Posts Tagged "NHL"

The 2013 Sharks Jersey Redesign

After teasing fans on social networks for days prior, the Sharks took the wraps off their home and away jerseys today.

The players are obviously excited
The players are obviously excited

It was a minor update, and overall, I like the changes. The shoulder cap was nice, but I personally think the jerseys look better without it–the white away jersey especially looks great without the teal shoulder cap! Removing the orange accents from the numbers and letters is a big improvement, again, especially on the white jersey.

The only thing that looks peculiar is the absence of any striping on the waist. The black pants is a natural break in color, so at least it’s not one, solid color. Apparently, a big factor in this redesign was players’ desire to lighten the weight of the jersey, which taking out the striping would certainly accomplish. I own the consumer versions of the black 3rd and the now retired teal, and the black jersey without the stripes does feel noticeably lighter. I never knew why the players chose year after year to wear the black 3rd jerseys in the playoffs, and now we know!

I came to the same conclusions that I see other fans have posted online. The only thing I’d like to point out is now they have simplified everything, while they may not be much to look at, I think they look great on the players in context with the whole uniform.

A comparison between the old and the new
A comparison between the old and the new. I think the white home jerseys in particular are a big improvement. I never liked the teal shoulder cap.

My subjective opinions:

Thumbs up

  • Removed shoulder caps
  • Removed orange around lettering and numbers

Thumbs down

  • Kept the superfluous chest numbers
  • Absence of any striping at the bottom

Icethetics has a good review on the new sweaters.

Conference Finals 2011: Sharks v Canucks

The Shark vs The Canuck

Quick Round 2 Recap

After Game 3 with the Sharks leading the series 3-0, I was looking like a genius with my analysis of the series. Turns out the Red Wings gave the Sharks all they could handle and more, bringing the series to 3-3 and a monumental Game 7. The Sharks got it done though, preventing what could have been the lowest point in franchise history, choking away a 3-0 lead for only the 4th time in NHL history.

But the important thing is that didn’t happen and the Sharks eliminated the Red Wings for the second year in a row, moving on to face the Canucks for the privilege of playing in the Stanley Cup Finals!

Conference Finals …again

The Sharks are in the Western Conference Finals for the second year in a row! This time last year, they had just disposed of the feared Red Wings in 5 games and Sharks fans like me were confident they would be able to eliminate the 2nd-seeded Chicago Blackhawks. It turns out we severely underestimated players like Niemi, Bolland, and Byfuglien. The Sharks were swept by the future Stanley Cup champs. This time around the Sharks are the 2nd-seeded underdogs against the President’s Trophy winners Vancouver Canucks.

The Canucks were the President’s Trophy winners for good reason: they dominated the regular season: 1st in goals for, 1st in goals against, 1st on the power play, 3rd in the penalty kill, 2nd in plus-minus. Despite being such a powerhouse in the regular season, they haven’t steamrolled the competition in the playoffs like everyone expected. The Sedin twins, scoring leaders in the regular season, are inexplicably struggling in the post-season: a minus-8 so far. The Canucks played 7 games against 8th-seeded Chicago, and despite expectations, did not have an easy time with Nashville. San Jose is a much better team than either of their opponents thus far, and should give Vancouver a much bigger challenge.

The Captain Joe Factor

The Sharks are playing the best hockey that I have seen them play since I have been a fan. Joe Thornton has shed his “No Show Joe” nickname, setting the example as captain with hard work in all areas of the ice. He has been playing top minutes and despite linemate Patrick Marleau having an off-series, the Sharks’ top line was the best line against Detroit.

“People have criticized Joe Thornton, said he’s not a playoff guy, but the passion he played with [in game seven] is just a clear example of what Jumbo brings to our team. He’s our Captain, he’s got to be our catalyst. It’s going to start with him. He worked extremely hard and it rubbed off on everyone else.”
–Devin Setoguchi after Game 7

Joe Thornton’s performances so far in the playoffs have silenced critics for now–and has earned him attention of a different kind.

