| Avalanche loom
2nd round won't be easy
4/20/04 - by
To the victor's go the spoils, or so they say. A
date with the Colorado Avalanche is the San Jose Shark's reward for defeating
the St. Louis Blues in 5 games. We all know the Avalanche: Forsberg, Sakic,
Blake, Hejduk, Tanguay, Kariya, and Selanne. The names could go on forever.
They are Yankee like on paper and have a history of eliminating the South Bay
fish from playoff contention.
I watched and cheered for those ole
Canucks from Vancouver in hopes that their crippled selves could rise up and
turn away the pesky Darryl Sutter led Calgary Flames. But, alas, to no avail.
The Flames victory cemented that which is now fact - the Sharks will host
Colorado on Thursday at the Tank.
I have spoken to many a Shark fan of
late and, to my surprise, many of you feel that the Av's are a better playoff
opponent than the Canucks!
Let's see. The Canuck's are
without one of the games top 10 players in Todd Bertuzzi. The Canucks number
one net minder Dan Cloutier is finished for the season do to injury and the
Flames had even tenderized the Canuck up quite a bit with some very physical
checking throughout that series.
Yet, there are many that feel that
Colorado would be preferable.
The Avalanche is a team of
seasoned, yet not over-the-hill, veterans. They are former champions that boast
a roster full of proven all-stars who have stepped up their performance since
the playoffs began.
If there are any doubts about the Av's please feel
free to call the Lone star state and ask Mike Modano or Marty Turco if the Av's
were easy pickins.
I am not at all inferring that the Shark's have no
shot at beating the bunch from Denver, I just think it will be much more
difficult and much harder fought than having drawn the guys from the Pacific
The Sharks skills are widely known at this point; fast
skaters, exceptional young defenders, excellent goaltending and good size and
physicality. The Sharks are young, seemingly hungry, and can beat anyone when
they are able to play their game.
The Av's will challenge that game
Veteran teams often lack a bit of desire during the regular
season and the Av's are no exception. They did however, have a solid year and
qualified as the 4th seed in the Western Conference.
post-season begins the cream generally rises as the better teams turn it on.
The Av's are quality and the cream is moving up.
That's not say that
the Av's are unbeatable as they have definite chinks in the armor. Paul Kariya
has been injured virtually all-season and Teemu Selanne is a shell of his
former self. Peter Forsberg has been in and out of the lineup all season and
his health is always a question (yet he seems to be healthy at the moment).The
Colorado defense hasn't shown the same consistency as the Sharks and David
Aebischer is truly in his first season of playoff testing and is thus, an
unproven commodity at this point.
Despite their lofty number two
seeding the Sharks will be the underdog in this series. The series should be a
hard fought, well coached and well-disciplined affair. Let's wait and see if
the reward goes to the team that has the Teal-cream filling.
Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
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