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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 appear to have nothing holding them back from reaching the Western Conference Finals in back-to-back years.
But what some people doubt about how far the Sharks can go is history.
The Sharks are notoriously short when it comes to chasing the Stanley Cup in April and May. Year after year we see the Sharks become favorites to win it all, and then see them falter in crucial games and series.
The Sharks have never won a Stanley Cup, let alone reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
Remind you of another sports team in the Bay Area?
The Sharks draw a lot of comparison to the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, who live just an hour up the street from the 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 games in these playoffs.
Also, The Giants had never won a World Series since moving to San Francisco in 1957, and the Sharks have never won a Stanley Cup since expanding into the NHL in 1991. Although, there have been several chances.
The Giants played the underdog role in 2010 and surprised the baseball world by defeating heavyweight after heavyweight on their way to the World Series title. And although 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 so far in the play-offs.
But what can draw even more parallels to the 2010 Giants are the players the Sharks have brought up during this season, and who have played a huge role in getting the Sharks to this point.
Kyle Wellwood is to the Sharks what Pat Burrell was to the Giants.
I’ll make you one better.
Ian White is to the Sharks what Cody Ross was to the Giants.
Burrell’s sudden resurgence in power since the Giants picked him up in the middle of the 2010 season is known to have helped the Giants reach the playoffs. It is also known that Ross’ series against Doc Halladay and the Phillies helped the Giants reach the World Series.
Mid-season risers Wellwood and White have done much of the same for the Sharks, but only in the play-offs.
The Sharks were locks for the playoffs a long time ago, but playing Wellwood and White in the playoffs has the Sharks seeking the Stanley Cup finals in 2011.
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 solidify the four lines.
Remind you of anyone? Maybe Aubrey Huff, who no team wanted in the off-season, or even Cody Ross, who was placed on waivers by the Florida Marlins towards the end of the 2010 season only to be picked up by the Giants for help from on the bench.
Wellwood now has one goal and three assists with a +/- of 6 in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
White, likewise, has been a huge boost in helping to solidify the lines on defence. He has one goal and five assists, while sporting a +/- of 6, too, in the playoffs. Not to mention having instant chemistry with teammate Niclas Wallin.
You can even throw Ben Eager in there as a physical reason why the Sharks are playing well right now.
Although the Sharks and Giants are very similar, the NHL playoffs can be a much different beast than the MLB playoffs. Things can change at any time in these NHL playoffs, and the Giants seemed like a team of destiny from the start.
That’s not to say the Sharks don’t feel like a team of destiny, too, 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 be crowned “Team of Destiny” later.
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