The San Jose Sharks’ latest letdowns were so troubling that it left local media personalities bickering. With the should-be contender’s outlook dropping seemingly every day, CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz broke down which areas might (and might not) be the problem for the disappointing team.
Here’s one of the more interesting excerpts, at least if you’ve followed leaned-upon media narratives more or less ever since Joe Thornton’s first playoff session in teal:
They aren’t motivated
Why it’s true: This has obviously been the biggest criticism of the Sharks over the years, and the conversation usually begins with Patrick Marleau. The former Sharks captain hasn’t shown the kind of effort you’d expect from the team’s second highest-paid player in the midst of a playoff push, as he has just two goals in his last 18 games. Marleau isn’t the only one, though. Logan Couture has to be held accountable here, too. The second-year All-Star has just three goals in his last 15 games (two in the same game) since the NHL’s trade deadline, which, coincidentally or not, was when he saw his best friend on the team traded to the Avalanche in Jamie McGinn.
Why it isn’t: Statistically speaking, Couture and Marleau are still second and third, respectively, on the Sharks in scoring. Joe Thornton is another player that is often on the receiving end of being too relaxed, but his play on the ice and his numbers on the scoresheet reveal otherwise this season. Thornton has been the Sharks’ most consistent offensive threat for the past two months, and has at least a point in 21 of the last 31 games.
Perhaps Kurz’s “they’re just not good enough” is the tidiest bow you can put on the situation.
From a team stats standpoint, the Sharks seem like a playoff team in most areas. I figured that with their productive power play, they might be weak 5-on-5, but they’re at least above “.500” in that area. They heavily out-shoot opponents, averaging 34.1 per game vs. 28.5 allowed. The one weakness that does jump out at you is the penalty kill, which has a success rate of just 78.2 percent – third worst in the league.
Maybe what makes the question so intriguing for general NHL fans and stomach-churning for Sharks devotees. Then again, you might have the obvious answer waiting to go in the comments, so fire away.