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The Prediction
And other SCF tid bits
5/29/16 - By Mike Lee -

As the Sharks embark on their first ever foray into the Stanley Cup Finals it's customary for the prognosticators predict who will win the best-of-seven game series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Predictions from across North America peel back every statistical detail in search of the information that will help determine who lift the Stanley Cup. With the puck drop just hours away, here is my prediction...

It's quite simple actually. My prediction is that I'll never ever again make a prediction in terms of how the Sharks will finish a series, a game, or even what Joe Thornton is having for lunch that day.

Series and game predictions are a fruitless exercise to be perfectly honest. What are you going to do with that information? Unless you're a gambler, why do you even care what I have to predict? Why would you care what Barry Melrose, Pierrre LeBrun, or any other media hack has to say about who is going to win this series.

If you think folks like me, Melrose and LeBrun are full of hot air on most nights, then you're probably right. We provide opinions. We recap what we saw with our own eyes. If you saw a game with your own eyes, then you probably have an opinion too. If our opinions match, do you feel some kindred spirit with me.

Unless you can give me insights on a hot new restaurant, I don't care about your opinion. I certainly don't care that you have an opinion about who you think will win. Nor should you care about mine. What do I know.

For the most part, my predictions tend to be wrong. I've been picking Shark wins for years. Finally, I got religion. Those underperforming, underachieving Sharks have been contradicting my predictions for years. So I figured, you're not fooling me again.

I didn't even think this team would make the playoffs this season, much less qualify for the Stanley Cup Finals. I figured the Kings would dispose of them quickly.

OK, so I thought San Jose would get past Nashville, but even that almost went south as the series was stretched to 7 games. They didn't have a chance against the Blues.

What you may have noticed is that I've not once published a prediction this season. I just have no skill for it, and even if I did, what are you going to do with that information. If I get it right, do I get to pump my chest and show you how superior my analytical skills are? If I did, would you care?

Probably not.

So why bother. If I get it wrong, then I'm the know-nothing hack you thought I was to begin with.

So I predict nothing. I'm going to sit back and soak in the fact that the Sharks are competing for the ultimate prize, and should they happen to win four of these games, then there's going to be a fantastic party.

Joe Knows Razors

I was watching some of media day coverage on Sunday morning, and was irritated to hear all the questions that were being lobbed at Joe Thornton regarding his beard. Yes, hi beard.

The guy has had one heck of a career, and he's finally shed the playoff monkey off his back, but the only worthwhile some reporters could come up with were queries about his beard.

Now, I will admit that the beard is rather majestic, but do you think someone of Thornton's stature really needs to be wasting his time answering dumb questions about his beard? Every media outlet from ESPN, to the Topeka Sentinel are focused on facial hair.

Note to misinformed pundits, Thornton and Brent Burns have been growing those things since December. They're not even real playoff beards.

But back to the point. How about ask Thornton about the struggles he's had to endure over his storied career, because half the planet has labeled him a choker? Ask him if this year's performance by the Sharks has vindicated him. Ask him how he thinks his legacy will be cemented now that he has a Stanley Cup appearance under his belt.

Show the man some respect for crying out loud.

We are Family

Those intangibles that everyone keep's talking about are all fine and dandy, but the one that has really hit home with me this season has been the genuine bond that this team seems to have established.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that most of them were around when things imploded again Los Angeles in 2014. Perhaps the failure to qualify for the playoffs had something to do with it. In any case, this group just seems to be playing for each other like few teams have in the past.

When Joe Pavelski was called to center stage after the Sharks had just knocked off the St Louis Blues last week, he summoned all of his teammates to join him to have the traditional photo taken with the Clarence Campbell Bowl. Take a look at the Penguins photo. You'll see Sydney Crosby flanked by Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin. No sign of any other player in a Penguins jersey to be seen.

The whole Penguins photo is much ado about nothing, but there's no mistaking the fact that Pavelski has led by example, and was first to make sure his teammates were included in the celebration.

Let's Get It On

It's now been five days since the Sharks punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals, but it's time to go back to work. We'll know soon enough if the Penguins speed up front is something that Sharks will be able to contain. Or if the Penguins prove too much for San Jose.

Regardless, the Sharks have the ability to leave their mark on NHL history over the course of the next two weeks.




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