Sharks, the Underdogs

Whereas in the series against the Red Wings, opinions were split, nobody is picking the Sharks to win this one. That doesn’t mean anything though. In years past when the Sharks were huge favorites to win it all, they have fallen flat, exiting in the 2nd–even 1st round! Maybe the all that expectation and pressure, now on the Canucks will work to the Sharks’ favor. The Sharks are in for a long, tough series against a team that is on paper is better than they are. However, I think the Sharks are actually playing better, and have gone up against tougher opponents in these playoffs, and I truly believe they can pull it off.

Going further, I believe the Sharks have all the pieces in place for a Cup-winning team: a captain who is showing he knows what it takes to win, a Cup-winning goaltender that the Sharks defensemen are actually playing for, an underrated defense that has been performing well recently, and a team that has overcome adversity and keeps fighting to find a way to win.

Prediction: To the detriment of my heart health, Sharks take it in 7 and go to the Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history! In their 20th anniversary year!

History Will Be Made

The Sharks earned a few more “History will be made” spots out of this series:

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!

Sharks at the Halfway Point

At a little past the halfway point in the season with the Sharks just coming off their 5th straight loss I felt compelled to jot down some thoughts about how the season is going so far. The season isn’t shaping up to be a followup of last year’s regular success, and for the first time in several years the Sharks are finding themselves in an actual fight to get back into a playoff spot.

Sharks in defeat

The D

As I wrote in my pre-season thoughts last fall, we all could see that the Sharks were not going to be as solid on the blueline as they were last year. I mentioned the younger D-men would have to step up and fill Rob Blake’s big shoes, but I didn’t expect our best D-men to have such a bad year. Vlasic, Murray and Boyle have not been solid defensive “stars” — Boyle himself is always the first to tell you when he has a bad night.

The Sharks are still missing that defenseman to replace or at least make up for in part, all that Rob Blake brought to the team. Besides his on-ice contributions — booming shots from the point and solid physical presence in their own zone — it looks like Blake had more of an effect on the Sharks than we thought. Of course he brought veteran leadership, but it’s now obvious that he had good chemistry with his linemate, Vlasic, who has struggled early in the season.

Huskins needs to contribute, especially for the amount he’s being paid. There are defensemen in this league that are paid half as much and contribute more on the stat sheet…which is nothing.

The goaltending was a big question at the beginning of the year, with the departure of longtime anchor Nabakov. I have actually been pleasantly surprised: Nittymaki and Niemi have both played very well–the Sharks have bigger problems than the goaltending…

The O

And as if the defense was enough to worry about, the Sharks forwards are under performing as well this year. What is supposed to be the Sharks’ strength, the best line in the first half of the 2009 NHL season last year is now mediocre — or worse — this year. Even though they technically aren’t a line anymore their individual contributions have been dismal. Jumbo Joe isn’t the offensive threat he was before for whatever reason. Marleau and Heatley disappear entirely for long stretches of games.

What happened to these guys?
What happened to you guys?

While Pavelski and Setogouchi are working hard, they are also having a disappointing season points-wise.

Clowe is having a breakout year, and much of it has to do with his linemate, rookie phenom and Calder contender, Logan Couture. The bad news? Logan left last night’s game with a brace and perceptible limp after being kneed by Colton Orr.

The 3rd Period

When watching the Sharks play, even if they have a big lead going into the 2nd intermission, I can never shake the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that Sharks are going to blow it. And the that feeling isn’t unfounded. The stats backup what we already know: The Sharks are the worst 3rd period team in the NHL. In the 3rd period, the Sharks are 27th (of 30 teams) for goals for, and 3rd in goals against! In an article about blown 3rd period losses, Fear the Fin puts it plainly:

From a winning percentage standpoint, San Jose sits at .762%, 27th in the NHL. St. Louis, Edmonton, and the New York Islanders have worse winning percentages, but have gone into the third period with a lead in far less games than the Sharks. No matter which way you decide to slice up the numbers, the returns are clearly lacking.

The State of the Sharks

The result? After 42 games, the Sharks are the 11th seed in the conference. If the playoffs were today, they Sharks would be out of the post-season for the first time since 2003, and only the second time in 12 years. The bad thing is that it looks as though the Sharks are no longer the elite status team they have been in past years. They’re no longer that feared date on an opposing team’s schedule.

