The answer to your most common question can be handled by Sharks assistant, Jay Woodcroft.
"I think our players fully understand where we're at," said Woodcroft who has co-commanded the team behind the bench for the last 3 games in the absence of head coach Todd McLellan.
It's a San Jose club that now has 18 contests left in the regular season, has fallen to 8th in the Western Conference standings, and has been unable to win two in a row for more than a month's time. The lack of consistent results has given Sharks players a clear-cut emotion:
"Urgency," Dan Boyle told me. "I think urgency. We're in a fight here; we're in a battle. It's going to be tough, the last 10 games, it's all Pacific teams in our division, and everyone's got a crack at this thing."
The standings are pretty easy for Sharks players to be updated on... since they are posted prominently inside the team's player lounges, both at HP Pavilion and the practice rink.
"Certainly if you look at the standings board in the Western Conference its real tight," Woodcroft admits. "That provides all the motivation our team needs."
We are obviously in a funk," Douglas Murray said after the team's most recent loss on Saturday night. "We need to get out of it. We have to work hard, it is the same old clich, but we just have to get it going.
Hard to think Logan Couture is a playoff veteran at just 22 years old, but he is in the home stretch of his third career postseason push.
"Nothing's guaranteed right now," Couture said. "Where we're at in the standings, two points behind Phoenix with a bunch of teams on our tail to make the playoffs. So we need to approach every game with the sense of urgency that we need to win."
Getting to the playoffs has become almost an assumed lock amongst San Jose faithful, as the Sharks have qualified each of the last seven seasons. However there remains a little less comfort in how their invitation to the postseason will play out this time around.
"It seemed like it was always the race for 1, 2 or 3," Ryane Clowe told me.
He has been a playoff participant each of his prior six seasons with the Sharks.
"Now it's the race to get in there. If we go on a run, we'll set ourselves up nice. But the important thing is that you dont want to wait until that last minute. We've got to put it together right now," says Clowe.
Antti Niemi, Colin White and Dan Boyle are the three Sharks who have previously hoisted the Stanley Cup before. Boyle has a specific mindset about this time of the season.
"The one thing you can control is your work ethic," Boyle told me. "Some nights the puck is not going to bounce in. But you can work, you can control that. With the talent we have in this locker room, I think if we work harder than other teams, we're going to win most nights. And that's the one thing we can alaways control."
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