“We shot ourselves in the foot.”
That was Timo Meier’s analysis of the San Jose Sharks’ sloppy 8-5 loss to the Seattle Kraken.
That’s what head coach David Quinn said after the Sharks’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 5. After the 4-2 defeat to the Vegas Golden Knights on Oct. 25. After the 5-2 waxing by the New York Islanders on Oct. 18.
James Reimer said it after the 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 14. And Quinn started it on Oct. 8 after a 3-2 defeat to the Nashville Predators.
If the Sharks were in Yearbook, “Shot Ourselves in the Foot” would be the theme of this season.
According to San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn, it all started in practice on Tuesday.
“I didn’t love our practice yesterday either,” he shared after the game. “And I think it carried over to tonight.”
While the scoreboard suggests that the Sharks’ self-flagellation started from the second period on – they had a 2-1 lead after the opening frame – they were actually beating themselves from the get-go.
Just in the first period, they gave Seattle a two-man advantage off back-to-back unforced errors: A too many men on the ice, then a puck over the glass delay of game by Matt Benning.
There was no forechecker close to Benning, so no excuse there. But that stuff happens, maybe the puck just rolled off his stick.
It was the too many men on the ice that was particularly galling: At the end of the San Jose Sharks power play, Erik Karlsson can’t keep the puck in. Yanni Gourde claims and goes on a one-man mission to kill of the rest of the penalty. Logan Couture goes off to change, and for some reason, Mario Ferraro and Nick Bonino jump on for one Shark.
It was a ridiculous scene: Three Sharks, including Karlsson, who didn’t change, on one Gourde. This was a completely preventable lack of communication, and an overreaction to a lone PK’er with little chance to score.
“We weren’t talking to each other,” Jaycob Megna said. “It’s definitely not the way that we want to play and it’s unacceptable.”
Andre Burakovsky would score on the ensuing 5-on-3.
And the mistakes just mounted after that: Luke Kunin doesn’t tie up Vince Dunn’s stick. Ryan Donato is left alone in front by Ferraro. The Sharks lose Jamie Oleksiak in front on a Kraken 6-on-5. Steven Lorentz can’t get it out. Even hat trick artist Meier botched what could’ve been a personal masterpiece with two offensive zone turnovers that led directly to Seattle goals.
Kaapo Kahkonen didn’t help matters either, stopping just 19 of 26 shots. He didn’t receive any help, but a clutch save or two would’ve been nice.
Point is, it was a team-wide siesta after the San Jose Sharks’ last game, a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
“I don’t know whether we felt really good about what happened the other night,” Quinn offered.
This isn’t the first time that the bench boss has suggested that the Sharks were a little too high on themselves for no good reason.
But here’s a stat that should ground the San Jose Sharks, if somehow, their 7-12-3 record doesn’t do it.
Yup, bully for the Sharks for beating the cellar-dwelling Sens by four goals. But that was just the eighth time over the last four seasons, since 2019-20, that San Jose has beaten a team by four or more goals.
The 2018-19 Western Conference finalist Sharks, to compare, accomplished that feat 10 times in the regular season.
You would think that would be a humbling stat. But the Sharks, according to Quinn, are still learning.
“Every time you have the puck on your stick, you don’t have to force a play. Just play hockey. When we do that, we’re very good team. I really do believe we’re a good hockey team,” the bench boss said. “We’re slowly learning that.”
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