What’s wrong with the Sharks?

It’s that time of the year when fans start worrying. I’ve gotten a number of emails and IM’s asking me what I thought was wrong with the Sharks. I knew the hot start wasn’t sustainable. Well, we’re into that “not sustainable” part. Teams that play “too well” can get into bad habits, and those can make life difficult when the wins stop. The Sharks got into some bad habits, but nothing too serious. The big problem I see with them is a tendency to play to the level of the other team — and they’ve pulled a lot of games out in the third period. right now, the bounces aren’t going their way, and they’re losing some of those. When it works, we call it “pacing ourselves for the playoffs”, and it’s a mild annoyance. When it doesn’t, it’s called a lot of things, most of them unprintable, but “not being ready for the game” is a common one. Soft starts and digging holes early, and right now, they’re not digging out of them well enough. the injuries on the third and fourth lines are tough; add in injuries to Blake (broken jaw), Lukowich (sports hernia) and Boyle (wrist) — which have all ben played through to some degree or another, but still affect their games — and the team’s depth has been tested. it’s held up quite well,...

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