Posts Tagged "Stanley Cup 2010"

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!

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)