The San Jose Sharks sat in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable spot early on in the season. Once again questions about their commitment to be that powerhouse team arose. On January 14th the team had played 45 games which would mark a little past the halfway point. They were a plus two and were sitting in the number 12 spot in the Western Conference. It was evident that the uphill battle for this team would clearly test the depth of their lineup and their will to win. The spotlight was on them to prove to every skeptic that they were for real.
Adversity Met Head On
January 14th is a significant date because prior to this, the Sharks had managed to dig themselves into a hole even they may have thought would be a feat to climb out of in time. The Sharks had been on a six game losing streak before they finally defeated the St. Louis Blues. Now no one knows who said what, but when I watched them play St. Louis, something felt different. While they haven’t been completely flawless since that moment, there is a swagger in their step and a renewed sense of confidence. I’d bet that has something to do with the 26 wins in their last 34 games. Talk about sending a message.
The Perfect Additions
The Sharks team did not need significant tweaking, just minor adjustments. While the off season additions proved to boost this team, there was still room for improvement. They added three players who would prove to be just what the doctor ordered for this already well built team. The Sharks were already strong up front, but they needed another forward that could make things happen. They found that in Kyle Wellwood. They added a gritty, tough fourth liner in Ben Eager. And they bolstered the blue line with a puck moving defensemen in Ian White. These three players were the missing pieces in the Sharks puzzle.
Standing Up for One Another
Die hard Sharks fans should be able to easily recall the nasty hit by Raffi Torres on Milan Michalek in the second round of the 2006 playoffs. Raffi Torres took Milan out of the playoffs with that hit. Of course it was devastating to see one of their top forwards out of commission, but it was heart wrenching that not one Shark responded. Now take your current Sharks lineup. I shudder to think what would happen to someone who takes out Patrick Marleau or the Sharks Calder Trophy candidate Logan Couture. Night in and night out the Sharks are exhibiting behavior that proves that they’d go to battle for one another whenever necessary.
At this point only time will tell just how much determination the San Jose Sharks have. As a diehard Sharks fan for the past 10 years I am hoping this is their year.
Sources: Dropyourgloves.com, Bleacherreport.com