12/21 dallas 3, SHARKS 0
Superstitions may be more nit picky belief than fact, but there really is no better excuse for what happened last night than the color of their jerseys. For the sixth time this season, the Sharks wore their all-black alternate (3rd) jerseys, worn for every Thursday night home game. And for the fourth consecutive time this season, the Sharks lost in their all-black alternate (3rd) jerseys. For whatever reason, jersey color or not, the Sharks failed to show up for a divisional match-up with the Stars in a game that left the players and coaches scratching their heads, and the fans booing their throats raw (wasn't much else to cheer for).
Marty Turco had to do little more than just show up, as he only had to make 20 saves, on very few spectacular scoring chances. Vesa Toskala struggled for the Sharks, allowing 3 goals on 26 shots, losing for the third time in his last four starts. Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, and Brendan Morrow each scored for the Stars, who were without Mike Modano, a notorious Shark killer.
On a night when there was more fight in the stands, it was a shame that there was none on the ice (at least until the moron chickened out). A guy (apparently a Stars fan) decided to stand up during a key Sharks power play late in the second period. Now, in the Tank, this sort of action is usually met with a few "down in front" style calls, but this guy decided to stand up in 209. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the insides of the Tank, section 209 is a section behind the goal that the Sharks shoot twice on, notorious for the "You Suck" chants heard several times throughout the game, and just generally a loud and rowdy bunch who are never afraid to be vocal. Anyway, to cut a long story short, this guy stands up in the middle of play, the 209ers and some 208ers start hassling him to sit down, and things escalate to where he decides it's a good idea to turn around and address those that are hassling him with, among other things, everyone's favorite finger. Another guy calls him out to go downstairs and fight, stand-up guy wimps out, and eventually the purple coats (well dressed ushers, with ties) escort him and his buddies out of the building, to a standing ovation from sections all around the 209 area.
Thursday nights at the Tank this season have been dubbed "Black Thursday" because of the color of jersey worn by the Sharks, but it would be just as fitting if it was used to describe the Sharks play. They are 2-4 in the black this season, winning by scores of 5-4 in OT (10/5 vs the St. Louis Blues) on opening night, and two weeks later when they tied a franchise record with power play goals in a game with 5 (10/ 19 vs the Detroit Red Wings). The four consecutive losses (11/2 vs the New York Rangers, 12/7 vs the Colorado Avalanche, 12/14 vs the Los Angeles Kings, and 12/21 vs the Dallas Stars) have seen the Sharks go up against teams that are slumping (Colorado) , playing the second night of back-to-backs (New York, Dallas), playing a rookie goaltender (Los Angeles), missing a few key players (New York, Los Angeles, Dallas) or just generally overmatched, at least on paper (New York, Colorado, Los Angeles, Dallas). The Sharks scored 5 goals in each of their first 2 Black Thursdays, and have scored 5 goals in their last four games combined, and have been outscored by a score of 20-15 on Black Thursday to date. Popular because of the, well, I'm not sure why they're popular, but I am pretty sure they are falling out of favor with almost everyone because of the recent failures while they are being worn (not the best advertisement).
The bright spot for the Sharks lies in the fact that every Black Thursday loss has been followed by a Saturday night win in teal. Number four of that trend is in their sights tomorrow night as the Calgary Flames come to town for a Canadian National Broadcast of "Hockey Night in Canada", San Jose edition (7:00 pst). Along with the HNiC crew is the return of former Sharks assistant coach and TV Color analyst Drew Remenda, who left at the end of last season.
Go Sharks (go burn the black jerseys)