Series Tied

I was incredibly frustrated watching game two of the Detroit-San Jose series yeterday. Once again the Sharks came out looking very strong, took a nice lead and then went to sleep. Late in the game with around seven minutes left the Sharks got a power play and I watch it unfold with Thornton controlling the puck from his usual position and I see two other Sharks (I presume they were Cheechoo and Michalek but I couldn’t catch the jersey numbers to be sure) in front of the net… standing around.

I sat there trying not to wake Nik who was taking a nap screaming silently, “Move! MOVE! MOVE!” Thornton did the best he could to avoid the Detroit pressure but he got no help. Look, Joe is a great passer but he isn’t capable of defying the laws of physics: If there isn’t anywhere to pass, he can’t will the puck to appear on the other side of a defender. Those guys down low have got to work to make something happen.

They didn’t.

This is all after a second period where the Sharks seemed to be allergic to shooting. What did they have, three shots in twenty minutes? Not. Good. Enough.

The Sharks are better than these guys. There is no reason we couldn’t have rolled Detroit in four games. Now they have to go back to the Tank and prove that to a team that is definitely going to use their come from behind victory (and three unanswered goals) as a motivating factor. Listen, kids, it ain’t getting easier from here. So, a quick two-step plan to get back on track:

  1. Work as hard as Mike Grier. Everyone.
  2. Shoot. For pity’s sake, shoot.

Listen, Sharks, this kind of play isn’t going to cut it with me or the rest of the San Jose fans. I don’t want to roll out this ultimatum already but I’d rather do it when it can make a difference than when it is too late. You owe us.

We’ve been good. We’ve had your back through some very bad years. We sat through some pitiful hockey. We believed in underdogs when there was really no rational reason to do so, pushing you to minor, moral victories by sheer force of will against overwhelming odds. We’ve put up with disappointing years that ought to have been ours. We’ve suffered through early season slumps, late season nail-biters, pitiful playoffs and talentless early years. We’ve dreamed of against-all-odds victories.

The front office has been good to us. They gave us the tools to finally make a real run at ultimate victory… a couple of times. Don’t let this be another year of coulda-been. They call Detroit “Hockeytown,” but I think that nickname ought to be taken away. They can’t even sell out a playoff game for goodness’ sake. And don’t give me that hooey about competing sports with the Tigers being good and the Pistons and Lions: We have twice as many pro sports teams and we manage to support them all (well, except the Raiders… but let’s just call that “justified”). No, San Jose is the real Hockeytown. We love it, we love the team, we’ve been there since the miserable Cow Palace days. So forget the Gipper, forget your fat contracts, forget the personal glory.

Do it for us. No excuses, just make it happen. You can. Just go do it. Now. Stop playing around and let’s go fight Anaheim. Or Vancouver. Whomever. Point is, this series ought to be well on its way to being over by now. I don’t want drama, I want crushing, demoralizing defeat that shows those fair weather idiots in Detroit why they were justified in staying home and not wasting their time and money. So no more of this silliness. Playtime is over.

Do it for the new Hockeytown. It’s about time.

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