It's commonplace for a player to call a loss "bad". But on Tuesday, after falling 5-1 in Boston, Sharks' captain Logan Couture used the "E" word.
"At times tonight, you could say it was almost embarrassing out there," Couture said. "They were taking it to us for a lot of that game. And it hurts your pride."
Head coach Peter DeBoer took it up a notch and used the "F" word -- no, not that one.
"We're a little fragile right now," he deduced. "You can see that."
There's no denying that San Jose is not playing well right now. After falling 5-2 to a sub-par Senators team on Sunday, they closed out their five-game road trip with a loss to the Bruins that exposed every possible flaw in their game.
The Sharks are sticking with the idea that they have the tools in their dressing room to be a winning team. But they also know that they must turn things around, and fast.
"Games like that hurt, but it's how you respond," Couture said. "And we need to respond. It's been too long now. We've got to respond and play up to our capabilities individually and as a team."
After a five-game road trip that only yielded three out of a possible 10 points, the Sharks return to the Bay Area with the second-worst record in their division. They have a minus-16 goal differential and are rolling out a five-on-five game that even a lowly team like Ottawa can outplay. Even their top-ranked penalty kill was outmatched Tuesday night by Boston's power-play unit, and at the rate the Sharks are taking penalties, there aren't many extended opportunities for the offense to build momentum.
The mistakes keep piling up for this team. As Brent Burns pointed out after Tuesday's loss, "There are mistakes every game, but we fix them and then with other (games) come different mistakes."
To say the team's ego is bruised heading home from the disappointing road trip is probably accurate. But it can't remain that way if San Jose wants to turn its fortunes around.
"We've got to go home now and find a way to get that confidence back," Erik Karlsson said. "Until we do that, this is what it's going to be like."
Given how the Sharks played against both good and bad teams during the road trip, your guess is as good as any as far as how they'll perform on their upcoming six-game homestand, which features a full card of intra-conference opponents.
DeBoer remains confident, however, that the current team has the wherewithal to fight through its rough start.
"I don't question that our hearts are in the right place," DeBoer said. "We've got guys here over my four years here that have gone deep in the playoffs, to a Stanley Cup Final, who are warriors. I would never question their effort."
That effort must translate into wins soon, however, before the Sharks dig too deep of a hole.
"You've got to go through adversity at some point during the year, but we've got to start responding," Couture summarized. "It's been too long to stay on this route. We've got to start responding."