VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs SAN JOSE SHARKS
7:00PM PST SAP CENTER, SAN JOSE, CA
TV: SPORTSNET, CBC. RADIO: SN650.
OPPOSITION BLOG: FEAR THE FIN
Last night sucked, in a whole lot of different ways. Between the injury to Quinn Hughes, to the Canucks inability to beat John Gibson (again), to the Ducks getting two lucky goals and a metric shit ton of bad officiating, there wasn’t much to be happy about despite the Canucks being the better team all damn night.
Take a deep breath and forget about it.
Much like a frustrating loss against the New Jersey Devils a few weeks ago, the Canucks fortunately don’t get time to dwell on it, getting right back into it against a struggling team that might allow them to turn things around. Last time it was the New York Rangers, this time it’s the San Jose Sharks. While it’s still early in the season, it’s really starting to look like the Sharks Stanley Cup window has slammed shut. They’re off to a terrible start, and getting some unusually poor play from guys we’re not used to seeing it from.
To fill us in on what’s happening with the Sharks, we turned to Fear The Fin’s Kyle Demetrius:
1. Obviously this is not the start the Sharks were hoping for, so what do you see as the biggest reasons they’ve stumbled out of the gate?
The 5v5 play of San Jose has been abysmal. When you consider that both the PP and PK of the Sharks are near the top of the league, it makes the even strength play even more noticeable. They cannot seem to score or gain much zone time, and then when it comes the other way, it’s a goal. The defence up and down the team has been a mess. They tried to replace the offence of Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, and Gustav Nyquist internally, and that production hasn’t materialized yet. Finally, the goalies are still performing well below average. It’s been a complete meltdown in almost every area.
2. Goaltending issues continue to plague the team. Do you see them either giving a prospect a shot, or perhaps trying to make a deal for a goalie if there’s one out there to be made?
The only prospect they would have the ability to call up is Josef Korenar. They cut him after one preseason game because he was awful. He has however, been good in the AHL, but you don’t commit 5.75 and 1.9 million to your tandem and bench them. As for a trade, I imagine Aaron Dell could be swapped but the goalie market isn’t exactly overflowing right now.
3. How is life without Joe Pavelski going so far, and how important was it to have Patrick Marleau return?
The Joe Pavelski question is tricky. They let a beloved long-time, and captain, player leave but it was correct. He’s almost 36 and signed for 7 million per for 3 years. That’s a lot of money to commit to someone who is certainly on the decline. The problem is he had 38 goals last year. They need to replace his production, but signing an aging star and expect him to repeat his gaudy production going forward is foolish. Patrick Marleau’s return was awesome emotionally. As for on the ice, he’s been used for high time on ice and high leverage situations. Not what you want for a 40-year-old replacement level player. As the games wear on, and we get further from “he’s a point per game player” analysis, his value will become less important.
4. It can be tough to find positives when things aren’t going well, but is there anyone who’s stood out so far this season?
Evander Kane is absolutely on fire on the PP right now. Mario Ferraro also looks like he’s a future star on the blue line. And, uh, SAP Center serves Dole Whip now, so that’s cool I guess.
5. Can they turn this around in a division that’s already proving to be even more competitive than people thought?
I like that you phrased this in a way to not say Vancouver, but meant Vancouver (Editor’s note, I did mean the Oilers and Coyotes too, honestly- KB). The short answer is yes. The division on balance is still not great; Edmonton is already mired in a losing streak. I don’t think you can look at the pacific and say “well these teams have locked it up” other than Vegas. So yes they can, but it starts now on a not super difficult home stand of WIN-VAN-CHI-MIN and then spending most of November at home. San Jose is still very talented, so once they put it together, it will be back to business of the Sharks swimming near the top of the Pacific.
Thanks to Kyle for taking the time to answer these for us!
Canucks will roll with the same lineup tonight, except of course for Quinn Hughes, who will not play. Oscar Fantenberg has been recalled from Utica. From nhl.com here’s the possible lineups: Canucks projected lineup
Jordie Benn -- Christopher Tanev
Oscar Fantenberg -- Troy Stecher
Sharks projected lineup
Evander Kane -- Tomas Hertl -- Kevin Labanc
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
The Bay Area beasts for ya today with a live classic!