| Keys to a Cup Victory in Teal
Follow these basic steps
10/4/06 - By Erik Kuhre
Ok, so it's taken 16 seasons
to figure this out, but if the Sharks follow this recipe of success, Patrick
Marleau is hoisting Stanley come June. In a not-so scientific process, I've
come up with a number of steps, for our beloved Team Teal to achieve ultimate
1. Forget full 60+ minutes, play the whole 4920.
Now, before you say, why am I saying 4920? Well, doing the simple math, that's
60 minutes for all 82 games. In other words, no bad start. Bad starts have
killed this team in seasons past. Like last season, the Sharks are scrambling
to win games at the end to balance out the losses early on in the season. Only
twice in their history has the team started out on a good start. The lockout
shortened 1994-95 season where the team went 5-1, and proceeded to barely
making the playoffs and shock Calgary in round 1. In 1999-2000, the team was
the best in the league and in the middle of the year, fell apart and almost
missed the playoffs altogether, but came back to shock St. Louis. Now you say,
well they won the Conference Quarter-finals, but they had no energy to advance
2. All four lines, all dangerous, all the time.
One of the main reasons why the Sharks played so well in 2003-04, was that it
was a balanced scoring attack. Playing two way hockey, and working as a team
to advance. Last season, especially in the playoffs, with the emphasis of the
top two lines, teams took advantage of inexperience of NHL play. This year,
the Sharks went out and somewhat improve their lineup. No big names acquired,
which in the plan is to continue to build a winner, with the young players
coming up from Worcester in the American Hockey League. The issue I had last
year, was if someone went down with an injury, the team calls up a no-name to
replace him in the lineup. Now with skilled NHL players like Mike Grier, Ville
Nieminen, and Curtis Brown, gives time for the youth to fully develop and not
scramble to fly to San Jose.
3. Remember the drinking game
No, not for the reason to drink up. But the points of keeping a head on the
swivel, taking your game to the next level, playing 110%. These are attributes
that each and every player who puts on a teal sweater (whether it is in San
Jose or Worcester) should follow. A San Jose Shark is one to be as fierce,
intimidating, and swift like the sea creature that it is named after.
4. Remember the pain, shoot for glory
The pain of last year's upset loss to Edmonton should serve as a reminder that
you can never let up in a game or a series. That painful memory should serve
as a reminder to play hard as you can go. After all, pain, sweat, tears will
all go away, but glory lasts forever.
5. Make my friend stop talking about Miikka Kiprusoff!
I have a friend, who is a Sharks fan, which every time we get into an argument,
always bring back memories of 2004, where the apprentice (Kiprusoff) beat the
master (Evgeni Nabokov) in the Conference Finals. And while I have won our
season bets where I've had sushi at the Sharks chatters picnic, there's nothing
better to shut him up by winning the Cup. This person, who I will keep his
identity hidden for public safety, said there were two pieces missing in
getting to the Stanley Cup Final. One of which was the playmaking forward that
we now have in Joe Thornton. The other was a veteran defenseman that can be a
quarterback on the power play and can teach the kids how to play both ways.
Another issue he has mentioned are the mind games in the head of the Sharks
netminders. Perhaps psychological issues a reason for not getting to the next
6. Remember the leader of section 209
Joe Ike might be the public address announcer, but for any fans who sat near
section 209 at the Shark Tank, know the real voice in the Shark Tank was Greg
Raye. Greg was the one who started my favorite chant, "Hey (insert opposing
team city here)!" With the rest of the crowd going "You Suck!" Outside the
organ, music, the Tank Patrol, this finatic was just as responsible to getting
the loudest fans in the NHL to be routy and make the Tank one of the most
feared places to play. So a challenge to the rest of my fellow Team Teal
Finatics, time to step up even further. In my opinion, I've noticed the Tank
slowly losing its high volume of crowd noise. While I believe that's partially
to blame for the existence of organ music that requires fan participation, I
know there's a way where us fans can kick it up a notch. If anything, that's
what Greg would have wanted.
