Why Are The Sharks Again Post-season Failures And What To Do About It

The following opinion is mine only, one of an over-compulsive, very cranky and devoted long time hockey fan who is probably not thinking straight right now after watching the last horrendous Ducks-Sharks playoff game ! You have been warned :)

Short answer: Joe Thornton, but no, not because he is not good, but because he is relied on by the team and his style of play - read more to see what i mean.

How Jumbo plays and why it matters

Jumbo's game is all about holding the puck by the sideboards or behind the net and preventing anybody from getting it from him(he is the best at that), then relying on another player to get open and feeding him

On paper there is nothing wrong with that but there are issues:
Since Joe Thorton has arrived and since he is the "best" player, on paper, the whole team has changed the way they play to take advantage of him.

Before he was a Shark, the Sharks use to play more of a speed and crash the net game ex: Nolan, Sturm ... like the flames do now (Darryl Sutter style) ...

Personally I think the Cycle/pass game suited to Joe Thorton is fine but it just doesn't work in the playoff, you just don't get the time/space to make it happen ... guys can't get opened, puck carrier gets whacked. Plus relying on one guy to be the "hub" of the offense, no matter who he is, is having an Achille's heel.

Teams that win in the playoffs are usually Speed based or Crash and Bang type of teams, even Detroit ... they do a lot more of speeding to the net, shooting, screening and getting rebounds than playing the cycle style the Sharks rely on.

The sad thing is that the Sharks have good speed and skills and shouldn't have to rely on a dump/chase kind of game, that's the style slower/weaker team have to play .... but the sharks play that style anyway because it's the only way Jumbo plays and they feel they have to take advantage of that.

To me the failure of Joe is not a lack of skill obviously, but most importantly, his style of play just isn't a good fit for the playoffs.

So while I don't blame Joe Thorton alone as a player for the sharks failure, I say he is not the guy that will make us win in the post-season, especially since he seem so stubborn about not wanting to play any other way (crash the net / shoot).

The issue is the Sharks play a style DESIGNED AROUND JUMBO, and that style is not something that works well in the playoffs and it relies to much on him, which is bad since he can't keep it up in the postseason.

Marleau also get cited as a non-performer in the post-season but he is just streaky and his stats prove otherwise even though he is streaky.
I think playing with Joe is not good for him either, Marleau's game was based on speed, Joe likes to slow the game down.

Now i have to say I really, really hope they don't blow the team, guys like Boyle, Clowe, Pavelsky, Marleau, Grier etc... are not to be blamed much.

Personally I hope they can trade Thornton to a team that just wants to get to the playoffs(he is good for that) and we can get something good in return, maybe St Louis or Lecavalier, or even Kovalchuk we might not have a guy with 100 points or get the president trophy, but we will be better of in the playoffs.

The way Joe has played in this playoff I strongly believed the Sharks would have had a much better shot with somebody like Marco Sturm or even Nolan at his age, at least they play hard, and they play a simple style that works in the playoff.


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