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  • Writer's pictureHWH

From the Bottom of the Tank



Last week the word the word that came to mind while watching the Sharks was melancholy. Tonight it's morose. A 10-1 loss to Vancouver, almost the worst shutout loss in franchise history, smack dab inside the worst start to a season ever for a Sharks team, did that.


Look at that fish. That's a morose-ass fish. That's a fish that had dreams. Those dreams weren't even anything grandiose. They were mediocre. Those dreams were never about getting to the top of his fish enclosure or climbing that aquatic ladder.


Sure no one expected this fish (or this metaphor) to make it very far. But this fish didn't even try. This fish sat at the bottom of this tank and morosed its sad little ass off until everyone stopped caring about this extra-morosed, lifeless, spineless, listless, gutless wannabe Shark of a guppy.


I'm not a happy camper. God I wish there was a word for this sort of feeling. What's Vocabulary.com have to say about morose?

A morose person is sullen, gloomy, sad, glum, and depressed — not a happy camper.

...excellent.


Let's just run it down, player by player. The 2023-2024 San Jose Sharks are the most lifeless Sharks team I've ever watched, so let's check for some signs of life down this roster, sorted by points.


Tomas Hertl - Leading the team in points! Pointless in his last 5, and 5 points on the year. Quinn Hughes, a *checks notes* defenseman, had as many points tonight than the Sharks leading scorer has had in 10 games.


Fabian Zetterlund - 4 points in 10 games. He's actually trying out there. I have to give him credit for playing his game. Nice goal tonight. I'm determined to get the nickname Swedish Meatball around the circuits, so that's something I got going for him.


William Eklund - I think his forechecking and board-battling is much improved. He also cannot help it when he sets up a guy every game and they can't finish. Still, he needs to produce.


Filip Zadina - Pointless since the beginning of the season. Bleh.


Bordeleau and Thrun - Barracuda'd. Rightly or wrongly, they were spared this tire-fire of a performance.


Ferraro - Shooting more! He also has zero goals and is going to flirt with a minus 40 this year probably.


Kunin - At a certain point it becomes really hard to discern players. Kunin is a fourth liner on any team with a pulse in the league. He's playing accordingly.


Labanc - First point of the season tonight! HE'S BACK.


Duclair - I think his hustle is actually fine. He is snakebitten. He's also not worth giving up any asset for, so it's going to be hard to sell him off at the deadline for more than the Sharks paid.


Hoffman - See what happens when you scratch the Hoff? The Hoffinator? Hoff-all-that-is-man??? You lose 10-1. No, I'm just kidding, he's been fucking terrible.


Knyzhov and Emberson - They're fine. At a certain point it becomes really hard to discern players on this Sharks teams. Have I mentioned this? I do think Emberson has some sneaky value though. Good pickup.


Benning - Look man. Burroughs was on the powerplay tonight. He's like Benning but worse. Somehow this team misses Matt fucking Benning.


Burroughs - Like Benning but worse.


Granlund, Peterson, Vlasic, Carpenter, Barabanov, Smith, Rutta, Sturm - Pointless in however many games they've been in. Lifeless. Sturm will skate real fast into the boards and play a good penalty kill shift or two though. Granlund skates pretty. Vlasic is the worst defenseman in the NHL.


I said last week on the SJHN podcast that we as Sharks fans have to find the bright spots. We have to find the players and storylines that will keep us away from the dark place. This is the difference between melancholy and morose.


Tonight...nothing. No real substantial bright spots.


Tonight I had the thought that we're actively harming Eklund by having him play on this team. Tonight I had the thought that Eklund will turn into a shuffle up the boards third liner because he's used to digging pucks out and scooting it to a defender who bobbles it at the blueline for 82 games a year. Tonight I had the thought that even if Blackwood has looked okay at times this year, it means absolute shit for a future winning Sharks club, unless he's traded for an asset. Tonight I had the thought that this is not going to be a few years. Tonight I had the thought that this is going to be the new normal for Sharks hockey for the 2020s. Tonight this loss felt that significant.


Tonight I felt the bottom of the tank. It's cold. It's dark and there's this really sad looking fish babbling with a glazed-over expression about how the team needs to get pucks in deep and play their game to get back on top. It's sad.




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A messy rebuild is not a surprise. The 2023 season is really about being a contender down the road. Clearing out stuff the team doesn't need for the long run. Contracts gone include EK65, EK9, BB88. Martin Jones cap it remains at a lower level. Vlasic is down to 2 more seasons after this one.


The question is, how invested is Hasso in doing a rebuild right? Thus far, the results are not encouraging. Valuing cap space (a diminished asset now that the flat cap era has ended) over high draft picks is an example.


If nothing else, the start to this season probably ends any denial in the front office about where the Sharks are now. Recall when Grie…

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