Updated March 22
Isn't this a little early for the San Jose Sharks to lose their bite?
The Sharks have been a perennial powerhouse from the Pacific Division since the lockout, at least in the regular season, playing like an elite team until the playoffs arrive before becoming major disappointments.
|Evgeni Nabokov has been on the skids since the Olympics. (US Presswire)|
San Jose has essentially come unglued since the Olympic break ended and the team's league-high eight participants returned. The Sharks have gone 3-6-1 and have been dominated in many games, squandering a 12-point lead in its division and a four-point lead in the Western Conference in the process.
"There's something missing right now and we're going to have to figure out what it is pretty darn quick," coach Todd McLellan said after the Sharks finished the week with a 5-1 loss to Edmonton, the league's last-place team.
It was the latest debacle in a situation that looks worse by the day for the Sharks. Top scorers Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton have managed just one goal each during the losing streak. Goalie Evgeni Nabokov seems to be having a Tommy Salo-like crisis of confidence since his Olympic meltdown. And San Jose is making enough mistakes not only to lose games, but to lose them badly.
It's not a good sign for a team that has not gotten past the second round since the lockout despite averaging well over 100 points in each season, and went down in the first round last season after hitting the playoffs as the top overall seed. Still, McLellan said there might be a bright side to having some of the expectations lowered by the slide.
"As we've experienced in the past, [seeding] is not necessarily all that important," he said. "Quite frankly, if we're one of the eight to qualify for the playoffs, we'll be happy. After that you've got to make good on it."
Which would be a first for the Sharks.
The rankings through Sunday night's games: