Lack of urgency contributes to another failed season in San Jose
There will be forests of trees sacrificed (and pages of digital space consumed) over the next few weeks as another failed season of hockey in San Jose is autopsied, so let's keep an eye on the smaller picture.
The problem Monday night? With their playoff lives on the line, the Sharks offered up one period of urgency. One period in which they displayed an understanding that postseason hockey is an entirely different game, one that demands a completely different set of sacrifices. There couldn't be any finger-pointing in that room after this one -- not one player was able to put together a night's work he can be proud of.
Aliens could have landed at center ice. Brad could have reunited with Jennifer.
Though Getzlaf was the initiator (apparently as payback for what he thought was some cheap thuggery on the part of Thornton in Game 5), Jumbo Joe skated away with a clear decision. It seemed to give the Sharks a boost out of the blocks as they carried the play early, frustrating the Ducks into three penalties with their aggressive forecheck and opening the scoring with
Instead of stepping on Anaheim's throat and taking a raucous Honda Center crowd out of the equation, the Sharks let the Ducks back in the game with a couple of lazy penalties of their own.
Before the contest, San Jose coach
Thornton was all but invisible after the first period and ended up counting just one shot on net in nearly 18 minutes of ice time. Says a lot about the team's offensive centerpiece that he played four minutes less per night than Getzlaf. Sure, Getzlaf plays more minutes on the PK, but considering how much time the Sharks spent trailing in the series, it's a wonder Thornton wasn't double-shifted in the clutch. Maybe that's it . . . the clutch isn't exactly where he shines.
That said, there's no way Thornton will be the one sacrificed for this year's annual failure. Marleau wore the C, and if he displayed any leadership in this series it must have been behind closed doors. There was none to be seen on the ice in five of the six games. He has a no-trade clause, but you have to think there will be discussions to determine if the two sides would mutually benefit from a parting of the ways.
Counter the play of the top Sharks with that of Getzlaf, Perry and
• Nabokov wasn't bad in Game 6 -- certainly he wasn't fighting himself as he had in previous San Jose losses -- but he still failed to make the big stop when his team needed it most. Perry's tip-in was a tough chance, but coming just 2:14 after Michalek had given them the lead, it was exactly the save the Sharks needed. Same story with
• One of the big questions going into the series was whether the Ducks would place their fate in the hands of veteran
• You can't say enough about the work done by the Anaheim defense, especially
• Interesting stats from the series: Anaheim outscored San Jose 9-2 in third period play and 12-5 at even strength.