Thursday, May 19, 2011

NHL Western Conference Finals

If you're a hockey fan, then you are watching the Conference finals. The Eastern between the Tamba Bay Lightning & the Boston Bruins and, the Western between the San Jose Sharks & the Vancouver Canucks. At the end of the regular season, Vancouver won the President's Trophy for the most wins: consequently, they are favored to win the Stanley Cup.

I'm a San Jose Sharks fan, and have been one since the teaam was established in 1991. I want to see my team bring the Cup home to San Jose. Last season, the Sharks won the President's Cup for having the best winning record, but they lost the conference final to the Chicago Blackhawks (who, by the way had Antti Niemi as their #1 goaltender). This year, the Sharks have Niemi as their #1 goaltender.

The play-offs are a best-of-seven. San Jose is down two games to Vancouver. They lost game (Sun 5-15) one 3-2. I didn't see that game because I was working. A one goal game has been typical of their play-off win/loss record.

Last night, I saw what had to be one of the most puzzling, frustrating, maddening, get the picture. It started out as a exciting game, lot's of action, great sames on both ends of the ice, a fair amount of shots, great plays, and a decent amount of hits. Sure, both teams got away with a bit of uncalled penalties, but not too bad untit Setoguchi was high-sticked - and cut. The refs missed it. Thornton was high-sticked IN FRONT OF THE REF, and CUT, with a NO CALL.

For those of you who don't know, any time a player is call on a minor penalty, they get two minutes, and his team is down a man on the ice for that time. If the opposing team's player is bleeding from the infraction, that player in the boxx is given an extra two minutes. Now, considering how many penalties San Jose took, which may have still occured REGARDLESS, it may or may not have helped San Jose in the long run of the game.

Okay, refs don't have the benefit of instant replay. San Jose did get a questionable goal and convinced the refs to have it reviewed - and the video goal judge allowed it. That made up for Seto's no call.

Did San Jose take some stupid penalties that hurt them? Hell yes. Eager scores a goal, and then stays in the goal crease and ends up with a roughing penalty. In the last 9 seconds of the game, five players (3 Vancouver and two San Jose) are tossed from the game for fighting (game misconducts). Scott Nichol (SJ) and Ben Eager(SJ) get two extra penalties. Even Patrick Marleau (SJ) fought Kevin Bieska (V) and Patty never fights.

It's a shame, but after a while, I think refs just expect a team to cause a problem and they pay more attention, whether they mean to or not. Thornton has been accused of diving in the past, but so has some Vancouver players. I counted at least five cross-checks against the Sharks that were ignored. Well, the guys became frustrated, that much was clear.

Coach McClellan wasn't happy his team. I have to admit, the loss was a team loss, not an individual loss - and if they want to move on, they must put this game behind them.

Game three is Friday night in San Jose. Friendly territory for Sharks, home ice, with the BEST FANS in hockey cheering them on!!



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