So what should be done? I don’t know if anything can be done. Fans are calling for trading the big three or the firing of Todd McClellan or even Doug Wilson, but I don’t see any of that happening.

The big three are locked up with no-trade and no-movement clauses, and even if they waived it, we wouldn’t like what we got back. Would we really be happy with the reverse of the Joe Thornton or Dany Heatley trade? We have to remember that they, along with the team as a whole, are in a slump. Careers, like a hockey game, are filled with ups and downs and shifts in momentum. The big three are still among the top players in the NHL.

Fire McClellan for what? For the President’s Trophy in 2008 and the Conference Finals last year (losing to the eventual Cup champs)? And Doug Wilson is widely-regarded as one of the elite GM’s in the league. We could do a lot worse.

So the only thing it seems, is to wait, and let the losing streak shake out — at least until the off-season, when big changes are easier.

The trade-deadline is looming, and there might be help coming. I think the Sharks could look to move Setogouchi for a solid defenseman. Seto’s young and still has great trade value despite his off-year this year, and the Sharks need help on the blueline more than on offense.

The Bottom Line

It sounds hopeless, but the good thing is that there’s plenty of time to turn things around. The Western Conference is still so close that Sharks can easily move up with just a handful of wins. Since they moved from 4th to 11th with 5 losses, it looks as though a win or loss is worth 1 place in the standings if the other teams cooperate. They come out of their funk and they’ll end up with a spot in the playoffs. When they start playing to their ability, I still think they are a better team than Minnesota, Phoenix, Anaheim, Colorado–even Chicago, all of whom are currently higher in the standings.

Since I’ve been a Sharks fan they have always been a great regular season team, and are expected to top their division and be in the top 4 of the conference. In past seasons …say 2008, their top spot made them a little too comfortable — and then they get ambushed by the 8th seeded Ducks.

Jamie Baker did say one thing that I thought was somewhat of a silver lining — the way the season is shaping up, this will force the Sharks to play “playoff hockey” in February and March in order to earn their place in the playoffs. That might carry-over into the playoffs and make them a better post-season team. Think Philadelphia last year, who only made the playoffs in their last regular season game. They carried over that play into the playoffs and earned a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.

The second-half of the 2010-2011 season will either be the most disappointing season in several years, or an inspiring rally back to the top. Let’s hope it’s the latter.

Sharks Games with the Cousins

This December was especially merry because Daniel and Lisa brought back their tradition of going to a Sharks as a group for their birthdays! I always look forward to these outings, because when we are a group, we become the best of fans.

Witness this video Lem took from the Sharks’ 2006 come-from-behind win against the Ducks of all opponents..

Daniel and Lisa’s 2010 birthday game did not disappoint, as you can see from the photos, but we also managed to re-create some of the magic from 2006 with this glorious video of the Sharks coming from a 1-goal deficit to destroy the Coyotes.

PIZZA!

(Thanks cousin Mac, for some of the video footage)

Thanks for the fun night, DL! Looking forward to next year!

Fantasy Hockey!

When Oliver asked me to join his fantasy basketball league and then suggested we start a fantasy hockey league, I thought, hey, why not? I have never participated in a fantasy league of any kind before and all of a sudden I’m in a basketball league and the commish of a hockey one.

Unfortunately, Yahoo’s fantasy league isn’t the easiest UI to navigate, but that’s probably more because of the sheer amount of information you have to traverse. I’ve gotten some questions about how it all works from guys in our league, and Yahoo has a huge help section, but I thought it might be nice to have real-world examples…like, our own league.

One-day into our season, and here’s what I’ve found out so far…

The Scoring

Whoever’s team is beating the other in a given category are awarded one point. You can see who gets the point in the column by the number in bold.

Scoring

The official Head-to-head scoring explanation from Yahoo.

