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Good Teams Overcome Their Big Mistakes



Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

David Quinn has talked about how the “big mistake” has sunk the San Jose Sharks.

We’re talking the gaffes, often in the middle of the ice, that have led to back-breaking goals against. When I think of the Sharks’ season so far, this is what I think about: Andrei Svechnikov pickpocketing Kevin Labanc. Two Sam Lafferty short-handed goals in 2:08. Yegor Sharangovich blindsiding Marc-Edouard Vlasic. William Karlsson burning Erik Karlsson alive.

Timo Meier’s drop pass to Mitch Marner, San Jose Sharks up 3-1 with about 30 seconds left in the second period, looked like a first-ballot inductee to the Sharks’ 2022-23 Hall of Shame.

“That just cannot happen. That’s losing hockey. And that’s something we got to get out of our game. We should get into that [third] period 3-1. That puck should get deep, even off the rush. And we make a pass five feet inside the blue line,” Quinn groaned after the game. “That’s gotta get deep. Know the situation. Know who’s out there from the other team.”

The Sharks, if nothing else, have been playing lots of losing hockey this year.

But the truth of it is, every team plays losing hockey at some point. Even the good teams. Every team makes mistakes, big and small, during the course of a game.

So Quinn hasn’t talked much about this – the San Jose Sharks have given him little occasion to do so – but the good teams overcome the big mistakes.

That’s what the Sharks finally did last night, taking it 4-3 in OT after letting the Leafs tie it up.

And lo and behold, it’s Meier in OT who made up for his earlier error.

Erik Karlsson (65) keeps up, stride for stride, with William Nylander (88), while Meier (28), head on a swivel, sniffs out the Nylander pass to Rasmus Sandin (38). Then Meier shows perfect touch, putting a lead pass on a platter for Karlsson to skate into at full speed.


“It was really good defensive play by Meier. Meier does a great job defending and we turn the puck up and get the goal. That was winning hockey,” Quinn made sure to stress in the same press conference. “We need to play more of that, and we played more of it tonight.”

For what it’s worth, the San Jose Sharks are starting to play more winning hockey. After a listless string of losses to the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, and New York Islanders dropped them to 0-5-0, the 3-7-0 Sharks have played, dare I say it, a lot of winning hockey, topping talented New York Rangers and Maple Leafs clubs in the process.

Let’s see if they can keep it going against the defending Eastern Conference champs Tampa Bay Lightning this Saturday afternoon.

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