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Poised, Confident Sharks Ready to Battle

May 21, 2010 – 2:25 PM
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Christopher Botta

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CHICAGO -- At some point in the long 72 hours between Game 2 on Tuesday and Game 5 on Friday, the San Jose Sharks struck the perfect balance of calm and confidence, poise and passion.

Down 2-0 after losing a pair of games at home in the Western Conference Final, San Jose appears to be in the right place. And I don't mean Chicago.

"We know exactly what we have to do, and we have the players and system to get it done," forward Devin Setoguchi calmly said after the Sharks' morning skate on Friday at the United Center. "We're not happy about losing two games at home, but we're not concerned as if we're out of this series. Take a look around this room and look at the leaders and the skill players we have. It's easy to stay confident."
Blackhawks lead series, 2-0
Sharks vs. Blackhawks: Series Page | Full NHL Playoffs Coverage

Having experienced winners around like captain Rob Blake and Dan Boyle certainly has helped. After taking Wednesday to lick their wounds, the Sharks started to bite back. They laughed at the stories that rink rat Dave Bolland was throwing their star offensive players off their game. The Sharks were convincing in their insistence the series was far from over. They even found a way to spin the raucous United Center pregame atmosphere into a positive. As captain Rob Blake said, if you can't get excited about playing a hockey game in Chicago, there's no help for you.

I have been so impressed by the way the Sharks have conducted business since they arrived in Chicago on Thursday, I asked head coach Todd McLellan for his take. As much as coaches like to deny it, McLellan is very aware of what is being said by his team and written about his team.

"I like it," McLellan said. "I like the fact that our leaders have shown some passion and some emotion over the last couple days. It's certainly needed and wanted. Yet in the locker room, when we have our meetings, they're very attentive. They are under control. So we're doing all the right things. We're saying the right things. It's about now putting it all together and getting out there and competing and looking for the results we need."

Whether a team's collective mindset transfers to success on the playing field, you never can tell. But one thing is apparent: the Sharks do not look like a team ready to roll over and be swept. The Blackhawks and their fans are expecting a battle from San Jose this weekend. They will not be disappointed.
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