by Larry Levitt
SAN JOSE–The Youth coming into the NHL now has such talent it’s really amazing to see there’s so many teenagers and 21 year olds coming in here in the first year and they are not intimidated by the game or the speed or the pace and they’re actually holding their own. Of course Tomas Hertl of the Sharks is also one them.
The Anaheim Ducks are near the bottom in penalty kills but the Ducks are on the move and are in first and statistics can be skewed a little. When you have a very bad penalty kill and your not doing well and yet your doing great five on five, your playing five on five more than your killing penalties hopefully so there are more full strengths than making it up on the other end.
The Sharks looked pretty good against Phoenix the other day in a shoot out loss 3-2 at SAP arena last Saturday night the way I would explain this game they have moments where they fall asleep and lose their focus and those moments are when good teams capitalize on you and the Coyotes are a very good team this year.
Every team in the west is very well rounded but the team that the Sharks usually have trouble with the Coyotes being one of them is because of the great goaltending of Mike Smith. They took advantage of him in the first game when he was really off his game but when he’s on his game he’s a tough guy to beat. They could have beat him it’s the Sharks own fault they had some loses of focus and allowed some really cheap goals but it is what it is and they’ll take the one point out of it as a gift.
My biggest fear is Buffalo their an NHL team, yes they play in the east and their record is 2-13-1 so they’re really playing poorly on the stat sheet but their actually a pretty good team. They’re a young team they have four young rookies on their team that are doing actually quiet well. The problem is when the Sharks face a team like the Sabers you don’t want to mail a game like that in.
You need to go out there and play your game, the way the Sharks need to look at that game last Tuesday night and say “let’s use this as a real good fine tune to get our focus and get our system in place and get ready for Vancouver Thursday night” but you can not look past Buffalo. You got to play that game and you got to really bear down and if it happens to be a blow out then use your third and fourth lines.
If it’s not a blow out you really need to stay focus because they’re an NHL team and in any game, any team, can win on any given night. The Canucks are no exception but I don’t know if they’re buying into head coach Mike Tortorella’s system and it’s going at the one step that Phil Kessler and and the Sedin twins are one, two and four for forwards time on ice in the NHL. So the Canucks top line is logging a lot of minutes.
Larry Levitt does NHL and ECHL hockey commentary each week for Sportstalk Radio