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Sharks Locker Room: How San Jose ‘Cheated the Game’



Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

Maybe this a game that the San Jose Sharks will learn to win next year?

Early in the second period, William Eklund and Jacob MacDonald had the Sharks up 2-0, but then, the team’s last-place habits turned up.

“Every guy has gotta understand, we’re up 2-0. We don’t need offense right now. We’ve got to manage a game and we give up a [2-on-1] on the next shift. That’s just inexcusable,” head coach David Quinn said. “It’s not winning hockey.”

Keep in mind, the San Jose Sharks are already tired at the beginning of this clip. The forward line of Luke Kunin, Klim Kostin, and Collin Graf, and defensemen Mario Ferraro and Jan Rutta have already been on the ice for 50-plus seconds on a frenetic offensive shift.

That’s good, but it gets bad, and then, ugly.

I’m not going to break down every play here, but here are some examples of the “not winning hockey” that you hope the Sharks aren’t playing this time next year.

0:02: Rutta (84) is too low in the offensive zone, cheating for offense. Jonathan Huberdeau (10) gets behind him, that’s his man, and the Flames are off on a 2-on-1. Huberdeau hits the post.

This starts a chain of events that the San Jose Sharks cannot recover from.

00:10: I don’t blame Ferraro (38) for trying to pitchfork the puck out. Kostin (10) is able to fight it out.

In retrospect though, Ferraro had a little more time because the Flames were changing, maybe he can initiate an exit that leads to the puck going all the way down, instead of just into the neutral zone, where Calgary just re-loads with a fresh line and San Jose is trapped and tired.

But this group has been out for a minute, so you get Ferraro’s thinking, and the puck does squeak out.

00:26: Graf (51) is simply dusted in a one-on-one puck battle by Matt Coronato (27). Coronato is 5-foot-10, also 21, and a rookie like Graf. This is a battle that you want Graf to be more competitive at in the future. Put a body on Coronato, contain him, slow him down at least, don’t just cede the puck. This is something that a Thomas Bordeleau has had to learn, determination for the puck.

00:45: Kostin needs to get that out. It’s a tough backhand and he’s a tired, but he’s the Sharks’ last option there.

00:57: Graf doesn’t seem to recognize that A.J. Greer (18) and Rasmus Andersson (4) have switched behind him. He double-covers Kunin’s man, Kevin Rooney (21) net front, instead of picking up Andersson. Kunin is fronting a Coronato pass to Rooney. Ferraro will handle Greer wheeling around the net.

Andersson toys with the rookie, feinting outside, then taking the middle of the ice. Ferraro blocks the first shot, but Kostin and Rutta are too late to stop Andersson from cleaning up.

Veterans and youngsters alike, hopefully the San Jose Sharks are harder to play against next year.

No one expects the playoffs, but these are the small mistakes that the Sharks have made too often this season, that lead to the big mistakes.

David Quinn

Quinn, on Collin Graf:

That’s one thing he can do. He can make plays. He’s got a lot of confidence with the puck which is good to see for a young player at this level. Especially when you’re three games into your NHL career. His puck skills are real.

Quinn, on San Jose Sharks getting dominated after the Jacob MacDonald goal:

We just cheated the game, I thought, in the second and third. We wanted it to be easy. We were hoping that things were gonna happen instead of approaching the game the honest way and the right way. I thought we were fortunate to get into overtime.

Every guy has gotta understand, we’re up 2-0. We don’t need offense right now. We’ve got to manage a game and we give up a [2-on-1] on the next shift. That’s just inexcusable. It’s not winning hockey. We made life difficult for ourselves, but I don’t discredit them. I thought they did a good job of elevating their pace and the physicality and we just were able to match it.

We didn’t have anybody really that played well other than our goalie.

Thomas Bordeleau

Bordeleau, on taking a lot of power play faceoffs:

I’ve been good in the dots my whole life. It was just a question of translating it to the NHL. Just trying to make our power play start with possession.

Obviously, faceoffs are not a one-man job. Also, the wingers are helping a lot.

William Eklund

Eklund, on how the San Jose Sharks power play, that had all kinds of possession, could’ve got more dangerous chances against a passive penalty kill:

Maybe get some more guys on the inside? Sometimes, you just gotta get some shots on net and see what happens. We tried to look for the better play all the time today.

Kyle Burroughs

Burroughs, on if he’s taken a mentorship role with Henry Thrun:

In the rink, outside the rink, we’re lucky here in San Jose, we can enjoy our time outside of the rink, grow relationships that way.

I still feel like I’m Henry’s age. (laughs) But he’s a smart kid. He’s a wise kid. He’s taught me a few things along the way too.

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