7. Finish the early rounds quickly
If you notice anything, teams who finish up early in the first and second
rounds of the playoffs are usually more fresh and healed up from injuries more
so than a team who finished a 7-game series. It also helps to wrap up a
playoff spot, or even a Pacific Division title early as possible. The more
games played in the playoffs, the more chances to injuries coming to our guys
8. Avoid Canadian teams!
In playoff series against teams located in Canada are 11-15 in playoff games,
with the 1995 upset over Calgary being the lone series victory. We all know
that the deeper Canadian teams go, the more likely the nation will be behind
them to win, which in turn, sometimes leads to bias officiating and analysis.
Anyone that saw the officiating in the Edmonton series knows what I'm talking
about. The league stated prior to last season's playoffs that the officiating
will be the same as the regular season. While round one was, round two wasn't.
And furthermore, when Edmonton was the lone Canadian team standing the calls
tend to go more towards the side of the Oilers. Now, that's not to say some of
the calls against San Jose weren't legitimate, but there were some iffy calls
to say the least. Let alone calls that weren't called on Edmonton (i.e. Raffi
Torres' hit on Milan Michalek, or a stiffer penalty on Torres taking a run at
Steve Bernier.) The league must realize that while everyone is on an even
level, when it comes to Canadian teams in the playoffs, those series must be
kept on highest of scrutiny.
I heard this on message boards in 2004, and I heard it again in 2006. Plain
and simple, many believe (especially those in the Northeast and Canada) that
teams in the so-called "NHL Sun Belt" are not worthy of their game. Some have
gone out to say that San Jose does not deserve a team. Cities like Winnipeg,
Manitoba, or Hartford or Hamilton, Ontario are more deserving because hockey is
stitched into their environment. Well, this just in, San Jose is deserving of
it's NHL team. The Sharks have put their stamp in San Jose. Some say the
growth of the city is directly linked to the presence of NHL hockey. Just
because us residents of the Bay Area, didn't grow up skating frozen ponds,
didn't have snow for extended periods of time, doesn't mean we don't deserve
our Sharks. Just because our NHL existence is 16 seasons old, plus the decade
the Seals called Oakland home, isn't as rich as the history of Toronto or
Detroit, doesn't mean the Sharks don't belong here.
Hockey is vastly popular in this area. When the Sharks arrived, there were
only seven rinks in the San Francisco / Sacramento area. Today, the Bay Area
alone has nearly a dozen sheets of ice. The Sharks practice facility, Logitech
has four rinks itself. On most weekends, all four have hockey being played on
it, ranging from pee wees to San Jose State, the 10th nationally ranked club
So not to give San Jose respect is a spit in my face. But that's ok. Lack of
respect is how San Jose shocked the world in 1994, with Detroit stunned as Team
Teal upset the top ranked Red Wings in the opening round of the Stanley Cup
playoffs. Sometimes, people never learn to respect until it's too late.
Until next time, CHOMP TO THE CUP IN 2007!
The latter schedule plans for more home cooking, home fans, and will hopefully
allow the team to get their.. uh... stuff together! But scheduling won't
the wrongs we've seen through seven games this season. The short list
work on that power play, and shoring up defensive mistakes. If you need to
vent out some frustration, do what Kyle McLaren and Scott Parker did.
a segment on Shark Byte with Drew Remenda, and subsequently beat the snot
of Remenda. (Drew, you know I kid, but hey it works!)
In the end, I know it's a struggle and us fans should've been yelling "WE WANT
TEN!" opening night vs. Columbus, and shouldn't needed to comeback against
lowly St. Louis squad, but you know what, it's been that 0-8-1 in 1993-94,
have one win in 2003-04, if the Sharks surge on the rest of the way, this
will be remembered as the best worst start in team history.
For those who think it's over already, and I know one friend who thinks it is,
let me remind him that the sushi he had to pay for when the Sharks advanced
the Western Conference Finals still tastes great 16 months later!
Until next time, CHOMP TO THE CUP IN 2006!
Two Weeks In, Same Ole Sharks?
Erik at Puckguy14@aol.com
|What did you think of
this article? Post your comments on the