| Game is On, Will the Sharks
It's that time again
Team Teal is back to the playoffs. Notice the
exclamation point is missing. Maybe the Warriors have taken up all the oxygen
around the bay, maybe it's the Sharks' losing record at home, but outside of we
hopeless puckheads the excitement isn't happening. Even among fans there is a
feeling of resignation.
That shouldn't be, this is the mid-term exam
for whatever this team is building. Yes, the top-six forwards and top-four D
are still mostly the gang that planted their flag and carved their name on Mt.
Chokemore against the LA Kings in 2014. But the bottom of the lineup can
actually move the puck out of their own end and pressure the opposition,
something sorely lacking in 2014 and earlier. Martin Jones is a clear upgrade
over Antii Niemi in the net.
Coach Peter DeBoer did a good job of
melding the talent and doing things that Todd McLellan would have balked at,
such as sticking Patrick Marleau down on the third line. This team cam match up
with anybody, but are they ready to go out and take this series against the
team that gave them that historic beat-down?
The Kings added Milan
Lucic to be a a little meaner and Vinnie Lecavalier because he came cheap.
Still they had to lose some of their back end players to stay within the salary
cap. No tears in San Jose over Jarett Stoll, Mike Richards, and Justin Williams
wearing new sweaters and we hope Marian Gaborik takes all summer to get his
knee right. But these are the Kings with two rings. They will bring a swagger
and two or three thousand fans to the Tank. The message is clearly Deal With
The Sharks were 3-1-1 against LA this season, it's
clear they can match talent with them. The Sharks also proved they can win on
the road almost anyplace. Were this a normal 1st round matchup between teams
that finished 4 points apart, there would be am even split among hockey writers
as to a favorite. This series is predicted as seven games by almost everyone
with about two-thirds favoring the Kings.
Why be crazy enough to pick
the Sharks until they actually show something in the playoffs. Fair enough,
can't say I disagree with the logic. But now is the best time the Sharks will
ever have to get the Kings out of their heads, and more importantly the fans'
heads. No pressure, they expect you to fail, so just win. The Sharks can do
this in seven games. Or go down in five and set the stage for the big clear out
in 2016-17, possible including Doug Wilson. Game on. Go Sharks.
Contact Ken at at firstname.lastname@example.org
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