Saturday, February 14, 2009

Waxing Lyrical On a Mid Season Slump

It's the thought that weighs heavy on every Sharks fan's mind. Is this a slump?

This is inevitably followed by other questions:

Is this just a bump in the road? Is this who our team really is? Are we feeding off past disappointments of yesteryear and redirecting them to now? Do we buy into our own hype too much, despite desperately trying to avoid that this year? Are we too sensitive to hat other in the hockey world say, that we often feel that our team has to win all 82 regular season games? I won't mention the ever present post season concerns. Those are well documented and not yet applicable to this situation.

The fact is, in most Sharks seasons, this wouldn't be a slump. In most of the recent Sharks seasons, it's been up and down from the start. This is par for the course. It's mid season, everyone' tired, a bunch of guys have the flu, we have injuries, the team slows down, it happens. February has also usually been a harsh month for the Sharks. That's nothing new.

So here's the question, is it really a slump if you can come back from some terrible play and take the game into OT? The Sharks, despite dropping several games this road trip, have gotten at least a point in all of them. They have battled back from less than stellar play and been able to keep themselves in games that, if you only saw the first, you'd think they had no business staying in. That alone could be considered a victory. The Sharks are often accused to tuning out, sitting back and not playing with heart and grit. They have shown they have heart and grit this season, though it hasn't always resulted in a W. And maybe the high standard set in the beginning of the season are the true root of all our insecurities this season. We didn't want to fall from the top, we didn't want to be seen as human, and now we are.

The hockey season is long and full of glorious highs and heartbreaking bumps in the road. To write it off in February seems suspect. Is this a slump? Maybe, but if it is, it's not the worst we've ever seen and it won't be the last. We knew these days would come, all we can do is wait them out and try to enjoy the ride.


Kerri said...

Hearing a Sharks fan complain about a slump is like hearing a Paris Hilton complaining about an overpriced hamburger.

:-P I'm just playing with you, you privileged San Jose girls, who know little about pain (this season, anyway).

The Rangers lost 5 in a row, came back to win one game in OT, and then lost again. And in about two hours from now, they will play the Flyers on national TV on NBC. They are 0-3 with NBC games, and it's the Flyers, so I think we can safely call this one a loss, too. THAT'S a slump.

How the mighty have fallen, though, hm? Boston's been struggling too. Montreal has been just as bad as the Rangers, to my dismay.

The struggles of playoff hunt are upon us :-(.

Gray said...

We have been very privileged this season, but that set high expectations. Double edged sword. But then I remember the season we nearly slumped our way out of the 8th spot and this season is instantly in perspective. Well, mostly. ;)

0-3 on NBC? Maybe we Sharks fans should be happy we got the boot of NBC in favor of a east coast match up.

Kerri said...

Let me correct. We're 0-4 on NBC this season, and we're currently down... get this, FIVE one, one of which was a shorty on a 5 on 3. Which makes us 0-5 on NBC this season. Love getting embarassed on national television.

Just yeah. What about slumping again? This will be eight losses in nine games.

You're right though; Boston just lost like 3 or 4 in a row. That's got of feel as bad as the Rangers going 8 losses out of 9... right?

I'm sure the Sharks will recover. The real question is if they're going to blow it when they get to the playoffs.

Gray said...

That's the main question. Most Sharks fans are pessimistic enough to say "yes". I plan to wait and see. The problem is that for the Sharks, blowing it is anything short of a Cup. Those are some high standards. (Though the team had a hand in setting those, so I can't fully blame media hype)

I saw that shorty. Painful. There's no other way to describe it. I felt bad for the Rangers and their fans just watching that.

Kerri said...

Oh, there are other ways to describe it that 5 on 3 shorty. It would just be inappropriate to do so here. :-D. What do you expect, from the team that has let up the most shorthanded goals (14? or 15?) this season? We play tomorrow night, too, on VRS, just in case you were interested in watching the Rangers get blown out again. The NHL just loves to get those Rangers on nationally.

Don't feel bad for the Rangers. Never feel bad for overpriced veterans who have no understanding of accountability. Who just take their paycheck and walk away. For a coach that doesn't do one thing to fix the problems smacking them in the face. They don't deserve sympathy... the organization needs an overhaul starting with ownership, IMO. Then again, I'm bitter.

My boyfriend is actually an Islanders fan, but he watches the Sharks in his spare time... so I hear enough about San Jose's ups and downs. (Mostly ups, of course). Being that the Islanders are on a permanent down... he devotes more time than usual to San Jose. Of course the playoffs are such a different animal than the regular season, in some cases it completely doesn't matter how well a team plays before the post season. Besides the obvious no 4 on 4 OT or shootouts, punishment is different, reffing is different, playing different styles and strategies... so, yeah, anything short of a Cup WOULD be a disappointment for San Jose, anything can happen and those with the best records don't always play like it come May. Plus... for Boston or the Red Wings (or Montreal, considering the celebrations) to walk away with the Cup would all be disappointments.

k.m.stiles said...

Hearing a Sharks fan complain about a slump is like hearing a Paris Hilton complaining about an overpriced hamburger.


slumps are always frustrating, but at least the Sharks are going to make the playoffs! And besides, it'll probably only make them turn things around and make a strong finish, setting them up for a good first round.