Sharks Cooled Off After Hot Start, But San Jose Fans Need Not Worry

Andy BenschSenior Writer IJanuary 3, 2009

After blistering out of the gates to a 22-3-1 record in their first 26 games, our beloved los Tiburones (as Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy would call them) have stumbled a bit of late going 6-1-4.

However, I would just like to put some fans' worries to rest because the Sharks may not be winning at the same clip they were at the beginning of the season, but their still racking up points night in and night out.

Going 6-1-4 in their last 11 games means that they've only not come up with at least a point in a single game. That being the case, even if the Sharks were to lose every remaining game on their schedule, if they were all played in overtime, San Jose would finish with 106 points. A point total that would most likely put them no worse than 3rd in the standings.

San Jose has picked up four points in four overtime losses over their past 11 games, which is equal to a 2-2 record. Therefore, going 6-1-4 is much the same as going 8-3. Now yes the Sharks have lost five of their past 11 games, but adding up the points, it is not nearly as bad as it sounds when you say they have lost 5-of-11.

Another issue to touch on for fans that are seemingly worried about the recent stretch of losses, the Sharks are still unbeaten at home in regulation. Currently standing at 19-0-2 at the Shark tank. Now, losing every game from here on out in overtime is the same as going .500 the rest of the season. Like mentioned earlier, if they were to do that they would finish with 106 points.

But, that being said, this 8-3 span is the worst win-loss ratio they've had all year, but it also equates to a .727 winning percentage. So to think the Sharks will only go .500 the rest of the way is ludicrous.

Even with some of the injuries they've had lately, their still managing ways to pick up the necessary points, and when they've really needed to pick up a W, they have picked up that W.

Some fans have asked why the Sharks have lost to some of the league's bottom feeder teams like St. Louis and Minnesota. I would point out that the Sharks are still 2-0-1 against the Blues this season and 1-0-1 against the Wild. 

Both losses were on the road in OT, and every team circles their game against the Sharks on their calendar. Every team wants to play their best against the league's best team and therefore, night after night, San Jose is getting their opponents' best effort. When that happens, it is quite hard for a team to win all of its games.

And for as good as the Sharks have been this season, they have not been completely healthy at any point all season. Torrey Mitchell, arguably the fastest player on the Sharks, has been out all year. 

And other players who have missed significant time are all-star net-minder Evgeni Nabokov, sniper Jonathan Cheechoo, speedster Milan Michalek, and energy man and future Hall of Famer Jeremy Roenick. Plus key members of the defense have missed games here and there including Brad Lukowich and Douglass Murray.

And the game Murray missed was San Jose's last game against Minnesota where the Wild really upped the tempo with their physical play, and the Sharks' suffered from not having their best physical force (in Murray) out of the lineup.

Yes the Sharks have slipped of late, but signs still show that their going to be one of the elite teams down the stretch and into the playoffs, most-likely winning the Presient's Trophy as the No. 1 team in the NHL

Of course, they're going to have to beat out the Bruins for that top spot but coincidentally enough they play each other in February. And if you are only watch one Sharks game all season, that's the one you ought to tune into.

As for now, Sharks fans have no need to worry.


Next Game

Sharks vs. Islanders, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.