Archive for April, 2011

Semifinals 2011: Sharks v Red Wings

The Shark vs The Red Wing

Quick Round 1 Recap

The Sharks got it done against the Kings, though it wasn’t the cakewalk we all thought it would be. After that series, I have even more respect for the young Kings team–especially Jonathan Quick who stole Game 2 and was down right amazing in Game 6.

The Sharks’ forwards did what they have been doing all season long–scoring was spread out between all four lines, and when the Sharks were playing their game, the Kings had no answer for the 2nd and 3rd lines. The Sharks showed a resilience I’ve been seeing since the 2nd half of the regular season, coming from behind a 4-0 deficit in Game 3 and clutch performances under pressure, winning 3 games in overtime. And we got 2 History Will Be Made commercials out of it:

Next…

So the Sharks advance to the Semifinals to face their arch-nemesis Red Wings. Unlike last year when I was very, very afraid to be facing the Red Wings, I feel really good about this matchup. Both are very good teams, but the Sharks this year seem to have the Wings’ number. During the regular season, they beat them 3 out of 4 times. In those 3 wins, the Sharks outscored the Wings 12-6. In fact, since landing the starting job as the San Jose netminder, Niemi has not lost to Detroit.

So what, the regular season is much different than the playoffs, you say? If include last year’s playoffs in those numbers, that makes the Sharks beating the Wings 7 out of 9 times. If you look at playoff history between the two teams, this year will be their fifth playoff meeting. Right now it’s split: Detroit won in 1995 and 2007, San Jose in 1994 and 2010.

I was actually at the HP Pavilion for the last game these two teams played. I was confident but my game companions were not. I brought up all the points mentioned earlier and how this year’s Sharks are pretty strong against the Wings. The only argument they had for fearing the Red Wings was, “but it’s the Red Wings.” The Sharks went on to win that game pretty easily, 3-1.

Just like it’s time to take the “choker” label off the Sharks, it’s time to shed this irrational fear that we Sharks fans have of the Red Wings. I’m not saying the Red Wings are incapable of beating the Sharks, but we Sharks fans have no reason to fear Detroit just because it’s the Red Wings. This year’s Sharks team can stand toe-to-toe against them, and if we don’t beat them, we’ll give them a good fight.

I think we’ll beat them.

Prediction: Sharks in 6. Big Joe has a great series, Lidstrom doesn’t retire after the end of the season.

More in-depth matchup analysis on NHL.com

Quarterfinals 2011: Sharks v Kings

Sharks v Kings

I love this time of the year: the Stanley Cup playoffs! Just like last year, I’m going to give my predictions for every round the Sharks are in.

The Western Conference was so close this year that even with all but 1 day left in the regular season, we didn’t know who the Sharks would match up with in the first round until the Blackhawks lost to the Red Wings earlier this morning. For the first time in NHL history, all three California teams are in the playoffs. And another first: the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings meet in the playoffs in a Battle of California quarterfinals.

It should be a good series to watch…for us! Sure the Kings have a cooler NHL Guardian, but the team isn’t the same without their number one and number two leading scorers. The Sharks match up well against the Kings and though the series series is tied 3-3, the Kings won 2 of those 3 in shootouts–they’re a great shootout team. Unfortunately for them, no shootouts in the playoffs.

The Sharks have more size, more speed, more talent, more depth. The only thing the Kings have on the Sharks is their defense and a dangerous goaltender. The only way the Sharks can lose this series is if they underachieve big time, and I’m hoping that they’re past that now…

I actually like the Kings. They’re a good, likable young team and I picked them to have more success in the regular season. When the Sharks vs Kings match was first announced, I knew how we Sharks fans felt, but headed over to various Kings forums to see what they thought. Most Kings fans recognized that they’re the underdogs in this series and was surprised to see that they also have a mutual respect for Sharks and their fans. Just like us, they absolutely hate the Ducks and Stars. Of course, this respect for each other will all change after this first-ever playoff series between the two teams.

Sharks in 5. Quick steals a game and for tradition’s sake, Pavelski dominates the first round.

A more in-depth analysis of the matchup at NHL.com.

First Season of Fantasy Hockey Done!

It is done. My first ever foray into the world of fantasy sports ended with a better-than-expected playoff showing and finishing 3rd overall:

Fantasy Hockey

I had a pretty disappointing regular season run, ending 6th out of 8. I made the mistake of drafting Craig Anderson, Drew Doughty, and a couple other busts for the season. But that happened to everybody in the league, too.

Then came the playoffs! Just as in real life, it was filled with dramatic upsets and even a loss due to a technicality in the semifinals! The Imagination Movers had a pretty bad draw for the 1st round of playoffs, squaring off against my own brother who was coming off a late-season tear beating everyone in the league and moving up to 4th place. He hadn’t even lost a match-up in 9 straight weeks. Needless to say, I was expecting to be out in the first round, so I was just as surprised as everyone else when I upset the LA Boots! Oh yeah, and then in the semifinals I lost to the 7th seeded Dhunt’s Team who then got clobbered by the T-1000’s in our fantasy Stanley Cup.

T1000's victorious!

T1000’s victorious!

We Know the Outcome of the Western Conference

And now we can use the results of the playoffs in our league to predict the outcome of the Western Conference, using the standings as they are as of today:

Western Conference outcomeThe unfortunate results of the Western Conference.

Surprisingly (and unfortunately for us Sharks fans), I see this as completely plausible, except for maybe the Coyotes upsetting the Red Wings. The Preds will continue their long-standing tradition of a first-round exit, the Sharks will repeat their 2007 collapse against the Ducks, and the Canucks will finally have their revenge and eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champs. They’ll continue on to take out the Ducks in the Western Conference Finals.

I now understand how my friends at the office are so addicted to fantasy football and fantasy basketball. It was a blast and I can’t wait to do this again next season after the Sharks win the Cup this year.

Go Sharks!