TAMPA, Fla. – Mario Ferraro has seen his share of tough starts to San Jose Sharks seasons.
In 2019-20, his rookie campaign, the Sharks lost their first four games of the year, on the way to getting Peter DeBoer fired.
Last season, San Jose had zero points through five games, a franchise low.
And now, after a 6-0 shellacking by the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Sharks are now 0-6-1.
Is this the toughest start to a season that he’s endured as a Shark?
“I mean, our record says so,” the alternate captain said, before admitting, “It is the toughest start, for sure. We’re competitors. We want to win. It sucks losing games.”
#SJSharks📷 lose 6-0 and have been outscored by 20 goals, becoming 8th team in expansion era to be outscored by 20+ in 1st 7 games. Others:
1985-86 Red Wings -31
2021-22 Coyotes -22
2015-16 Blue Jackets -21
1982-83 Red Wings -21
1992-93 Senators -21
1997-98 Blackhawks -20
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) October 27, 2023
It’s not just that the San Jose Sharks are losing, it’s how they’re playing. Per SPORTLOGiQ, they were on their heels from the get-go.
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) October 26, 2023
Starter Mackenzie Blackwood did his best, but he got the mercy pull early in the second period, after giving up five goals on 21 shots. The stats are ugly, but his teammates were hanging him out to dry.
Ferraro said of tonight’s embarrassment: “There’s nothing positive to take out of that.”
Ferraro emphasized that the Sharks need to stop worrying about offense, even though they’re scoring at a historically-low rate.
The 2023-24 #SJSharks are the 10th NHL team since the introduction of the center red line in 1943-44 to score 8 goals or fewer in their first 7 games. The 1950-51 Bruins had the fewest goals (5) in their first 7 during that span. #NHLStats #HockeyTwitter
— Darin Stephens (@SharksStats) October 27, 2023
He also talked about how the Sharks could be better teammates to each other, and how he still believes in this group.
Jan Rutta is asked how tough it is for him, a 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup champion, to get through all this losing.
Head coach David Quinn agrees with Ferraro, that the root of the Sharks’ problems is competing and defending better. He called them “late everywhere”.
Ferraro, on tonight’s performance:
Not good at all. Weren’t hard enough to play against. Too much time and space for them? It wasn’t a good game for us. No, we’re not happy about that one. There’s nothing positive to take out of that.
Ferraro, on how the San Jose Sharks can improve their offense:
We just as a team have to stop worrying about that. The goals are going to come.
I think, the No. 1 thing is we got to stick to doing, controlling the things that we can control every night, playing our identity every night. It’s too much up and down right now.
Some nights, we’re physical and we’re competing hard enough and other nights, our foot’s off the gas. It’s just not good enough.
Maybe we’re thinking too much on what we got to do offensively and how to create. I think, just narrowing it down to the little things and our compete and being good teammates and working hard every night, until we’re consistent with that, we can’t worry about scoring. That stuff’s gonna take care of itself, as long as we do what we need to do every night.
Ferraro, on what he means by Sharks having to focus on being “good teammates”:
We just got to build each other up. Guys are gonna try and make plays, they’re gonna make mistakes. It’s easy, when games get tough like this, the season being tough as it is right now, we can kind of get away from supporting each other and building each other up and being positive.
Ferraro, on if this is the toughest start to the season that he’s endured as a Shark:
I mean, our record says so.
But I still believe in this group. I believe in everybody we have. I believe in the relationship that I have with these guys and that we have within this group and in this locker room. We just haven’t found it yet. But our time is gonna come. I believe in that.
It is the toughest start, for sure. We’re competitors. We want to win. It sucks losing games.
Given the schedule that we’ve had and some games being close and some that we just weren’t there, it’s frustrating. We got to find our groove and we got to stick to it.
I still believe in this group though. As hard as it is, I’m still positive. I have to be. We all have to be.
Rutta keeps it simple: "We played a pretty good team. We didn't play our best at all. When that happens, you'll get your ass beat."
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) October 27, 2023
Rutta, on how tough this season has been, considering that he’s been on recent Stanley Cup champions:
You lose games. No matter what team you are. We’re a group that we need to come together. There’s too much second-guessing and it translates to our game.
Rutta, on if the second-guessing stems from a fear of making mistakes:
That’s probably part of it too. Some of the D-pairings or lines are new too. We have a lot of young and new guys on the team. We’re building the chemistry too.
Jan Rutta: "The effort and the dedication that you can put into our game, that's just the choice. I think we played some close games. Maybe we were not up there with the skill level, but we still played some tight games so it's a matter of choice. We can play a hard game."
— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) October 27, 2023
Quinn, on how he saw tonight’s loss:
Obviously, they were clicking on all cylinders. We were just half a step slow everywhere. We didn’t have a lot of defensive anticipation, which allowed them an awful lot of zone time. When you’re late everywhere defending, you’re going to spend as much time in our end as we did. It was just disappointing, especially against a team like that.
I know people talk about the fact that we didn’t score goals, but to me, we’ve got to be better defensively if we want to spend more time in the offensive zone. It’s all tied together. We’re just late everywhere. We just lose too many battles. Too much shadow defending, instead of ending plays. As the game went on, we lost our structure, because we spent so much time in our end.
Quinn, on if second-guessing leads to the San Jose Sharks being late in all three zones:
There’s definitely hesitation. I don’t think guys trust each other yet. I think guys are hesitant to do what they’re supposed to do because they’re wondering if the other guy’s gonna do what he’s supposed to do. When that happens, that’s when you get hesitation.
Quinn, on if the solutions are in the San Jose Sharks locker room:
Absolutely. I know that we can play a hell of a lot better than we did tonight.
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