Ben Eager was a maniac last night. He ran Daniel Sedin head first into the boards, he took more bad penalties than I can count on one hand, his yelled at the Vancouver Canucks bench, scored a goal and cursed out Roberto Luongo (by the way the Sharks were down 7-2 at that point) and start a brawl at the end of the game.
Overall Eager tallied 5 minor penalties, a game misconduct, did more harm than good for his team and for the most part looked like an idiot doing it…
And the rest of the San Jose Sharks need to get mean and angry like Eager if they want to come close to winning this series.
True, I didn’t like Eager’s antics one bit, however at least he showed some sort of caring on the ice last night while the rest of his teammates let the Canucks tap dance on their heads without any recourse. After a dead even first period Vancouver mauled San Jose over the last two periods.
The Canucks out shot them 25-18 outscored them 5-0 and forced six penalties that led to two power play goals and kept the Sharks on their heels for the rest of the night. What was worse was how the Sharks defense played. They were routinely out of position and the let Canuck forwards do whatever they wanted.
On Daniel Sedin’s goal that made it 5-2, he, brother Henrik and Alex Edler basically skated untouched in a 3-man weave behind the net while the Sharks defenders stood there and watched until Daniel Sedin knocked home a rebound from Henrik. The last two goals were virtual untested one-timers where Aaron Rome and Mason Raymond got open and had clear shots while San Jose’s defense was either shielding Antti Niemi or four feet away from the puck. It was embarrassing.
In essence the Sharks are playing right into Vancouver’s hands with their style of play. The Canucks are a finesse team that relies on their forwards to handle the bulk of the work and always push the puck. The Sharks are the way except I think that it’s safe to say that Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture are not the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler.
What the Sharks have to do is get physical. They have to disrupt the Canucks offensive flow and knock around their top two lines. Ryan Clowe and Eager have to bruise these guys up if the Sharks want to advance to the Cup finals. As good as their offense is they cannot keep up with the Canucks and have to slow them down. That also means Dan Boyle, Ian White and company have to play better in front of Antti Niemi and keep pucks from going by them.
If not then the Sharks will be going home in four again just like last year.
(Not that it would surprise me at all. I told you that I never have and never will trust the Sharks in the playoffs until they actual win in a convincing and emphatic manner in the way that this team is built. It makes no sense that a team with this much offense, a good defense and good goaltending gets killed in the playoffs year after year.
Is it Todd McClellan? Do they need different pieces? Maybe they need to get tougher, add more physical pieces, more mentally tough players… something, anything, because I think I speak for most of the hockey fans in Northern California that this is starting to get old and something has to change and change quickly.)
Even though I think Ben Eager’s antics last night went beyond the antics of the average NHL goon, I think that the San Jose Sharks need to channel some of that anger and get tough to find a way back into this series. The Sharks are facing another disappointing ending to their season and with the way things are going it will end very soon.
Maybe that’s why Eager was so volatile, he sees it coming and wants to stop it at all costs.