There is no denying it, the San Jose Sharks are currently in their most dreadful slump of the season — a five game losing streak — and if the season ended today, they would miss the playoffs for the first time since 2002-03.
With a team still stacked full of top caliber talent, everyone has their own theories and even players in the locker room have different takes. Questions about effort/work ethic have been brought up by the likes of Ryane Clowe and Dan Boyle over the recent stretch of games leading up to and during the current five game stretch.
Boyle mentioned players taking the night off after a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings back on Dec. 27, and Clowe mentioned some guys on the team weren’t that tired after a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Jan 3.
Over the last three or four contests, work ethic has appeared to be much improved despite the continued losing streak. Recently, I caught up with first year Shark and 13-year veteran Jamal Mayers for his thoughts on the topic.
“No, I don’t think we have an issue about effort,” Mayers said about the team’s concerns over their effort. “I think we need to work smarter.”
Stark difference in opinion from Mayers about the group’s work ethic.
As for not retaliating on Logan Couture’s behalf after their star rookie was injured on Tuesday via a knee on knee collision with Toronto’s Colton Orr:
“He (Orr) didn’t get on the ice again. That’s the first point,” Mayers said. “The second is that it’s a one goal game and we need to win the hockey game. At that point we were down to 10 forwards and you don’t wanna put your team at a disadvantage even further. I don’t think the opportunity was there.”
And for those out there who don’t think the Sharks have done a good enough job in recent years coming to the aid of teammates, (ie: Raffi Torres elbow to the head of Milan Michalek) Mayers chimed in about his feelings in that area as well.
“I don’t know whose saying that, but that’s not a fair assessment from what I’ve seen,” he said.
Asked about overall physical play of his team and whether the consistency has been there in regards to the 50-50 battles along the boards:
“That’s probably a fair statement,” he said. “It hasn’t been consistent. If we had 10 more wins, we wouldn’t be talking about this. We addressed the different things we needed to address in the room.”
Mayers wouldn’t elaborate on what was addressed “in the room” as one might expect, but the Sharks have been stuck in an inconsistent funk all season. Issues may have been addressed in the room amongst the players but whether or not they have been fixed will depend on how the Sharks finish the season.