Monday, May 14, 2012
Stanley Cup Playoffs and the missing Sharks
It's May and the NHL Stanley Cup play-offs are in the Conference finals. In the West, the #8 Los Angeles Kings are duking it out against the #3 Phoenix Coyotes while in the East it's the #1 New York Rangers battling the #6 New Jersey Devils. None of the lasting teams are my team, so who do I cheer on, because yes, I'm still watching the play-offs (it's hockey, after all)? Since I did live in Los Angeles for a long time, I'm for LA - even though come September the gloves will be off again.
LA has a decent team. The last part of the regularr season they started to come together as a team. Granted, they barely made the post-season, but getting in is enough. From the first game, the Kings haven't lost yet. They've swept both opponents in the quarter and semi-finals. The first game, played on May 13th they beat the Coyotes 4 to 2. In the first period, Derek Morris had a fantastic slap shot from the blue line that beat Phoenix goalie Mike Smith. LA goalie Jonathan Quick stopped 25 out of 27 shots and Phoenix Smith stopped 43 out of 47 shots. The goalies were the first and second stars of the game.
In the east, game one was played Sunday, May 13th, in New York. The Rangers Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 21 shots he faced for a shut-out while Martin Brodeur stopped 25 out of 27 (one goal was an empty net). New York won 3-0, and again, a goalie was the first star of the game.
As for the San Jose Sharks.....
what's the saying? it's a rebuilding year?
In a previous post I had the Sharks Owners group statement:
but here it is again....
STATEMENT FROM THE OWNERSHIP GROUP OF SHARKS SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT:
"The on-ice results of our team this season are not acceptable to our fans, our organization or our ownership group. We will not lower our expectation that every San Jose Sharks team we put on the ice is capable of winning the Stanley Cup. Despite the fact that our team has experienced a tremendous amount of success over the past eight seasons, we are not satisfied with those results and neither is Doug. The ownership group has confidence that Doug will make the necessary changes to ensure our club remains among the NHL’s elite franchises.”
The big question for those of us who've seen this before is who will survive the fall-out of this season's debacle? Coach McClellan, as was his predecessors, done well with the standings in general. But to his employers, and the fans, it's the end result that ultimately matters.The team was on the top of the standings last year, and certainly looked to do as well at the start of the season. In January, they seemed well on the road to a Stanley Cup run, even with player injuries.
and then came February...and March...and April
The Sharks had more crashes then a NASCAR race during a snowstorm. Craig Patrick could have help up a reincarnation of Herb Brooks under the Sharks' head blowing his whistle, but it couldn't have motivated this team to do better.
Remember, I'm a Sharks fan - I proudly have memorabilia from the first season all the way forward. Bad play is bad play.
As Mark Purdy recently wrote, guys with a no-trade clause can still be moved, if the motivation is right. Purdy believes Marleau is high on that list, as well as possibly Boyle, Havlat, Pavelski, or Clowe. Other players coming up on the end of short-time contracts may not be offered renewals: White and Mitchell were mentioned.
Of course, before any players move, the Collective Bargaining Agreement must be settled. Hopefully, the NHL and NHLPA will have learned from last time's locked-out and the NBA's recent troubles.