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Eating my words
And loving it
5/6/06 - By Ken Smyth

Yup, I'm still eating crow for my pessimism about the San Jose Sharks' getting into the playoffs. It tastes suspiciously like those chicken strips at the Tank. My pre-season playoff prediction was that the Sharks would lose to the Detroit Red Wings in the Conference Final and that guess is wrong too.

Needless to say, I'm pretty happy.

The top four teams in the Western Conference, who were locked in the standings and had nothing much to play for in March and early April, now have nothing to play for in May. Maybe they can get a golf tournament going. As for the Sharks, they'll need all the rest that they can get before going to war against the Edmonton Oilers. While the sentimentalist in me wanted to see Calgary win their series and set up a replay of an old Smythe Division-style Calgary-Edmonton series that goes seven games and finishes off both teams, I'm happy to see Joe Sakic and pals beat on Anaheim for a little while.

If the Sharks can be physical, and bang the Oilers around a bit this could be a replay of the Nashville series. Joe Thornton's line will probably face Edmonton's better defenders, and let Patrick Marleau's line have a little fun. If they start sluggish and give the Oilers a win in San Jose, this could be a seven game series. Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson has had some good game and some gawd-awful ones against San Jose in his career, and if the Sharks can get on him early that could make the difference.

Awards time

Besides the Hart Trophy to Joe Thornton and the Rocket Richard going to Jonathan Cheechoo, here's some more awards and prizes:

Lady Bing Trophy nominee- Patrick Marleau

A Venus de Milo replica- Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars, who presumably is making his own hotel reservations for vacation, and a little bit sooner than expected. Unlike the Olympics in Turino, there will be a skycap for the bags.

Shell Vacations Seat on the Glass- Evgeni Nabokov

Four for Fighting- Jason Kendall of the Oakland Athletics

Oscar for Best Achievement in Make-up - Referee Don Koharski. Koharski waved off a Teemu Selanne goal for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the first period of game six against Calgary that would've tied the game. After the Ducks tied it anyway in the second period, the third features a steady run of power play opportunities for Anaheim. Sorry, Don, this is California, no Dunkin Donuts like in Boston.

Best Dramatic Pleading- Chris Mason, Preds goaltender. After most Sharks goals he would lay on the ice, looking like he was stabbed, and stay there for several seconds. Are there any goalie parts in Shakespeare?

One New York Minute- to the Rangers, that's about how long they looked good against the NJ Devils.

A Soccer Ball and an Intern- Office-warming gifts to Dean Lombardi, new general manager of the Los Angeles Kings. The ball is to keep on the office floor. Trust us, Dean, that'll help you score big with your new boss Phil Anschutz. The intern is to fill the paper in the fax machine at contract time. There were so many problems with that when you ran the Sharks.

Contact Ken at

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