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San Jose Sharks – Torture?
The San Jose Sharks currently hold a 2-0 lead over the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Sharks seem to have nothing stopping them from reaching the Western Conference Finals in back-to-back years.
But what has some people doubting how far sharks can go is the story.
The Sharks are very weak when it comes to chasing the Stanley Cup in April and May. Year after year we see the Sharks become the favorite to win it all, and then we see them falter when it comes to important games and series.
The Sharks have never won a Stanley Cup, let alone reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
Remember another Bay Area sports team?
The Sharks are drawing plenty of comparisons to the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants, who reside just about an hour up the road from HP Pavilion.
The Sharks tend to play very close games, much like the 2010 Giants, and as a result, the Sharks are four for four in overtime in these playoffs.
Also, the Giants had never won a World Series since they moved to San Francisco in 1957, and the Sharks have never won a Stanley Cup since their expansion into the NHL in 1991. Although, there have been a few chances.
The Giants played the underdog in 2010 and shocked the baseball world by beating heavyweight after heavyweight on their way to the World Series title. Even though the Sharks finished second in the Western Conference standings, history would still suggest that they are underdogs to win it all this year, despite playing very well thus far in the playoffs.
But what might draw even more similarities to the 2010 Giants are the players the Sharks have acquired this offseason who have played huge roles in getting the Sharks to this point.
Kyle Wellwood is to the Sharks what Pat Burrell was to the Giants.
I will make you a better one.
Ian White is to the Sharks what Cody Ross was to the Giants.
It’s well known that Burrell’s sudden resurgence in power since the Giants acquired him midway through the 2010 season helped the Giants reach the playoffs. It is also well known that Ross’ streak against Doc Halladay and the Phillies helped the Giants reach the World Series.
Mid-season signings Wellwood and White have done much the same for the Sharks, but only in the playoffs.
The Sharks were a playoff lock a long time ago, but it’s Wellwood and White’s playoff play that has the Sharks looking for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
Think about it. Wellwood was released by the Vancouver Canucks in 2010 and forced to play in the Russian KHL only to be picked up by the Sharks to help strengthen the four lines.
Do you remember someone? Maybe Aubrey Huff, who no team wanted in the offseason, or even Cody Ross, who was released by the Florida Marlins at the end of the 2010 season only to be picked up by the Giants for bench help.
Wellwood now has one goal and three assists with a +/- of 6 in these Stanley Cup Playoffs.
White, likewise, has been a big boost to help strengthen the defensive lines. He has one goal and five assists, while he has a +/- of 6, as well, in these playoffs. Not to mention instant chemistry with linemate Niclas Wallin.
You could even throw Ben Eager in there as a physical reason why the Sharks are playing well right now.
Although the Sharks and Giants have some similarities, the NHL playoffs can be a very different animal than the MLB playoffs. Things can change at any moment in these NHL playoffs, and the Giants looked like a lucky team from the start.
That’s not to say the Sharks don’t feel like a lucky team, but the Sharks have been here before, and this year it’s time to produce a Stanley Cup. There will be plenty of time to crown the “Team of Destiny” later.
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