Patrick Marleau Appreciation Thread
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03-31-2011, 01:03 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Napa Valley, CA
Originally Posted by
I could say that, many have already said that.....and now Nabby is gone for his failures. Replaced by someone who played worse than he did in the postseason despite being behind a stronger defense last postseason.
Be that as it may....yes Nabby could've played better, and so could the D, and so could the lower line players. I don't dispute any of that. It takes a team to win, and there were certainly more than one hole in each of those losing efforts.
But with so many early round flameouts, I try to look at the overall picture to see what the problem has been. If the Sharks were consistently losing 4-3 and 6-4, then yeah, I'd have been screaming for better defense and goaltending. If the Sharks had been losing a bunch of games 3-2 where the top guys are doing everything and are getting no support (as in 2004), then I'd be screaming for more depth.
But the Sharks rarely score more than 2 goals in a game, and the Sharks top players have rarely (or at least sporadically) been at the forefront of that scoring. Thornton and Heatley were a combined zero goals, 10 assists, and -13 in 10 playoff games last year against teams not named the Red Wings. That's pitiful.
In order to improve, one must have the realistic ability to improve. I don't see how much more improvement one could reasonably realistically ask out of Pavelski. Mitchell?.....His ceiling is only so high in the first place. Goaltending? Maybe, but hard to require a sub-1.00 GAA from any goaltender, ever.
But JT and Heater (and Marleau before Game 4 against Detroit)?.......LOTS of room for improvement there, even before you get to realistic expectations.
If the Big 3 go nuclear this postseason and they get zero help out of anybody else while Niemi turns into a sieve.....I will blame everybody else and blame the goaltending. If the Big 3 disappear while everybody else tries but ultimately fails to make up for their absence from the scoring sheet, yet again.....I'm not blaming Jamal Mayers.....not even Niclas Wallin (fun though it may be).
What I haven't looked at statistically, is the +/- of the top lines of opposing teams. If our top line doesn't score the same or more as the other teams top line, its going to be hard to win - I would expect. But if our top line scores none and stalemates with the other teams top line, thats where team depth comes in to win a series.
Thats once again why I like our chances. I don't think Jumbo has to be a point a game scorer in the P/O, as long as he does what he has been doing in the regular season with puck retrieval, winning draws, getting takeaways backchecking, and playing solid defense. Thats a change from past years when he didn't play defense like he is now. If he can just stop the opposing team from scoring, even if he doesn't score we are OK with the depth we have. That said, its not going to surprise me to see him have a good playoff for the first time really. He's working his ass off.
I'm guessing our third line is going to be the big +/- advantage for the team this time around.
And to stay on topic..... how about that Patrick Marleau. What a guy. I appreciate him.
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