| Time to prove them
Sharks should turn the tables on pundits this
There is an opportunity that comes with the start
of every new season. It exists for every club that is a franchise member of the
league. For the Sharks, this is the 20th time that opportunity is reset, but
for the first time in a couple of years, the expectations arent there. At
least not from those outside the Bay Area.
The national media seems to
have written off the Sharks this season. Every pundit east of the Mississippi
is taking the softball pick in the Chicago Blackhawks, given their youth and
the fact that theyre defending champions.
Bodog, the online
betting service, has the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vancouver Canucks at 6/1
favorites to take the Cup this season, followed by Chicago at 13/2. They have
the Sharks at 12/1, another sign that there isnt as much faith as there
Thats what playoff failure after playoff failure will
do to your reputation. Picking the Sharks to fall short is now the trendy thing
to do. Its a relatively safe play given the Sharks track record. Other
teams made big moves to improve during the off-season, notably the same
Penguins and Canucks that the odds-makers have so high on their boards.
If the Sharks are good at anything, its throwing a curveball at
expectations, which is why its potentially a good thing to be off the
radar or sorts. Its not like theyre going to sneak up on anyone,
but if everyone expects failure, what better time to take advantage of the
The heavy firepower is still essentially the
same. Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau are still integral parts
of this team. Thornton even assumed the role of captain, which threw everyone
for a loop, so the team is already off to a great start.
Cheechoo gets a call up to the big club from Worcester, start booking your June
calendar for a Finals appearance. If anything that whacky transpires,
itll start looking like a season of destiny. Who would have ever thought
that the Sharks would bring back their former Rocket Richard Trophy winner.
Cheechoo has already scored a goal for the Worcester Sharks this season, so
its not like it couldnt happen.
Theres also the Antti Niemi factor. Heres
a guy that was on top of the world less than four months ago. He won an
arbitration hearing that should have paid him the salary that was due a Stanley
Cup winning goaltender. But in the blink of a eye he was on the street looking
for a job after the Blackhawks jettisoned him and his $2.75 million payday.
Niemi wouldnt stay unemployed for long, and it was Pittsburgh or
Vancouver that he signed with. OK, so neither of those teams needed a
goaltender, but work with me here. The Sharks decision to pass on Evgeni
Nabokov and another fat contract for the Russian goaltender setup the
possibility of Niemi moving from Chicago to San Jose in the first place. A bit
of karma perhaps? Maybe some divine hockey intervention?
gone on the record before as saying that I have no clue where the Sharks will
finish this season. Predictions are wild guesses for the most part, and the
Sharks just end up making you crazy when you try to prognosticate their
outcome. Besides, its more fun to come up with theories that go against
If any team can get it done, its not the Sharks. Or
The team will practice on Monday
morning, but the remainder of the week's itinerary is still to be determined.
After returning home from Stockholm early Sunday morning, the team took the
rest of the weekend off to recooperate from the long flight. San Jose jumped on
their charter immediately following Saturday's overtime loss to Columbus.
Priority one is adjusting back to Pacific Standard Time. Sharks head
coach Todd McLellan did not rule out another day of rest this week. The team
will resume it's game schedule on Saturday for teh home opener against
|What did you think of
this article? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums