Sharks still fresh from last time they had Ducks over

3/20/14 in NHL   |   Mia781   |   953 respect

FanIQ | Sports Rumors, Gossip, Blogs, News & Discussion ForumsThe San Jose Sharks will have the chance to redeem themselves and retake the first place in the Pacific Division come Thursday as they will be playing the Anaheim Ducks and everyone knows this game is of highest importance. Sharks captain Joe Thorton said that the game held great importance and was the biggest games they were playing this season so far.
Sharks lost the last match against Ducks and their head coach Todd McLellan didn’t take that well. He confronted the players as to why they had lost that game and motivated them to perform better. After that the Sharks showed considerable improvement and are at a tie for the first place with the Ducks and only one will take the first place for the Pacific Division.
McLellan said that the loss to the Ducks was a jolt that shook him and made him realize that the game was way more than just trying to win games to stay above water but was a challenge that must be treated as such. With the loss, McLellan said that he got his wake up call to step up the competition and get things better.
"It was a wake-up call for some to get them to realize that it's just not coming to the rink every day and you get to keep your job," McLellan said. "It was a challenge to certain individuals to figure out what you do and how you can apply that trait on a daily basis and have an impact on the game.”
McLellan added that there were people still trying to see what to make of the game and taking losses as reason to grieve, not learn. He on the other hand took the losses as a reason to find the flaws in the team and address them.
"Some have figured it out better than others. Some are still trying to do it. But I do believe we're a better team because of that loss,” he said. “Where it takes us from here, it's up to the group in there to decide and to make sure we're pushing forward in a positive way."
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3/20/14   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

This is about as big as a regular season game can get.  First place is on the line but in the NHL...  So what?  Barring the greatest sports catastrophe ever both teams are going to the playoffs.  Essentially all the teams are playing for is to "make a statement" to the other guy.  Apart from that, in American sports these days first place is not imperative by any means.