April 18, 2011RATTO ARCHIVE
SHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEORay Ratto
CSNCalifornia.comLOS ANGELES -- The level to which the Sharks are damned by their playoff history remains high, and one wonders momentarily why more coaches dont try to use that history as a way to jab them between games.I mean, Joe Sacco of Colorado did it last year, and it certainly worked. Until they played, and the Avalanche was disappeared.Terry Murray of Los Angeles is smarter than that, though, because he knows the game actually works. He took the Philadelphia Flyers to a Stanley Cup final in 1997, got swept by Detroit when the Red Wings were the best team in the world, and got fired.
And wasnt surprised. Thats just the way the business works, he said with a rueful smile. You dont like it, but nobody likes it. Nobodys ever liked it.Thus, when you know just how capricious the business can be, especially in the postseason, you dont tend to rub other coaches or franchises noses in it. Because your nose has been there too.Murray has been a coach for 14 years, has won far more often than he has lost, but the Kings are his third team. Things happen in the playoffs even after all the preparation and roster constructions and coaching stratagems. Players play, pucks go where they go, and matchups matter more than standings position or tactical wisdom.Thats why Murray hasnt made a thing of why the Sharks have never won a Cup, or even a conference title, or gotten to the conference final more than twice. Oh, he could. But what would be the point? What goes around comes around, and typically with a vengeance.The Sharks are a maddening lot on their own, without outside input. If other teams look at how their best players Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, Dan Boyle, Joe Pavelski, Ryane Clowe flit in and out of significance, and how they can go so quickly from efficient to inert.RATTO: Sharks put up stinker for the ages in Game 2 shutout
It is, in short, not their talent level (they have plenty, though with the usual gaps all teams have) or planning (they are consistently prepared) or effort (they try too hard more often than too little) any of the things that another coach could use to gig them, but their extraordinary inconsistency from game to game.The Sharks know how they are viewed without anyone saying it. Theyve been at the game too long not to know how to walk it. Theyre not as elite as they think they are. Theyre good, but confused on the notion of what it takes to be great.And all this coming out because of one game in which they completely lost their way, and their minds.We had one player last night who had well over a two-minute shift because he wanted to show his teammates that he was determined, Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Sunday. "But that's not going to help us win.McLellan is reaching that point in his stay where his players pretty much know what hes going to say and how hes going to say it. They must either do it or not, and pay the consequences that come.McLellan is one of seven coaches in these playoffs still working on their first job. The others are Bruce Boudreau of Washington, Dan Bylsma of Pittsburgh, Guy Boucher of Tampa Bay, Lindy Ruff of Buffalo, Randy Carlyle of Anaheim and Barry Trotz of Nashville. Only Boucher and Bylsma have fewer games on their resumes. But they all know everything they ought to about the playoffs, and none of them have the time or inclination to grind on about someones elses resumes.NEWS: NHL headlines
McLellan will not be fired if the Sharks do not rise to the consistency in the face of constantly changing conditions that seems so often to escape them. His position is not the issue here. The issue is whether, having been shown how easy it is to lose the plan, whether they can reassemble it quickly and re-establish control of this series before it establishes control of them.And maybe this will be one more example of how the Sharks greatest enemy has not been the coach, or the talent, or the planning, or the effort, but the comfort. Of thinking the job is done before it is. Of thinking there is a way to prove their value before it can be proven.In short, were just getting started.
April 18, 2011RATTO ARCHIVE