| Dare to dream
This season is as good as any
by Ken Smyth
If you told me last April that this season the
Sharks would have sixty-eight points by the All-Star break, I'd have politely
asked if you'd taken your medication. (I'm always supportive to crazy people,
that keeps me employed!) After that miserable start in October I was expecting
maybe fifty points by February, and a late charge for a bottom spot.
Sixty-eight points and leading the division is more than anybody expected,
including probably half the team. Can we dump the Terminator guy, put Ron and
Doug Wilson to work in Sacramento, and fix the state budget?
not, and just as well. We need them here since this season's got a long way to
go. At the break, the Dallas Stars looked like they found whatever chemistry
they were missing, and sat just five points back, and as usual the middle of
the Western Conference was a dogfight with four teams tied for sixth place at
1) No Weird Trades- Almost a Dean Lombardi tradition,
right?. Give up a few second or third round picks for a guy who really didn't
fit in and wasn't going stay but who had skill, a name and sometimes a few
screws loose. Eddie Belfour, Craig Janney, Joe Murphy are a few that come to
mind. Please, Doug, no more of this. Sometimes those lower-round picks turn
into useful players, Jonathan Cheechoo is a good example. As for the rumors
about Adam Oates, don't we already have the aging/slowing/but-very-classy-still
center in Vincent Damphousse? Do we need another?
2) Have Fun- All
this season it's been apparent from my cheap seat that Ron Wilson hockey is
definitely more fun to watch than Darryl Sutter hockey, it should be more fun
to play as well. It's north-south hockey, not side to side. The contrast was
clear back in that Calgary game a few weeks ago: the Flames were busy in their
defensive assignments chasing people around while the Sharks were moving the
puck down the ice and taking full advantage of their faster skaters. Funny
thing was; by the end of the game the Sharks still had legs out there, the
Flames looked pooped.
3) Play for 60 minutes or longer if needed- The
Sharks are not dominant enough to mosey through a game then wake up and win it
in the third period; who is, except maybe Detroit and New Jersey? The fact that
they manage to overcome their frequent second-period sleepies is a good sign.
Another good sign: finally a win in OT.
4) No bad streaks- The
schedule maker didn't do the Sharks any favors with Buffalo and Detroit back to
back after the All-star break to begin a two-week road trip, so the two points
earned in Columbus were a big help. If the Sharks can avoid three game winless
streaks it will make the Stars' job that much harder.
Bowl week, the books in Vegas had the Sharks as a 15:1 shot to win the Stanley
Cup, a big upgrade from the 50:1 at the beginning of the season. Still an
underdog, but not a laughable one. (Speaking of the Super Bowl, how was it that
the NHL knew to book Barenaked Ladies to play at the NHL All-Star game??
Movie Review- All right, I'll go to see any good hockey
movie, or any bad one even. (Though I draw the line at "Youngblood") "Miracle",
the story of Herb Brooks and the 1980 US Olympic hockey team that upset the
USSR in the semifinals and went on to win the gold medal is one of the good
ones. Don't wait for the rental, spend a few and see it on a big screen.
You purists out there will like ex-Oiler Bill Ranford playing US
goaltender Jim Craig on the ice and doing a good job of capturing Craig's
stand-up style. That's something almost unknown in the NHL today where most
goalies want to flop around like Dominick Hasek. Also check out the goalie
equipment and how small it seems compared to today's.
Contact Ken at Kenin210@eudoramail.com
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