Saturday, October 27, 2007

Red Wings 5, Sharks 1


The Sharks were utterly dominated last night, there really is no other way to put it. Alexei Semenov's late goal salvaged the shutout, but for all intents and purposes, this loss was every bit as bad as last December's 8-0 drubbing at the hands of the Coyotes, which has now become the gold standard for Sharks futility.

It's true that, due to flight delay, the team hadn't taken the ice in four days, but even exiting from a decade-long hibernation would have been no excuse for the effort (or, more accurately, lack thereof) the Sharks put up last night. They were thoroughly obliterated by a team that just seemed to want the win more. Ron Wilson can shuffle the lines as much as he damn pleases, but I honestly don't think it's going to change a thing. Simply slapping players on different units not only fails to combat the team's primary problem, the lack of a will to win, but it may actually be counterproductive as, through ten games, no one has been able to generate any semblance of chemistry with anyone else.

I hate to jump on the anti-Marleau bandwagon, but the Sharks captain, with four points and a +0, has been invisible through ten games. Of course, as explained above, San Jose's problem is not one that is limited to a single player. In fact, it's a miracle the team has five wins and the division lead (the latter of which can likely be attributed to Anaheim's endless string of injuries and Dallas' inability to score) because no one on that roster has put up a consistent effort.

Of course, to say this is solely an emotional problem would be quite shallow. The offense was incapable last night, and have been too many nights already in this young season, of sustaining a forecheck and generated fewer than five legitimate scoring chances, meaning they really had no chance to win this game no matter who was in net for the Red Wings. The defense has been far better than any of us could have predicted, but gaffes by forwards on the backcheck (Steve Bernier a culprit last night on the Andreas Lilja goal) have made our blueline look bad as well. Overall, too many questions, too few answers for the Sharks, and as Wilson said after the game, perhaps the most difficult challenge will be to put this game behind them and prepare for this afternoon's affair with the Blue Jackets.

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