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Keys to a Cup Victory in Teal Town
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 victory.

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 beyond.

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 level?

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 in teal.

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.

9. Respect

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 hockey team.

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 right the wrongs we've seen through seven games this season. The short list includes 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. Appear on a segment on Shark Byte with Drew Remenda, and subsequently beat the snot out 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 a lowly St. Louis squad, but you know what, it's been that 0-8-1 in 1993-94, or have one win in 2003-04, if the Sharks surge on the rest of the way, this start 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 to 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?

Contact Erik at

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