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Are the Sharks taking Game 1 loss too well?

May 17, 2010, 4:50 PM EDT

nabokovsad.jpgThe San Jose Sharks might have lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 yesterday, but they showed plenty of energy and put 45 shots on Antti Niemi. It would be silly if the team was in a state of chaos and panic after losing a game they played so well.

That being said, every game in the Western Conference finals is a big one. It is probably fair, then, that Cam Inman of the Mercury News blasted the team for taking the loss a little too much in stride.

Ho hum, another Game 1 defeat. They’ll get ’em next time. These things happen. No biggie. They played well, just not well enough to outscore their opponent.

Such dismissals are embarrassing. These are not just games on the ledger. These are the Stanley Cup playoff semifinals, if that is what they call this seemingly crucial stage.

The Sharks’ only other trip to the conference finals, in 2004, also started with a Game 1 home defeat. Then came a Game 2 home defeat, followed by two road wins, a Game 5 home defeat and a Game 6 exit against the Calgary Flames.

A couple years later, the Sharks changed their logo. They should do so again. Instead of an angry shark chomping a stick, the new one might as well be a cute sea horse biting its lip.

Harsh, but fair? It’s hard to imagine that Niemi will be able to perform on that Game 1 level for a lot longer, but the Chicago Blackhawks are capable of putting up a lot of offense on any given night too. With a team as strong as Chicago, any time you outplay them yet don’t come away with a victory, it hurts even worse than if that happened with … say, the Colorado Avalanche.

That being said, it’s only one game. If the tiny margin of error in Game 1 is any indication, this could be a long series. Now, if the Sharks go down 0-2 at home, it might be time to hit the panic button.

  1. Marsha - May 17, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    Niemi did an incredible job in net. If the Blackhawks stop taking penalties and up there offense this could be a short series

  2. M. Barra - May 17, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    Ask Boston (or Colorado, for that matter) how crucial game 1 victories are. It’s a seven game series, no one wins the WCF with one win.

  3. Peter - May 17, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    The writer has the Canadian disease of overusing the phrase, “That being said”. Hawks in 6

  4. Anonymous - May 17, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    SJ outplayed the Hawks? Five power plays to the Hawks none and they still couldn’t win? SJ couldn’t score the tying goal even with a 2-skater advantage in the last minute. It is only one game, but the team that played best won one the first one.

  5. Josh - May 17, 2010 at 11:10 PM

    12 pm game? If they played 7:30 pm on a Saturday it would have been different and we would have seen more energy from both teams. You got to be ready to go whenever though, but come on NBC, a noon game? You can’t show a game in prime time?
    “That being said,” the blackhawks didn’t look that good either. They had two soft goals, besides that the sharks really shut them down. It is going to be a good series and I’d expect sharks to win game 2.
    I’m calling 2-2 split with a pivital game 5 next week.

  6. steve levinson - May 18, 2010 at 12:52 AM

    San Jose had 5 power play chances and scored once on a lucky deflection. I can’t remember the first goal It may have been deflected. But,the second was a cannon shot from Buffy. Except for a couple of spurts the Hawks controlled the game. Hopefully the game officials will watch both teams and call the game fairly. I see the Hawks winning 6.

  7. Kevin - May 18, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    You are so right. I’m reminded of the baseball fans who throw around a bevy of statistics to state why a certain pitcher, or hitter, or bat boy is better than their opponents. What they fail to see is that the whole is not necessarily equal to the sum of the parts. The reasons why a team *should* have one are necessary, but not sufficient to *actually* winning. I admit – the Sharks played an amazing game. But isn’t this the WCF?? You’re supposed to!! The fact is, Chicago outplayed them where it counts… the scoreboard. Can’t wait to see what the Hawks do tonight. Go Chicago!!

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