BUT, the scoring per day isn’t quite a good indicator of who’s winning, since not every player plays every day. For example, in matchup between Failure is an Option and DHunt’s Team below, it looks as if DHunt’s Team is killing, but in reality, he had 2 players Monday, while Failure is an Option had none. Since 1 is better than none, of course DHunt’s Team is going to amass better stats in every category.

Scoring

The score will even out for their matchup the following day when Failure is an Option has 4 players with games that night, and the final scores will be at the end of the week, Saturday night.

Getting the Most Out of Your Players

Every team has 4 bench players (1 being a goaltender), the slot denoted BN. Stats from players on the bench don’t count towards your score, so you will want to move them off the bench and into their position slot, replacing anyone who isn’t going to be playing that day.

So in this example, I have Getzlaf on the bench, and since he has a game tonight, I will want to move him into Koivu’s spot, especially since Koivu’s not playing tonight.

Scoring

(When you’re done editing a lineup, don’t forget to hit the “Submit” button.)

Since you can edit your lineups for future dates as well, you should go ahead and do this same thing for every day through Saturday, just so you can get the most out of your roster.

Also make sure that you don’t have anyone on injured reserve (IR) or has the day to day (DTD) status taking up one of your slots. Bench them (A.K.A. Kovy ‘em) or drop them altogether if they look like they’ll be out long term. I’ve found that those statuses aren’t always up-to-date or quite accurate, so do your homework around the web before dumping a star player.

I think those are the basics. Hope this helps. Any other tips are welcome.

By the way, my team in Oliver’s fantasy basketball league, the San Jose Sharks have an awesome lineup! With both Warriors stars Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, how can I lose??

The Problem with Soccer

The Problem with Soccer
A fine example of dive-based reffing

I’m going to say up front that I’m not a soccer fan. I’m also going to say right up front that I’m not going spend the next few paragraphs ripping on the game of soccer. This outsider only has one complaint.

This was the first year that I even paid 1 minute of attention to the World Cup, caught a couple games streaming, and even saw the last half of the World Cup championship itself. For me, what made it hard to watch was the rampant diving! It seemed like half the time that any two players came within touching distance, one or both of them would end up rolling on the ground clutching a limb and and/or screaming at the ref for a call.

Sure, every sport has their diving and notorious divers, but in soccer, even soccer fans have to admit that it is out of hand. Is this something that soccer players really want to be known for? Do soccer leagues really do anything to prevent this behavior? Why is a ref less likely to call a penalty if there is no injury? As a spectator, it was hard to have a stoppage in play so often because of a player down on the ground.

I played my share of competitive team sports growing up — including soccer — and I never witnessed as much diving as I did watching two games in the World Cup. I was always taught to play tough, play through it, because teammates are counting on you.

Now as an adult I play hockey in local rec leagues and in pickup, and personally, as a player, I have never and will never dive for any reason. Ever. If I get hit, I get up (if I can) and keep on playing! At the very least I hobble over to the bench as quickly as I can to get a sub out there to play in my place. I leave it to the ref to decide whether or not there was a penalty. It’s naive I know, but isn’t this the way sports should be?

I know there are many, many more people in this world who are soccer/football fans than my fellow hockey fans, so I guess my question is, is this really “just part of the game?” It just seems ridiculous to me.

I can say that in hockey, even with protective equipment, the hits are harder, much, much, much more frequent, and the players still manage to play through it. Notice that in this video, most guys who get hit — even by the “hardest hits ever” — get right back up to play:

And by contrast, I came across this video, and while it’s not really fair, it does illustrate the issue in question pretty comically. While these are extreme examples, lesser dives happen frequently in every game. Something is wrong there.

And oh yeah, I redesigned my blog.

Congratulations Sharks on a Great Season


From the Sharks website

The Sharks played well but were ultimately swept by an unshakable Chicago Blackhawks team. In past seasons of disappointing playoff exits, the Sharks didn’t live up to their full potential, earning their reputation as playoff chokers. This year was different. They rallied in the 1st round to beat the Avalanche, steamrolled the Red Wings in the 2nd round, and played a great series against Chicago, who proved to be the better team in the end, sweeping the Sharks in 4 hard-fought games.

