Most of the San Jose Sharks’ best-laid plans are going awry.
Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic aren’t combining to dominate at either end.
Noah Gregor is not proving to be a solution at third-line center.
Martin Jones and Devan Dubnyk aren’t supplying improved goaltending.
In turn, the team defense isn’t doing the goalies any favors either.
And yes, it’s just three games. As Burns put so well yesterday, the team’s had an abnormally long lay-off:
Burns, on #SJSharks learning new system — they're overthinking things right now, but it'll get better: "Shit, I skated with my 9-year-old son & his team for 6 months. Everybody's in a different boat. Some guys didn't even get to skate for a long time. No excuses, just a fact."
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) January 19, 2021
Understandably, it’s hard to ask San Jose Sharks fans, who have had either bad hockey or no hockey for the last 20 months, to be patient.
Good news is, there’s one key facet of Sharks hockey that appears to be following the off-season script — and a lot because of Karlsson and Burns, among others.
Let’s take a deep dive into a power play that’s already scored five goals, what’s clicking?
Also, we’ll break down one of the uglier San Jose Sharks’ shifts last night and how that’s symptomatic of what’s plaguing them in all three zones at 5-on-5.
Easy to Play Against
There’s no two ways about it, San Jose was easy to play against last night. As much as fans may roll their eyes at the “hard to play against” mantra, watch this shift, and you’ll see why that cliche endures:
“Most of the offense that we’re giving to other teams is starting from 200 feet away from our net,” Boughner said today. Case in point:
0:00 It’s easy to blame Kevin Labanc (62) for having little forecheck effect, but it’s not his fault. The Timo Meier (28) dump-in is an easy retrieval for Justin Faulk (72) and the St. Louis blueliner has plenty of time to move the puck. Meier doesn’t put it in a place, say dead in the corner — which isn’t an easy play — that will give Labanc an extra split-second to bear down. Meier follows up on Marco Scandella (6), but the Sharks are way behind on the forecheck.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.