Games Are Not Played on Paper!!!
Sunday, February 8th, 2009
If last night’s game was based on skill level and talent comparison between the Sharks and the CBJ, it would be in the minds of all people a response of “no contest” with the Sharks holding an upper hand….but…the game has never been won on paper nor will it ever. Without the services of such regular players the team squeaked out a 3-2 OT win over undoubtedly one of the premier teams of the NHL:
….the CBJ’s over came a little adversity, so welcome to the NHL. There are a lot of other teams in the league that are gong through the same problems with injuries as the CBJ.. Playoff hockey is currently in the full swing in the Western Conference, and the majority of the teams that are hanging around the “playoff bar” are going through the same problem of injuries to key players. At this time of the year one cannot use the injury bug as an excuse in the difference between winning and losing.
The approach on the ice was very simple tonight. Before the game began, it was understood that the team must keep it simple. The way they play the game and the tactics that are employed stood to the forefront with one common characteristic ….hard work on the checking front. There was a job well done as the first shift of the game felt the wrath of the CBJ fourth line. Derek Dorsett introduced himself to Ryan Clowe after a solid hit….that excited the 18,144 in attendance. It continued through the entire 60+ minutes as the Sharks accounted for 42 hits on the night and the CBJ tallied 36. Andrew Murray had 6, Boll and Klesla had 4; Rick Nash and Dorsett chipped in an immense 3 apiece. Only two players (33 & 10) did not obtain a hit.
Another key to the game was the ability to score on the first two shots of the game. Jason Williams stole an outlet pass from Alexei Semenov and went high on Nabokov, and then Nasher broke in all alone and went low glove as Nabokov guessed with a poke check. It was huge to get on the board against a team that is only allowing 2.3 goals a game.
This effort tonight was true playoff hockey. It was played with intensity and blended the level of emotion that kept the entire arena on the edge of their seats. When this team is committed to the game plan and the level of puck management, it was obvious that this was the proper manner to approach an impressive Shark squad….but it takes a level on commitment by the players as well as the coaches to replicate the same process….Not an easy task….and one cannot make the game an easy one, especially at this time of the year….and especially in the CBJ locker room. As a unit the team has never been in this position before. It is going to be up to the core leadership in the room as well as the cup experience of Hitch to be sure the task at hand is addressed.
This is a confident group. The plan is to work, to grind and to get a little dirty as the month of February advances. The schedule is not all bad as there are only 4 away contests in the month. Get the home crowd involved and give them what is wanted on a nightly basis…an effort
Stay tuned!! Up next…the Avs….let us make our own Avalanche!!