Despite the sweep, anybody who actually watched the games – ‘Hawks fans included – will tell you that the sweep wasn’t indicative of the play on the ice. The Sharks outshot the Hawks in 3 out of the 4 games and looked to control most of the games. But no matter what the Sharks threw at the Hawks – and freakin’ Niemi, they just couldn’t win the games.

Congrats to the Blackhawks–they played a great 4 games, coming from behind to win in a couple and never playing dirty.

Before Game 3, when the Sharks were only down 2 games in the series, Tim Kawakami of the Merc predicted the Blackhawks would win simply because they were the better team:

It would be simpler and snazzier to conclude that the Sharks are choking now as they choke always, but they are not.
Nope, the Sharks are not losing these games to Chicago because of bad luck or regrettably callow performances. In contrast to recent playoff torments when the Sharks had the most talent but the least gumption, this time they’re just flat-out losing.

Justin Bourne of Puck Daddy, wrote about the Sharks’ exit from the playoffs:

The San Jose Sharks played a fantastic series for a team that got swept. With the pedal to the floor from the drop of the puck (for the second straight night), nothing they could muster seemed good enough.

Given all of this, I don’t understand is how people can label this years Sharks as chokers. Is anything less than the Stanley Cup “choking” now? Even with the Sharks’ great play, the Blackhawks came out on top – but there’s no shame in losing in the Conference Finals to the #2 seed. How is that choking? Especially when there are far better examples of choking this year in the Eastern Conference: Pittsburg, Washington, and most awesomely, Boston.

As any die-hard fan of any sport knows, you bond with your team, celebrate when times are good, and lose sleep over hard losses. Even though I would have loved to have seen my Sharks advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, I’m proud of the Sharks this year and what they accomplished.

This is a far better end-of-the-season post than last year, when I angrily wrote a post on the President’s Trophy Sharks losing to the 8th-seeded Ducks (before this year’s Bruins, that, my friends was a fine example of real choking).

I’ve updated my pretty graphic from last year’s post:

  • 1997-98: Lost to Dallas in the Quarterfinals
  • 1998-99: Lost to Colorado in the Quarterfinals
  • 1999-00: Lost to Dallas in the Semifinals
  • 2001-02: Lost to Colorado in the Semifinals
  • 2002-03: didn’t make the playoffs
  • 2003-04: Lost to Calgary in the Conference Finals
  • 2004-05: Stupid lockout
  • 2005-06: Lost to Edmonton in Semifinals
  • 2006-07: Lost to Detroit in Semifinals
  • 2007-08: Lost to Dallas in the Semifinals
  • 2008-09: Lost to Anaheim in the Quarterfinals
  • 2009-10: Lost to Chicago in the Conference Finals

Next Year…

Marleau
Paddy Marleau, turning up the speed
From mercurynews.com

So what’s in store for the Sharks next year? There will be the usual roster shuffling and changes, but the core will probably stay the same. The only big questions are Marleau and Nabokov, who are up for grabs as free agents.

If this was Marleau’s last year as a Shark, he definitely saved the best for last, scoring a career high number of goals and showing up strong in this series against the Blackhawks. A lot of teams would be happy to pay Marleau piles of money to come play for them. I hope he stays though–Marleau has always been one of my favorite players because of his skill and his humility (I can’t stand athletes that are full of themselves). He may have been questionable as a captain, but he is still one of the foundations of this Sharks team, a “franchise player.” He has done so much for the Sharks organization that I think that his number will be the first that they retire.

Nabby has been a great goalie for the Sharks for years, but now that his contract is up, I think it is a good time to look to find another goaltender for a different direction. I don’t believe Greiss is up to the task, so we’ll have to wait and see what the Sharks organization does.

You can bet on the Sharks making another playoff appearance next year and after shedding their choker rep this year, I’m hoping they’ll go all the way. Thanks Sharks for a great season!

Conference Finals: Sharks v Blackhawks

Sharks vs Blackhawks

The Sharks did it! Again, my prediction of winning in 6 games didn’t pan out, but I don’t mind. They beat out the Red Wings in convincing fashion (well, except for that 7-1 loss in Game 5–but we’ll just call that a fluke since the rest of the games were much closer than that).

