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SJ/CAL: Game One Plus/Minus

The crowd around me at HP Pavilion was on suicide watch (especially the guy who knew every Sharks player but had no clue who either Dion Phaneuf or Jarome Iginla were; he also had a nice penchant for air guitar and air drums during play breaks and didn't seem to understand that you should CLEAR the puck during the PK. Dude, if you know who freakin' Craig Rivet is but you don't know the way penalty kills work, you've got some major issues) but I'm trying to keep a level head about things. This is the first real bad game that we've seen Brian Campbell have and it was like having a time warp with the good and awful Sharks teams taking turns controlling the bodies in teal.

The good:
-In terms of physical play, other than the first five minutes, the Sharks responded well.
-Evgeni Nabokov looked sharp.
-Patrick Marleau looked solid from start to finish.
-Ryane Clowe was where he should be -- in front of the net.
-The Sharks did manage to carry the play for a significant portion of the game, and if a few things bounced differently, it could have been a 4-3 Sharks win. It really did come down to the fact that the Sharks were absolute listless boneheads for the first five minutes; if you could have erased that, I would have been ok with how they generally played.
-While Miikka Kiprusoff made some outstanding saves, he seemed to be caught out of position quite a few times, which is kinda out of character for someone that's as positionally sound as he is.

The bad:
-Joe Thornton was pretty invisible for most of the night. Milan Michalek too.
-Brian Campbell. Soupy, you're allowed one awful game per postseason.
-Kyle McLaren. I think everyone's recognized that McLaren's been a step slow for more than a season now, but he was directly at fault for a number of Calgary scoring chances.
-Alexei Semenov. Sorry Alexei, but you're just not very good.
-Over-passing. When the Sharks get flustered, they try to be like the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins with these stupid too-cute passes that always result in a turnover since they're not actually the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Also, I don't know if Mike Keenan got in the head of the refs, but the officiating was extremely loose on both sides. Sticks, slashes, crosschecks; I'm not sure why they made the calls they did for both teams and missed the 80 zillion other ones. Quick aside: I always thought it's really funny that "letting them play" means "letting them get away with cheating." Shouldn't "letting them play" mean "call the rules so they can play the way they're supposed to"?

The thing is, I'm sure we're going to get some blurbs about officiating tomorrow morning in the press. NHL playoff refs are usually overreactive before they reach some balanced level, so I have a feeling they'll be trying to call everything in sight tomorrow night, then it levels off into something that's a little more normal.

Well, we knew that the biggest thing the Sharks had to overcome was their own mental toughness. What better way to deal with adversity than to face it coming out of the gate? If the Sharks win tomorrow night, then this really might have been a nice wakeup call for guys who may have started to believe their own press.

Also, to the idiot Sharks fan sitting behind me heckling the Flames fan in a Rhett Warrener jersey by yelling "War-ren-ner? Who the hell is that? Is that your mom, buddy?" -- seriously, dude, Warrener's been in the league a long, long time and he's a solid veteran. You're the moron, and I give props to the Flames fan for biting his tongue the entire game.