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Not So Great Expectations
Stanley Cup a long shot for Sharks
2/13/08 - By Paul Krill

Last season, I, and probably most of you, had great expectations for the Sharks. The team was built to win it all; it was no longer time for building and rebuilding but time for a championship. But in the end, the Sharks bowed out early again in another disappointing second-round playoff series defeat.

This year, my expectations are not so high. Let's face it: Unless Vancouver can eliminate Detroit , Anaheim , Dallas and Calgary , setting up the Sharks to play the Canucks in the Western Conference Finals, then it doesn't look so good for the Sharks.

Yes, the Sharks can beat up on Vancouver and Minnesota and beat Columbus in OT. But once the Sharks play one of those tough teams mentioned in the previous paragraph, it seems like almost an automatic loss for our South Bay heroes of the ice, especially at home.

Go figure.

Unfortunately, the Sharks are probably going to have to face one or more of these teams on the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. If the regular season is any indication, that is the point when the Sharks would hop off the Stanley Cup train.

There's always the chance the Sharks would get red-hot in the playoffs and crush all teams in their path. Or that Vancouver or some other team would, indeed, clear the path for the Sharks. But this is not a wager anyone would make.

So, perhaps we should just enjoy the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs, as short as they might be for the Sharks. It looks like our post-season run could begin and end in April.

…Penalty Shots…

It was reported that the Sharks-Predators game Saturday was moved up a half hour to help the Predators beat the infamous San Jose airport curfew. For me, I have mixed feelings about that issue. On one hand, the curfew is clearly incompatible with the rigors of NHL travel.

Preventing teams from landing or taking off at the local airport after 11:30 pm? It just seems absurd. But then, there's the other side of the coin. I live in the Rosemary Gardens section of San Jose , which is pinched between First Street on one side and Route 87, and, yes, San Jose 's airport on the other.

With the airport being my neighbor, the curfew benefits me greatly. But another perspective is that the Sharks probably have one of the most convenient airports in the league; it's a straight 7-10-minute drive from the arena to the airport. But teams just can't use the place all the time, in which case they have to bus down from or up to Oakland 's airport. That probably takes 40 minutes or less in the middle of the night. I know the main airports in places such as Dallas and Chicago are not so close to the arenas in those cities.

I am not sure if there is a solution to the San Jose airport issue other than for the Sharks and the other teams to just deal with it or figure out a way to beat the curfew. Take quicker showers, perhaps?

Contact Paul at at

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