Next up, Blackhawks. I don’t know much about the ‘Hawks other than we leapfrogged each other for 1st place a few times during the regular season. By all accounts, they are a tough team, and this series won’t be an easy one. But then again, I thought the Red Wings would’ve been a bigger challenge, but the Sharks proved me wrong with excellent play.

I realize I didn’t get this post up before Game 1, which the Sharks lost, but if the Sharks continue to play like they did in the Red Wings series and in the 1st period of Game 1, they’ll come out on top in 6. This will be the year we go to the Stanley Cup–I can feel it!

Semifinals: Sharks v Red Wings

Sharks vs Red Wings

Even though my prediction of a mere 5-game series didn’t come true, the Sharks still handily eliminated the Avalanche in 6, after bouncing back from a demoralizing fluke goal on a baffled Nabakov. The Red Wings upset the Coyotes tonight in a blowout 6-1 game 7, which means the Sharks face the Red Wings in round 2 of the playoffs.

As any Sharks fan knows, the Sharks have a bad record when facing the Red Wings. And in recent playoff history, I remember the sleepless nights of anger following the Sharks blowing a 2 games to 0 lead over the Red Wings in the 2007 semifinals. I had nightmares of game 4 when within seconds of the winning, the Sharks allowed the Red Wings to tie it (video)…and of course the Red Wings proceeded to win in OT. There went the momentum of the series, and the rest is Ducks history.

But that was 2007 and though it was a great Sharks team (grumble, grumble), it was a different Sharks team. Like Peterson of the Merc said, Sharks should want to face Red Wings and banish their demons.

The Sharks have a 2nd and 3rd line that have stepped it up in the playoffs, so if the 1st line could just get going, they’d give that rookie goaltender a nice barrage of shots as they did on Anderson. Thornton who has been working hard all series, should have things start up for him against the Red Wings. Heatley has had a lot of time to heal up, and Marleau, who has struggled so far, has just scored his first of these playoffs, so hopefully that was the spark he needed to start his more typical playoff scoring.

So tomorrow, the rested Sharks will play game 1 against the weary Wings, who are just coming off battling through 7 games.

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus

My prediction: Like this epic depiction of Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, it’ll be quite the battle, but Sharks win it in 6.

GO SHARKS!

Sharks v Avalanche

Sharks vs Avalanche

It’s that time of the year again, Sharks playoffs. There’s really never any doubt that the Sharks will make it in–they’ve made the playoffs virtually every year for the last 10 years (see my nice graphic), so the playoffs are when we see what they’re made of.

First up: The Colorado Avalanche. They’re not as good of a team as the 8th-seed Ducks were last year.

My prediction: Sharks win it in 5.

Come-on Sharks, don’t make me wrong! (Unless you want to sweep the series. I’m ok with that)

It’s Tough Being a Sharks Fan


Photo from sjsharks.com

Well that series was craptastic.

And a lot of good being number one in the regular season did you, Sharks. Put the shiny President’s Trophy on your shelf because you were destroyed by worst possible team to be eliminated by…in the first round!

I used to be a somewhat of a starry-eyed optimist, but I’m now joining the ranks of longtime, jaded fans. The stats from the last decade really illustrates the frustrated Sharks fan’s plight:

  • 1997-98: Lost to Dallas in the Quarterfinals
  • 1998-99: Lost to Colorado in the Quarterfinals
  • 1999-00: Lost to Dallas in the Semifinals
  • 2001-02: Lost to Colorado in the Semifinals
  • 2002-03: didn’t make the playoffs
  • 2003-04: Lost to Calgary in the Conference Finals
  • 2004-05: Stupid lockout
  • 2005-06: Lost to Edmonton in Semifinals
  • 2006-07: Lost to Detroit in Semifinals
  • 2007-08: Lost to Dallas in the Semifinals
  • 2008-09: Lost to Anaheim in the Quarterfinals

I guess no further commentary is needed–there’s plenty of that around the ‘net (a good rant by Mac, if you’re looking to read one).

Go Red Wings!