Go Sharks! (And pray a
Playoffs start today
Finally! From October to April, most of us
couldn't wait for this season to end. Admittedly, the reasons changed as it
went along. Now the San Jose Sharks go against an Edmonton Oilers team most of
us would have rather not see again until 2018.
Don't wonder whether
the Oilers are for real. They are. Given that they got off to a great start
with a new building, a healthy McDavid and a schedule that looked like Wayne
Gretzky drew it up himself. They also finished the season challenging Anaheim
for the division title. Their March and April schedule was thirteen games home
and five away.
They're young, fast, well-rested and horribly healthy.
Missing Logan Couture and with Joe Thornton damaged, the Sharks will find this
a difficult series. The Oilers are supposed to be a speedy team, but they
manhandled the Sharks in two games recently. A hat trick for Lucic last
Thursday, seriously? Somehow the Sharks will need to steal a couple games or
this postseason will be very short.
The east coast hockey reporters
are already in their bunks with the door locked, dreaming of a Western
Conference Final match-up of the Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks. (Remember when
the Sharks were the suave and sexy pick for the Western Conference? Time
flies.) The Hawks face their own challenge with Nashville and then either
Minnesota or St. Louis.
Anaheim will probably be the opponent of the winner of
the Sharks/Oilers series, and they'll certainly match up well physically with
whoever they face. In the Eastern Conference, anything might happen. Like the
Sharks, the Penguins played a lot of hockey in the last twelve months, and
Chris Kunitz is gone until next season. The old NHL lie "this is finally the
Washington Capitals' year", could be true.
The Los Angeles Kings' owners, the Anschutz Entertainment Group, fired
Dean Lombardi and Darryl Sutter. Luc Robitaille is now team President and
briefly-Shark Rob Blake is Vice President and General Manager. Hiring
well-remembered ex-players into top executive roles doesn't always work, but if
I wasn't a Sharks' fan I'd wish them success. First step is to unload some
long-term contracts for under-performing older players. (Hey, what am I saying?
Contact Ken at at firstname.lastname@example.org
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