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Sharks Gameday: That Whole Yale Thing

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Once you taste the flavor ("It's a deep-fried taste!"), then you get the fever ("With a crispy crunch!"), then you've got the fever for the flavor of a Wingle!
Once you taste the flavor ("It's a deep-fried taste!"), then you get the fever ("With a crispy crunch!"), then you've got the fever for the flavor of a Wingle!

Pacific Standings

Phoenix 65 33 23 9 75
Dallas 66 35 26 5 75
San Jose 64 33 24 7 73
Los Angeles 65 30 23 12 72
Anaheim 66 28 28 10 66

(updated 3.5.2012 at 5:48 AM PST)

Jesus god, what the hell is going on here?

Honestly everyone can see that this is pretty horrible.You don't have to be some sort of genius blogger to analyze these numbers. Having a game or two in hand on the teams ahead of them no longer provides any reassurance at all given the Sharks' recent quality of play, which experts have characterized as "shitty."

What's the problem with the team? Everything. Seriously, all the stuff that used to work for the team has turned to complete and total crap lately. They've fallen out of the top ten in almost every statistical category. Neither of the team's goalies inspires any confidence. The Sharks can't play offense OR defense. Earthquakes and famines ravage the land, kingdoms are rising up against kingdoms, and spade is writing for the blog.

Truly these are the end times.

After the jump I promise you I have some good news.

When we last checked in with Hong Kong financier Mr. Peter CHANG Lee, he had admitted that 1) he occasionally lies and 2) he doesn't like hockey. This shook me to my very core, so I wrote him a reply asking him to give hockey a chance.

Mr. Lee quickly replied:

Dear Nolan,
It is nice reading from you again after a very long while, just when i was thinking that i was not going to hear from you again did i received your emails.
How are you finding your new home in California? as per your advice, I will sure give hockey a chance and watch a game to see how it goes.
Below are the required information needed from you, to enable the Attorney prepare all documents of claim in your favour.

1, Full names:
2, Private phone number:
3, Current residential address:
4, Occupation:
Do have a blessed weekend, while i look forward to read from you promptly.

Best Regards,
Mr.Peter C.Lee.

Hooray! He's going to watch a hockey game!

Now if I were a pessimist I might mention that since Mr. Lee admitted to sometimes lying in his last e-mail he might very well be lying about giving hockey a chance - but if I were a pessimist I would never have responded to Mr. Lee's offer in the first place, and I wouldn't be well on my way to earning half of 19 millions United State dollars.

Optimism is key! Positivity!

On that note, I'll offer you something which may actually be able to inspire some hope. The Sharks are still leading the league in average shots per game. The other teams in the top ten are, in order, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Vancouver, Colorado, Ottawa, and St. Louis. Aside from Colorado, all of these are playoff teams - and this list arguably includes all of the elite teams in the league, aside from the Rangers, who are an insane 24th in the league in this stat.

Now shots on goal obviously don't translate directly into wins, or the Sharks would consistently lead the league in points. There is a strong connection between shots and wins, however, and since the Sharks are basically guaranteed to finish in the top three in the league in shots on net at the end of the season it would be pretty unusual if they didn't also at least make the playoffs.

I took a look at the top three teams in shots on goal for the past six seasons, to see how often those teams missed the playoffs. Here's what I found (bolded teams missed the playoffs):

10-11 - San Jose, Detroit, Boston

09-10 - Chicago, Detroit, Washington

08-09 - Detroit, Washington, San Jose

07-08 - Detroit, Carolina, New York Rangers

06-07 - Detroit, Florida, Toronto

05-06 - Ottawa, Detroit, Florida

So only four teams out of eighteen shot leaders have missed the playoffs since the lockout, and this hasn't happened at all over the past three seasons. A few other observations:

1. Fuck you, Detroit.

2. Todd McLellan was hired by the Red Wings in 2005, to manage the team's offense. The Red Wings finished 2nd, 1st, and 1st in shots on goal during his time there. Then he took over as head coach of the Sharks in June of 08, and the Sharks have finished 3rd, 6th, 1st, and (if they hold on to their current lead) 1st again in shots during his tenure. Todd McLellan is King of Shots.

3. Aside from the Panthers, who found a way to shoot a lot while still being totally horrible, teams that were in the top three in shots never missed the playoffs by more than two points.

There are a variety of reasons why a team that shoots a lot might not be winning. They could be bad at defense, have poor goaltending, or just be really unlucky. Over the past couple of weeks, all of these things have been true at various times for the Sharks.

With a renewed focus on defense, some steady goaltending, and a bit of luck, the Sharks can turn their shots into wins.

But it needs to happen fast. The season is ending in a month, folks.

Next Game

Edmonton Oilers
@ San Jose Sharks

Tuesday, Mar 6, 2012, 7:30 PM PST
HP Pavilion

Complete Coverage >

The Oilers are pretty terrible. Boy I hope the Sharks beat them.

Prediction: Did you know that Whitney Houston's debut LP, called simply "Whitney Houston" had 4 number one singles on it? Did you know that, Christie? (Sharks win 5-2, as their shots finally pay off).

My 18th-favorite movie is American Psycho, which I wrote a whole post about back in the playoffs, during another particularly dark period for the Sharks.

"You know, that whole Yale thing."