Clackamas County, OR
One for the Ages! Kings are Amazing! Skill off the charts! Jonathan Quick is God!
San Jose was playing in a seventh game for the second time in two years versus the hated LA Kings, only this time it was at home. They were outplayed, didn’t hit, choked again, losing embarrassingly on home ice 5-1. Dustin Brown returned to his 2012 form, at least for one game, delivering punishing, dirty AKA playoff hits on the Sharks skill players, rendering them useless. Kyle Clifford was the same, delivering dirty checks to the head, tackling players and although the refs called several penalties, the Sharks were impotent on the power play, going 0 fer 6.
Not even going to go where all the stupid people are going, up 3-0 blah blah blah. This was a tale of two series, games 1-3, and then games 4-7. LA adjusted their play in game 3 but lost on a flukey goal in OT. San Jose was outscored 18-5 in the last four pivotal contests, only needing to win one game to advance, yet were unable to solve Quick after lighting him up for 12 goals in the first two games.
The Kings deserve the credit for coming back, yes. All this shit about heart and competitive nature that LA talked about after the series win is just so much air. The Sharks could not match the desperation of the Kings defensive play. The style was to systematically target and take out San Jose’s skill players with headshots and punishing hits and then dare the Sharks to beat them on their anemic power play.
The strategy worked, Marc-Eduard Vlasic was taken out by the best of the worst for the Kings, Jarret Stool. Elbow to the head from Stool in game five removed the Sharks best defenseman from the lineup with a concussion. I’m certain that in the next few days the news will come out that San Jose’s players were playing with a variety of injuries. Logan Couture was repeatedly crushed. Joe Pavelski was the only one brave enough to go to the dirty areas in front of Quick, repeatedly getting slammed to the ice and finishing with 11 shots on goal. many of them great chances. He finished a -3 along with his buddies, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture.
Todd McClellan was outcoached by Dour Darryl Sutter, not changing the style of the Sharks attack to deal with the defensive stance of LA. His strategy was to play dump and chase right up to the end, playing into Sutter;s hands. He may be on his way out because of the lack of playoff success.
Where was the dreaded Raffi Torres after game two? Two goals in two games, numerous intimidating hits and then? Crickets…… Mike Brown and Andrew Desjardin, Raffi’s linemates could not duplicate the fervor and menacing hits that destroyed the Kings in the first two games.
Anti Niemi played well enough to win the first three games and stunk up the joint thereafter. The Kings aggressive forecheck and the skill of Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar made mincemeat of the Sharks fragile defensive core. Old and slow, otherwise known as Scott Hannan and Brad Stuart were overmatched by the younger Kings forwards. Dan Boyle is looking his age also and although he was only a -1 for the series, repeatedly was rejected on offensive rushes and could not quarterback the power play like he used to.
Bottom line, tough to be a Sharks fan right now. Downright embarrassing. As I put this tripe to bed, I will say one thing. San Jose has a culture problem with its players, its coaching and with its front office. All those regular season wins in the last five or six years has translated into 0 Cups and not even an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. They are so close, yet as the famous singer Carole King put it so many years ago, “You’re So Far Away.”