Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Shark's midlife crysis

Twenty four games in.
Eleven wins
Thirteen losses
(barely)Negative goal differential
Middle of the Western Conference standings.

Sounds like anybody you know?

It is the middle of the shortened season. It is the "start" of the final push. It is the beginning of the battle for playoffs relevance, a battle to prove your self worth, a battle to climb out of mediocrity, a battle to rediscover yourself.

I have talked, previously, about core issues with this team. I have talked about possible solutions to their problems. I have talked about the importance of the homestand about to start at the time. At a glance, the Sharks did good on their end . They won two out of the three games of that particular homestand and managed to get a point in the other game. So far so good? Not so fast.
Two of the games went to the shootout. They won only one of them.  
Then they went to Vancouver, another shootout, but they managed to win it.
Then they got spanked by a Calagry team that is in the last place in the west, currently, then two losses in OT.
Well yea, the optimist will say, but they got points .
That is true.
But there is an alarming trend :
24 games played, 10 of them were not decided in regulation and went to OT and 7 of those went to shootouts. Yes they are 4-3 in the shootout this season which is ... a decent record some would say.
But let's look at the big picture:
As near as it makes little difference, the Sharks could not beat their counterparts in regulation in almost half of the games so far. What is worse, they lost all three games that didn't go to the shootout.
What is it with this team? Sure sure, I know they have problems scoring and ultimately this is the reason for this debacle  ... but aren't they scoring?
We talked about the "new" system, we talked about the lack of heart ( and balls), we talked about the lack of depth, we talked about the team culture, we talked about a coach losing his "voice" , so on and so forth.
But what goes beyond that, if anything?
Midlife crysis.
Every man finds himself, at some point in life, in a void. He has had his job/career for a number of years, possibly been successful at it in some shape or form, he quite possibly has a family and kids and he provided for them as best he can. Now the kids are in college or in their own jobs , or married, either way, mostly on their own. The job is monotonous , the co-workers are annoying, there really isn't much room to grow and the youngsters are taking over the office forcing toe man to become more guarded take less chances, play it safe. The wife is off with her gal pals doing some book club or Yoga or some ridiculous diet, and the man finds himself alone with his aches and pains. Suddenly , in that loneliness, his own mortality starts striking him. Then the man makes changes.
This is where the Sharks are.
The core of the team and of the organization has been around for a long time, they  have had some measure of success. But now they are older, things are stale, they can't find their identity, they are scared of taking chances, they are afraid to lose  but not willing to risk much for a win. Younger faster teams are brazen and in their faces, the coach is off in lala land doing things that have little effect.
There must be changes.
Will the Sharks go off and buy a fancy new sports car (trade for a shinny name) to impress the young girls ( fans)?
Will the Sharks clean up the back yard (secondary lines) only to wonder why the front yard is still wilted and dying?
Will the Sharks pick up some ridiculous hobby that will only drain their bank account ( switchback to the "old systems" only to allow more goals)?
Will the Sharks stop caring all together, mail the rest of the season in and go play golf with buddies ( self-explanatory)?
Or will the Sharks decide to stop moping about , fix the creaky door, plant new trees in the front yard, fix the leaky roof, upgrade the kitchen and go to the office, check themselves for manhood and start smacking around the dumb young puppies who are nipping at their heels and get those promotions and bonuses those little twerps took from them so far.
The time for changes is close.
What will they do?