|34-39-7, 75 points||53-16-11, 117 points
|14th in Western Conference
||1st in Western Conference
It's been a goddamned pleasure to watch this team for 80 games.
Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe will be playing tonight, meaning the hope for an extended playoff run is at the forefront of everyone's minds. All year the company line from the MSM (as well as this site, friends, and readers) has been, "The Sharks will be judged in the playoffs."
At the root of that argument, I agree. The last three seasons have been painful when it comes to the second round (what's that ol' saying? Ah, April flowers bring May showers, there it is). It's no surprise the fanbase, and most importantly the players, have been unhappy with those results.
Unfortunately, it's easy to get all tangled up in waiting for next week. I've been there. You've been there. Hell, we're there right now. These stomach butterfly's are going to cause some severe tornados any day now.
Digression. Eh. I guess that's what you guys are paying for.
San Jose Sharks. Regular season. What have you enjoyed the most out of this year? Here's four random ones I plucked out of a hat:
4) Winning with Worcester. Derek Joslin is solid, and will be a reliable bottom pairing guy in the future. Jamie McGinn may find his way onto the playoff roster, and if current trends hold, will be playing in San Jose next season. Brad Staubitz brings energy to the team night in night out, and delivered the best fight performance since Mickey the pikey. Cavanagh and Vesce have both made the most of their time up with big club.
The fact that the Sharks were able to deal with rotating injuries for nearly half this season (at the same time giving these aforementioned players valuable NHL minutes) and still amass 117 points up to this current moment speaks volumes about the organization.
3) The emergence of Milan Michalek's defensive capabilities. I think this article from earlier in the season sums it up nicely, but for those of who deathly afraid of linkage (unrelated to shrinkage), here's the gist of it: Michalek has seen a vast boom in PK time, and has committed himself to the defensive zone. $4.3M/per worried me a bit considering he was a "sideboards and circles" type guy for most of his time in San Jose, but he's been knockout this season.
2) The Blueline. Not much to be said that hasn't been said before, but this core has flat out blown me away. Vlasic has gone from "good with potential" to "franchise player". Boyle has speed and an uncanny knack to read the play. Murray has highlight hits. Ehrhoff has had flashes of brilliance which make you salivate at how great he could be. Luko has been solid, tailing off a tad lately but that's cool he'll pick it up go get em' man! Blake has a cannon and a great presence in front of the net. Even Semenov has made strides*.
This is the best defensive squad we have ever had in San Jose.
*Here's a Semenov related prediction from last season to emphasize how far he's come. On a side note, I've really been mailing those predictions in; this one's a damn near novel. On a second side note, I'm pretty sure they did give up the lead with 30 seconds left. On a third side note, no more freaking side notes.
Prediction: Sharks win 2-1. San Jose leads with under 30 seconds remaining, but Alexei Semenov (who managed to crack the line-up for reasons unknown) puts one past Nabokov into his own net. Coincidentally, his choice for the Calder Trophy is Niklas Backstrom.
Redemption comes in the shootout however, when Ron Wilson elects to have Semenov shoot in the final round to clinch the game (TSN later reports Wilson managed to down a fifth of Bacardi before the opening faceoff). Gliding casually down to the net, Semenov hits a rough patch in the ice, falls on his stomach, and manages to headbutt the puck in for the game winner.
1) Patrick Marleau. Funny story- when I formed the blogging juggernaut We Bleed Teal last season with my friend Dan Cavey (one post all time, sad story), we considered naming it, "Patty Is Our Captain" in the midst of all the rumors flying around that he would be traded. Our way of showing support. It was scrapped due to the fact that Doug Wilson had stopped returning our phone calls, and we didn't know what that meant.
Marleau does it all- scoring, backchecking, working the corners, stretching the defense, playing on the penalty kill.
He's the team MVP. No question in my book.
So what have you guys enjoyed most this season? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Prediction: San Jose meets Obama.