[Editor's Note}: As most of you know, I don't have a lot of free time. I have a ton of it. So with the regular season winding down into it's final day, and the Sharks first round opponent still to be decided, two preview articles were created- one for the Anaheim Ducks (that link to memory lane is not for the faint of heart, lemme tell ya), and one for the St. Louis Blues which you are currently being prepped on. There's really no reason to post this other than the fact that we've got some Shark free hockey on our hands for about five months.
Enjoy. Because I sure as hell didn't.
If you remember way back to February (admittedly I have trouble remembering what I did last weekend, but that's for another time), we took a look at the bubble boys of the Western Conference in an attempt to see who the Sharks first round opponent might be.
It's funny how things change.
St. Louis wasn't even on the list. Now we've got a potential seven game series against one of the hottest teams in the league, one that has given us some headaches this season. It seems that everyone and their mother is pulling for them to stage the big upset. The feel good story of the year. Let's be clear- there's something to be said for a team who has had it's back up against the wall for the entire season, a team that has admirably fought tooth and nail to get to where they stand today.
There's also something to be said for the starving animal that has been licking it's chops for this moment all season long.
Blues fans will most likely quote the 2000 playoffs as an omen for the Sharks. How an 8 seed, a little engine that could, went toe to toe with a Presidents' Trophy winning club, and knocked them out in game seven. Payback's a bitch and all that.
Paying us back after nine years is a little haphazard in my opinion. Can you imagine? The interest rates alone....
We'll be hearing about The Kid Line, The Veteran Line- both are solid, and will pose problems for San Jose going forward. That will be touched on throughout this week. We'll be hearing about how, "No one wants to play the Blues right now, they're really on fire."
It's the NHL playoffs people. Do you want to take your chances with Ken Hitchcock? How about the Stanley Cup champs of two years ago? You're going to have to beat tough teams on the road to the Cup, there's no easy draws. Do you think that the Blues are ecstatic that they drew the Presidents' Trophy winners? