The San Jose Sharks had a great start to the shortened NHL season in January. Eight games and seven wins (for 14 points) with Patrick Marleau scoring two or goals in multiple consecutive games. Naturally, we (the fans) had Stanley Cup dreams with each successive win.
Then came February...and the team's climb to the top start to slip. Twelve games for a total of 24 points were on the schedule. The boys of winter only managed to get one regulation win. The rest of the points earned came from overtime and shoot-outs. Out of a total of twenty four points, the Sharks managed to walk away with eight. Added to the previous month's 14, they stood at 22 on the final day of February.
Where the team had switched positions back & forth in January with Chicago, now the Sharks began a slow decline to end up in the middle of the pack fighting for the eighth seed. Most of the games lost were by one goal. Chicago had a 5-3 win on Feb. 5th & a 4-1 win on Feb. 15h - and the Blue Jackets had a 6-2 win on Feb. 11th. What happened?
The power play was an issue in February. In January, many of the goals scored had been on the power play. Taking shots wasn't the problem, but getting the puck past the goalie was. On the other hand, the penalty kill, which had needed an improvement from January received a boost in February. Goal tending remained the one constant each month: Nemo standing on his head to keep the goals against low.
February wasn't without excitement. Ryane Clowe was handed down a two game suspension after he left the bench on a 'legal line change' and then started a fight on a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. (click on link below to see Shanahan's explanation).
In early March, Marleau scored his 400th goal. Patrick is the 88th NHL player to accomplish the feat. What makes it even more special, Marleau is one of 36 players to reach this hallmark while remaining on the same team. Congrats to Patty! We hope to see many more.
Alas, this month has seen more of the up and down games. After the recent 2-5 loss to Los Angeles, Coach Todd McClellan was less than pleased with his team's performance. You can read the article from the San Jose Mercury News by clicking on the link below. Is it time for a shake-down of the team? The Hockey News, Lyle Richardson's Rumor Roundup speculates on this very issue. Check it out on the link below.
Whether some players find a new home, the Coach waves goodbye, or even Doug gets a pink slip, I'm afraid the owners group will get impatient if there isn't some headway soon. The Sharks have been a play-off team since 2001-2002. They are now the only California team to have NOT won the Stanley Cup.
I'm crossing my fingers. Come on guys - my teal make-up, clothing, and pom-poms have a lot of dust built up waiting for that parade. It will happen. I just would like to see it while I can still fit in my teal & suede dress.
Stay safe out there, and, Go Sharks!!!!