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SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks are trapped in a coal mine with no way out, and are down to its last lantern that’s heavily leaking fuel from the bottom.
With its eighth loss in a row, a 6-3 defeat to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night at the Shark Tank, this team is closer to a receiving a high selection in the NHL Draft Lottery than it is to a playoff spot. Both Arizona and St. Louis won tonight, the two teams currently ahead of the Sharks chasing that final playoff berth in the West, and the Sharks now trail them by six and five points, respectively.
It might as well be 15 or 16 points. This team is lacking the intensity and desperation needed at this time of the year if you want to make it to Lord Stanley’s postseason tournament.
"Of course…of course,” said Sharks head coach Bob Boughner if he was close to losing his wit’s end on getting his to team to stop the bleeding. “It’s not fun. It’s miserable losing. The margin of error is very, very small. A lot of things have to go right to get a win, to get back on track and get some points.”
San Jose has officially hit its Jim Mora moment. “Playoffs?! Are you kidding me?!” The ex-Indianapolis Colts coach once famously blurted out after a regular season loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Having to chase the game early on has been the only consistent pattern the Sharks have had during this dismal run. It's pretty safe to say that's not a big part of Boughner’s game plan.
“When you’re going through shitty times, you need your best players to step up and make plays,” captain Logan Couture who didn’t mince words after the game. “I haven’t been there for a while for us. But as a team we’ve gotten away from our structure. Had some breakdowns that ended up with goals in the back of the net.”
On a night where Sharks players had their families watch them play live for the first time in over a year, not to mention a special pregame ceremony for Patrick Marleau honoring him for becoming the NHL’s all-time leader in games played, San Jose came out of the gates flat as the Wild’s Ryan Suter scored the game’s opening goal just 19 seconds in.
Even Mr. Shark had to pause a bit when asked why the team has not had enough desperation at the opening faceoff. But he believes everyone needs to figure out a way to be better if they want to snap out of this losing streak.
“I wish I knew what it was. Like I said, I think everybody needs to take a look in the mirror and see what they’re doing for their game, what they’re doing for each other. If you have five guys out there and one guy misses a detail, it affects everybody.”
One of the few bright spots on the night was Joachim Blichfeld scoring his first career NHL goal. Blichfeld was recently called up after going back down to the Barracuda in March. He still leads the ‘Cuda in goals with 12 and had been its best player over the past two weeks.
“Getting sent down, was what it was,” said Blichfeld. “Obviously, it feels really good to get back up here and get my first goal.”
While the Sharks fought back in the third period and made the score look respectable with Couture ending a goal draught and Evander Kane scoring his team leading 18th goal, it was too little, too late.
Nine games remain for the Sharks who are trying to plug a massive hole that could be too big to plug in time to save their season.
March 2, 2023
February 27, 2023
May 11, 2022
December 1, 2021
April 19, 2021
April 17, 2021
April 16, 2021
Right Winger Kevin Labanc after the Sharks 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on November 17, 2022.
Goaltender James Reimer after the Sharks 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on November 17, 2022.
Head coach David Quinn after the Sharks 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on November 17, 2022.