No question the players at the Sharks Tuesday practice were still focused on the 4-0 loss the previous night against the Los Angeles Kings.
“It’s pretty simple. My wife could have told me what went well and what didn’t go well and she’s not a real big hockey expert,” Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “It’s so plain and obvious in those games that I would be disappointed if there was a fraction of the team that didn’t’ see it that way. You have some nights where you have to convince players where they’re up to par. Last night was not one of them.”
Does it make the coach’s job a little easier as there was no gray area about what went right and what went wrong?
“We’ll know tomorrow night,” McLellan said about the start of San Jose’s road trip in Minnesota. “It should. They know what to do. It’s deciding how hard and how long they want to do it. We didn’t deserve to score a goal last night and quite frankly maybe it’s better we didn’t.”
The players will move on to the next contest and use the Kings game as something to remember.
“You have to,” Niclas Wallin said. “We played a bad game and that’s something we’re going to have to remember. Today is a travel day and we’ll heal up and go back at it tomorrow. That’s how it is. You’re going to lose games when you play well. Yesterday we got our butts kicked. We’ll come out tomorrow and ready to go. There are no excuses.”
Still, McLellan wants his players to remember the bad taste in their mouths from Monday.
“I think we have to take a little piece of it on the road,” McLellan said. “If we have a repeat performance in Minnesota, we’ll be disappointed. You have opportunities to learn and get better and I think this is one of them. We’ll see if we can do that in Minnesota.”
For as ugly as the players and McLellan described the game, it’s still just one game and the Sharks can quickly prove it was an aberration following a four-game winning streak.
“That’s why you love the game. There’s always a new opportunity out there,” Wallin said.
“I’m glad we’re playing tomorrow. I think the players will be glad we’re playing tomorrow,” McLellan said. “They will get a chance to redeem themselves. Expectations are very high for them individually and for us collectively.”
Video sessions highlighted the positives that came in the winning streak and will help quickly redirect the ship. The Sharks have won three of their last four road games, so this three-game road trip, which includes a stop in Chicago on Thursday and a New Year’s night return match in Los Angeles, could be a positive.
“We have to play well whether it’s at home or on the road,” Jamie McGinn said. “Yesterday was a set-back, but we watched some video today and we’ll move forward. We’re on a three-game road trip and look forward to doing what we were doing before.”
TUESDAY AT THE RINK
The Sharks gave a few days off to some players before traveling to St. Paul.
“Heater’s (Dany Heatley) got that flu that everybody else had and he’ll make the trip and play tomorrow,” McLellan said. “Pavs (Joe Pavelski
) has a lower body injury and is questionable for tomorrow. I would say doubtful to make the trip tomorrow. He may join us. Call ups may be in order.”Torrey Mitchell
will also stay home. Who ends up being called up will depend in the morning on which regulars can and can’t play against the Wild.
The Sharks will visit Minnesota Wednesday at 5 p.m. and the game will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.