Let’s face it. The Sharks stink right now. They went 2-6-4 in February thanks to some pretty atrocious goal-scoring numbers and have fallen completely out of a playoff spot. Something obviously needs to change if this team wants any chance at playing in the postseason.
So what needs to change? The coach? Player? Pregame menu? According the Sharks GM Doug Wilson, it’s how the team is playing. Per David Pollak:
“We’ve become a pass-first team in a shoot-first league,” he said. “Our guys have to change that.”
The Sharks are decidedly improved in defense and the penalty kill, sour spots last season and have seen decent goaltending in net. But the team’s one bugaboo since its 7-0 start to the season has been goal scoring. In their 12 February games, the Sharks found the back of the net just 16 times, just better than the scoring rate of Kenny Fisher in “Can’t Hardly Wait.”
Wilson thinks the team needs to put the puck on the net more. He points to two failed 2-on-1 breaks led by Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton in Thursday’s loss to the Red Wings in which the Sharks couldn’t even get off a shot, perfectly exemplifying the state of Sharks hockey right now. Wilson blamed it on the team being too unselfish.
A shoot-first mindset, Wilson said, “doesn’t mean we’re going to take your creativity away, but you do want to add the reality. These are the things you need to. You don’t want to dummy down your game, but you do have to understand this is what works.” [...]
“It’s not selfish to shoot the puck, it’s not selfish to get it to the net if offense is being created,” Wilson said. “Shoot first because that’s what’s happening. Get to the net, get to the blue — that’s where the majority of goals are being scored.”
You think that as bad as this team has been with scoring, they would already be trying to shoot more.