Posts Tagged "San Jose Sharks"

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.

Sharkie Bobble Heads!

A while back everyone’s favorite mascot S.J. Sharkie posted a contest on both Twitter and Facebook asking his fans to post their favorite picture of him to win a prize. I posted this photo I took of he and Caleb during the FINatical Kids Club Skate with Sharkie event:

Later I find out that my picture won! Sharkie used the photo as his cover photo on Facebook for a week:

Sharkie bobble heads!

…and I received this in the mail about a week later!

Sharkie bobble heads!

Signed even! It should be worth millions in a few years. I guess I should give at least one of the bobble-heads to Caleb since he’s in the photo…maybe he’ll inherit them when he’s old enough.

Thanks Sharkie–love the bobble heads!

A Season of Sharks at the Tank

HP Pavilion, section 205, row 9, seats 10 and 11
At the last game of the regular season, me in our seats for the 2011-2012 season:
section 205, row 9, seats 10 and 11!

And so ends my first season as a Sharks season ticket holder! Or rather, season ticket co-holder. Chesney’s parents were oh-so-kind enough to gift a large portion of the cost of season tickets to us, so we split the two seats between the three families.

It was a great year of Sharks games! Because we had tickets to so many games, I was able to go with Chesney and Tayte, and have some father-son time with Caleb and Tyler for some games as well. There wasn’t as much pressure to get get there way before game start time.

We were lucky–out of all the Sharks games Chesney and I went to, we only saw them lose twice–the rest of the time were glorious victories and fun times at HP!

And though the Sharks made the quickest 1st round exit in franchise history this year (a blog post for another time), it was great to be able to go to so many games. A big thanks to Andrew and Brittany and Curt and Donni for all the child-care throughout the season, and giving Chesney and I a chance at some Sharks game date nights!

Season tickets
Happily divy’ing up the season tickets between the 3 families
Tayte and I
Tayte and I doze off during one of the more boring games…
Chesney and Tayte
Tayte got to go to a lot of games
Tyler and I
Because we had so many games, we got to take each of the kids at different times during the season
Caleb and Sharkie
Caleb happened to be in the right place at the right time to get some 1 on 1 time with Sharkie!

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.

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!

An Amateur’s Analysis of the Sharks’ Offseason

I’ve been so excited about the upcoming hockey season that I’m literally craving hockey. It probably also has to do with the fact that I’m taking a season off playing hockey myself. I eat up hockey news and even started playing NHL 10 again. I’m currently playing as the Sharks (of course) and in the Conference Finals against the Blues, series tied at 1-1… But anyway, I’ve been following the Sharks’ offseason exploits and decided to write down my opinions. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about hockey, so get ready for some hockey nerd-talk…

Blake Retiring

Rob Blake had a great, hall-of-fame career, and it was great to have him on our team for the last two years. His departure has left a gaping–no, monstrous hole in our defense. The Sharks to date, are still lacking a top defensemen for their top 4.

Boyle
We need another defensemen
as good as this guy.

Murray with Boyle and Vlasic with… Demers?? I don’t see any of our other guys able to step up to this role yet. The Sharks didn’t get Kaberle, they didn’t get Bieksa or scrambled eggs Willie Mitchell…maybe Doug Wilson has plans for a mid-season trade.

The Sharks made and offer on Chicago’s grade-A defensemen, Hjalmarsson, but Chicago put a stop to that, matching the Sharks’ offer. That opened things up for acquiring Niemi, but more on that later…

Re-signing Pavelski

The Big Pavelski could’ve certainly gone to another team for more money–especially after his great performance in the first two rounds of the playoffs–so it’s great to see that he has chosen to stay with the Sharks at a hometown discount. He’s a fan-favorite, and along with Boyle, he’s a popular pick for the C this year. Too soon that on a team full of veterans?

Re-signing Setoguchi

It took a long time for the Sharks to re-sign my favorite Asian on the team, especially when Seto expressed his desire to stay with team. My guess is they were using Seto as trade-bait, but when the free-agent market dried-up, they finally re-signed him. Only for a year though, so after having a not-so-great year, the Sharks are pretty much telling Seto to produce or else… Good news is this keeps the Seto-Pavs-Clowe awesome number 2 line together for another season.

Not re-signing Malhotra

We’ll miss you Manny. Manny did well with his time with the Sharks. He signed with the Sharks at a discounted price ($700k), and because of his performance–and the Sharks’ performance last year, got a whopping raise: 3 years, $7.5 million with the Canucks. It’s too bad we couldn’t keep him, but you can’t blame Manny for not turning down a deal like that.

Nabby
Nabby is sad. (from bleacherreport.com)

Hello Marleau, Bye-bye Nabokov

Marleau was given a new contract. Nabby was not. I really like Nabby. I really, really do. But after years and years of Nabby playing great in the regular season and struggling in key moments in the post-season, I just don’t know if the Sharks could pull it off with Nabby between the pipes. Nabby moved on to the KHL will be a very, very rich man.

