The San Jose Sharks are coming off their worst stretch of the season and still things don’t appear that bad. Despite a 4-2-4 mark in their last 10 games and only one win in their last seven, it’s not like the bottom has fallen out of the Sharks ship.
Team Teal was ravaged by injuries and sickness during their recent five-game trip, yet still got five points. That wasn’t the plan, but given the situation, all one can do is look at the positive.
“I look at the bright side,” goaltender Brian Boucher said. “We went 1-1-3, but we got points in all but one game. It’s not what we set out to do, but we still got points.”
“It was our longest trip of the year and we played some very good teams,” Assistant Coach Todd Richards said. “We finished .500 and we’re disappointed, but we had a chance to win every game. We had a lot of injuries and illness. It affected a lot of players, but give them credit for playing through it. You have to give some credit to the other teams.”
Most of the Sharks had Monday off as the team returns to action tomorrow with the beginning of a three-game home stand. Hopefully, the day off will rejuvenate the team.
“We want to get healthy,” Boucher said. “We had a sickness going around the team and then we were all on the same plane together. It was next to impossible to get the results we wanted on the trip. We’ll get healthy and get rolling on all cylinders.”
Despite the recent slide, San Jose still leads the Western Conference by a point over Detroit and has three games in hand. As for the Presidents’ Trophy, the Sharks trail Boston by three points, but has three games in hand and a better winning percentage.
“We still want to be playing our best hockey down the stretch,” Boucher said. “At the end of the day, you have to look at the big picture.”
San Jose is one of the most experienced teams in the National Hockey League. The veterans know the season is a marathon, not a sprint. So, there’s no panic. Besides, a little adversity now can be a benefit later.
“The hills and peaks don’t define a team,” Assistant Coach Jay Woodcroft said. “It’s the valleys and how you get through them. A little adversity can bring a team together.”
There’s always the risk of a slow game when a team returns from a long road trip and the staff hopes the club will come out ready on Tuesday against Edmonton.
“Sometimes when you come home, you lose the edge,” Richards said. “You let your guard down a and little and we have to stay away from that.”
NEXT GAME San Jose will begin brief three-game homestand on Tuesday when the Edmonton Oilers come to HP Pavilion. The 7:30 p.m. contest will be available on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office or at www.ticketmaster.com.