Tuesday, January 24, 2012

San Jose Sharks: Injuries, Power Play Plaguing Team in January

If it is not one thing, it is another for the San Jose Sharks this month.

After an up-and-down December 2011, the team finally got back on the winning track, claiming victories in seven of their first nine games of 2012. That was soon followed by losing four of their next five games, which is where they are now at 26-14-6 and in a tie for first place in the Pacific division with the Los Angeles Kings.

But the hole keeps getting deeper for the Sharks. Antero Niittymaki trade talks and the need for more offensive power may be the culprits of a weary San Jose team. Even an ailing power play and injuries to Brent Burns and Ryane Clowe can be held responsible.

The injuries come and go, although the ones to Clowe and Burns have no doubt taken a bite out of this team. However, a desperate power play should take the full hit for the lackluster play the past week.

San Jose goes into the game against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday with the 17th ranked power play in the NHL, a far cry from the past years of seeing the Sharks in the top-5 and having one of the more dangerous games while a man up on the ice.

At one point within the last month, the Sharks went 5 for 44 on the power play.

Attribute that to the injuries of Clowe and Havlat, who have been sidelined for the majority of that time, but San Jose may never have the "real" Havlat, and Clowe is still waiting to be allowed back into the line-up.

Can you hear GM Doug Wilson on the phone?

The answer may not even be on the trade market. The pieces are on this team, but they are simply not performing.

Joe Thornton has just one goal and seven assists this month when the team needed him the most. Patrick Marleau has just one goal and zero assists in the last seven games.

After the trade deadline, things need to change with the Sharks because the current state of the team is simply not getting it done, while the rest of the NHL is. It starts with the premiere players on this team and ends with a desperate trade deadline pick-up by Wilson.

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