Feb. 17, 2011RATTO ARCHIVESHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEO
And so you have it another victory for the San Jose GreasyUglies, and like so many of the others this past month, it was about as pretty and digestible as broken glass.After all, if Dan Boyle can blame his four-cushion game-winning goal that wasnt even a second assist on those greasy forwards, and if head coach Todd McLellan can salute the teams 3-2 win Thursday over the Washington Capitals as ugly as ugly can be, and it was ugly, well, lets put it this way. The San Jose Sharks as a logo and a marketing device are now dead.
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Of course, theyll need some luck finding someone who can animate GreasyUglies, but the T-shirt possibilities are intriguing, especially in this era of squeezing every last dollar until it coughs up five quarters and a bus token.But this is a franchise that can sell a cat to a bird, so they can probably turn out a prototype by the end of next week, when their 13-out-of-16-game road trip finally ends.And it will have to be done that quickly, because as much as the Sharks say they are used to this meatgrinding, backchecking, three-zone-defending style that works so much better than their attempts to be eye candy, they are playing at the thin edge of the wedge.I dont know that theres a comfort zone playing this way, center Joe Pavelski said after earning his way into GreasyUgly fame by barely tipping Boyles game-winning shot with 9:11 left to play. I mean, weve been playing like this on the road and doing well with it, but I dont know that theres ever a real comfort zone doing it this way.
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McLellan, of course, called it making the simple plays, reducing the game to its most basic elements to eliminate the overthinking and search for elegance that left them adrift through the first three months.And he still is waiting for a game that he can sit back and enjoy, but it is becoming clear to him that there will be none of that. The Sharks have not won a three-goal game since before Christmas, and havent had a real walkabout since beating Ottawa 4-0 December 2.Thats how its probably going to be all the way to the last weekend, he said earlier in the afternoon. Its just who we are going to have to be until we get our big guys going.Dany Heatley got credit for the greasy goal Boyle complained about, his second in 12 games, but he was just one of four deflections on the play, meaning that the GreasyUglies actually won by a shot from the point that hit half the players on the ice before it got to the goal.But Joe Thornton picked up an assist on the play as well, and by most accounts the Big Three (Patrick Marleau being the third) were all fairly well devoted to the new Sharks ethos keep the other team down. The idea that the Sharks are spending 22.1 million on what is becoming a checking line is pretty damned funny when you think about it.But its also the price they all pay for fiddling away the first half of the season. Even with Thursdays win, their 11th in 14 games getting them 23 of a possible 28 points, they are still only fifth, a games-played differential below Nashville and a point behind division leader Phoenix. They dare not think of Vancouver or Detroit any longer, as they have lots of team already on their TV tray as it is.
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I stopped looking to see the other scores awhile ago, Boyle said. They change all the time. Its easier just to worry about us.So they do, in a more comprehensive yet less aesthetic way than they ever have before. They are the GreasyUglies, and they are only a logo and two slogans away from being a marketers Christmas bonus.And maybe a playoff team, too.Follow Ray on Twitter @RattoCSN