say: Whoever is first to open their eyes!