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Sharks Break on Through
Chokers No More
5/28/16 - By Paul Krill -

Some thoughts and musings on the Sharks playoff run – so far:

Yes, I say the Sharks can no longer be known as chokers. They have made it to the Stanley Cup Final, thus leaving behind a small contingent of teams (Minnesota, Nashville, Columbus, Phoenix, Winnipeg) that's never been there. Of that group, only Phoenix, the original Winnipeg Jets, has been in the NHL longer than the Sharks. The rest are late-90s/year 2000 expansion teams. A number of teams have made it this far but still haven't won: Vancouver, Saint Louis, Washington, Buffalo, Ottawa, Florida. So for now, the mantle of Choker for This Decade officially passes to the Washington Capitals, who had the best record in the regular season this year but were done in the second round.

This Sharks team was assembled by shrewd drafting, wise trades, wise signings and solid player development. This Penguins team, to a significant degree, was assembled through being awful at the right time and getting to draft first. Look at the core of the team: we have Sid Crosby (first pick of the draft), Marc-Andre Fleury (first pick of the draft) and Evgeni Malkin (second pick of the draft, right behind Alexander Ovechkin). The Penguins even ended up with the first pick of the draft after the canceled 2004-05 season. That pick, of course, became Crosby. So we have to admire the Sharks more than the Penguins.

Let's see if NBC TV, the network broadcaster of the Stanley Cup Final, gives the San Jose games the "Super Bowl" treatment and pretends it's really all happening 50 miles away in San Francisco. Will the network be cutting from the arena in San Jose to shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman's Wharf just because that's more glamorous than what we have here in San Jose? How about shots of Winchester Mystery House? Avaya Stadium? The Rosicrucian Museum? Lick Observatory? Sorry if we're just too boring for the out-of-towners.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, the Sharks' spot in the Stanley Cup Final means this is the second major championship event being played in the South Bay in four months.

Lots of Facebook debate about whether or not to touch the conference championship trophy. The Sharks didn't, the Penguins did. I think this is a bunch of superstitious nonsense that you jinx the team's Cup chances by touching it. I wish captain Joe Pavelski had picked it up and used it for a game of catch with his teammates.

Pavelski's groundbreaking gesture of having the whole team, instead of just the captain, in the picture for the pose with the trophy and NHL Deputy Commissioner President Bill Daly may have been a bit confusing to traditionalists. But I thought it was great.

Within a couple weeks, the Sharks went from being unable for the first time ever to sell out a playoff game to having a mad dash for tickets to the Stanley Cup Final. Everybody, hop on the bandwagon.

FWIW, by pressuring season ticketholders to renew in March at this season's prices, the Sharks lost the opportunity to hit us up for Big Time Price Increases concurrent with the newfound success on the ice. Oops. Works for me, though.

Glad to see so many hockey "experts" reflexively picking the Sharks opponents to win. Happened with Saint Louis, is happening now with the Penguins. This should serve as motivation. Let's go Sharks!

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