There's a real hockey game today? Really? Is that a good idea? By gathering together into one place won't fans risk falling into the clutches of the evil mastermind Deven Dark*?
Awesomely ridiculous cartoon villains aside, this is a serious day. The Sharks are still in 8th in the West, and cannot afford any more stumbles or losing streaks this season. There are only 32 games left in the season, and the Sharks are going to have to fight for every point.
If it weren't for the six "loser points" the Sharks have taken away from OT losses, the standings would look quite different. In terms of straight wins and losses the Sharks are an even 25 and 25, tied with the Avalanche. The Wild are very slightly better in that regard, with one more win than loss, while the Kings actually have 27 wins to their 23 losses - unfortunately for them they tend to get their losing done in regulation time. Maybe this off-season it might be time to look at getting rid of the extra point for getting to OT? Right now it's funny because it's screwing over the Kings, but in the future it might hurt the Sharks, and then it will not be funny at all.
All good Sharks fans have probably already seen the awesome analysis of the month of January for the Sharks done over at Fear the Fin, but if you somehow missed it you should probably go read that. I'll wait.
One thing that stood out to me from that analysis was Setoguchi's numbers. For January he was a terrible minus seven (tied with *sigh* Joe Thornton), but was also tied for the team lead in goals and came in second to Douglas Murray in hits. Clearly Setoguchi is getting involved in all kinds of stuff out there, and while his heavy minus shows that it is not always working out as planned, I'd say that I'm cautiously optimistic about his play. Earlier this season (and for a lot of last season) Setoguchi was completely invisible, both before and after his injury. Now's he's throwing hits and actually scoring some goals, and it couldn't happen at a better time. Keep it up, Setoguchi, and maybe someday you will earn my trust.
Tonight the Sharks are playing the Coyotes, who are taking even greater advantage of the extra point for OT - they have nine "loser points." They suck and should be out of the playoffs, so hopefully the Sharks will help them find their proper place.
@ San Jose Sharks
Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011, 7:30 PM PST
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Prediction: Sharks win 4-2, with two goals from the untrustworthy Devin Setoguchi and one each from All-Stars Dan Boyle and Logan Couture.
* = I've never trusted dudes named Deven**, no matter the spelling, and at last my worries have been proven correct. Sorry Setoguchi - you're on my watch list.
** = Not to mention guys with the last name "Dark." Call me racist if you like, but I would never let my fictional daughter date anyone with the last name "Dark" or "Death" or "von Doom."