SAN JOSE -- The Sharks have been called a couple of different things over this past week and none of them are good.
Soft. Fragile. Pissed off.
Through an early chunk of a season that has been full of more lows than highs, San Jose has been in search of the resiliency that will help them regain their swagger. After another dismal loss at SAP Center on Saturday night, San Jose needs more than ever to take inventory.
Nobody can give this team its confidence back other than themselves. And the more they lose, the harder it is for them to get their edge back.
"No one in this league feels sorry for the San Jose Sharks. No one," Captain Logan Couture said after the 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. "We need to get that swagger, that confidence back, that we've had here for so many years. It's tough when you're losing."
The list of mistakes the Sharks are making to put themselves in such a state isn't getting any shorter. Even after a hard-fought loss on Friday to the Winnipeg Jets in which they played one of their most complete games of the season, San Jose failed to get off to a good start against Vancouver. Instead, they surrendered the first goal less than five minutes into the game -- a habit that has become an all too regular part of their game.
"You can't play from behind every night in this league and expect to win," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said bluntly. "And there's just been way too many nights."
From there on out, Saturday's game unraveled and San Jose never built up any kind of sustainable momentum. While it might have looked on the outside like the Sharks weren't doing enough, Couture said it was quite the opposite.
"Everyone wants to win so badly and you want to do everything you can to help the team," Couture said. "When you're in a rut like this, you really really want to do everything you can to help the team and sometimes that ends up hurting you in the end. But you can't fault the effort. We worked hard. it's just tough right now."
Couture didn't just reiterate that the effort is there. He insisted he and his teammates are seriously taking stock in their own games -- and not putting that blame on each other.
"There's no blame game going on in the room, at all," Couture said. "Everyone's looking at their own game. Individually we all need to be better. Once that happens I think, as a team, we'll play better."
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That better happen fast, because the season isn't getting any shorter.
"We've got to look in the mirror and be better," Brenden Dillon echoed. "We have a lot of time left, but at the same time every game that goes by is an opportunity missed."