Change is good sometimes, and the decision not to re-sign Nabby will be good for the Sharks. They have really good prospects, Greiss, and acquired two more really good goaltenders…maybe too many goaltenders now?

The Greiss-Nitti-Niemi problem

After signing Niittymaki early in the summer, it looked like there would be good goaltending throughout the season divided between him and Greiss. Greiss would finally get some much-needed games played and valuable development. Then along came the signing of Stanley Cup winner, Niemi, shaking everything up. Many doubted this decision, but Randy Hahn’s assessment, heard on the Dudes on Hockey podcast interview, is the best explanation I’ve heard:

“There was an opportunity for Doug Wilson to make the team a better team one more time and I think it was a good move. I think the Sharks are better in-goal than they were a week ago, and he didn’t have to give up any assets except some salary cap space…”

And I agree–pick up a last year’s Stanley Cup goaltender without giving up any players or any draft picks, and at a good price–why not sign him?

So now the Sharks have 3 net-minders competing for the starting job. Are they even going to let Greiss have a chance at the job?

Greiss Niittymaki Niemi
Age 24 30 27
NHL games 19 210 42
Record 7-5-2 83-79-28 27-8-5
Goals Against Avg. 2.77 2.98 2.32
Save Percentage .906 .903 .910
Salary $500,000 $2M $2M

Too many good goalies? That’s not the worst problem to have. Could be worse: we could’ve gotten Turco.

As a side-note, I don’t think DW is the vindictive sort of GM, but the Sharks making an offer on Hjalmarsson totally screwed the Blackhawks. In order to keep him, they had to let go of Niemi, as if they didn’t have enough problems to deal with. They did end up getting Marty Turco for a year, but he’s been a mediocre goalie in his last few years. Combine that with their losing a good amount of their Stanley Cup players, who knows how well the Blackhawks will do in the 10-11 season. They’ll of course still beat down on the Sharks though, since the Sharks historically can’t get the puck past Turco for some reason.

And that about does it I think. The Sharks never did make any earth-shattering deals, save Nabokov being let go (see what I did there?) and getting ahold of Niemi. Besides that, it looks like the team is going to be largely the same.

Lastly, check out my goal last night against the Bruins the Stanley Cup! Marleau uses his speed on a breakaway!

Those are my thoughts and I think besides plugging the hole in defense, we have a really solid team just like last year. Hockey season hurry up and get here already!

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!

Game 3’s Fluke Goal

Well I guess my prediction isn’t going to come true.

Are you kidding me??
From mercurynews.com

The Sharks lost game 3 in the series in the most wacky way possible. Boyle was flipping the puck around the back of the net for his defensive line-mate, Murray, and Av’s Ryan O’Reilly tipped the pass in the absolute perfect way that got it past Nabokov and into the net. Nabokov, who by the way, was in position to block any shot from that angle. The was only a inch or two between his pads and the goal post. What are the chances of that ever happening, let alone…in a playoff game…in overtime…

The game was a hard one to lose that way because the Sharks dominated the Avalanche. 50 shots to 16. There were times in the 2nd and 3rd period when I swear 5 minutes would pass before the Avalanche could even clear the puck out of their own zone. The Sharks so completely out-shot, out-muscled, and out-played the Avs that it was for the first time in the series, like watching a 1st seed team playing against an 8th seed. The Av’s can only attribute their win to their goalie and the hockey gods. Face it Avs, you got lucky, and you have been lucky. Consider the series so far:

Game 1: a goal off Rob Blake’s skate
Game 2: a goal off Vlasic’s throat
Game 3: the luckiest-ever way to win a game

Sure luck is part of the game, but the Colorado’s luck has got to run out. Can’t rely on luck to win ‘em all.

Dan Boyle in his post-game interview called it “the worst thing that can ever happen to a player.” He’s no doubt taking it pretty hard, but he should forget about it. He on more than one occasion in that game alone was the reason why the Avalanche didn’t score a goal in regulation. He’s one of the best defensemen in the NHL right now, and in my opinion should wear the “C” next season. Forget about it, Dan–you guys will pull through and win this series.

And if the Sharks lose this series, I’ll eat my words. I’ve done it before.

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!

Sharks and Chicken

Lem let me tag along to help him cover the San Jose Sharks/Tyson Food/Second Harvest Food Bank event. These guys teamed up to donate thousands of pounds of chicken to various local charities. I got there kind of late, when everything was pretty much wrapped up, but Lem did get my a bunch of autographs of the players that were there. Woohoo!

woo hoo!
Lem failed to get JR, Lemieux, and some others, but hey, I’m eternally grateful!

The last time I got to meet some Sharks, back in 2005.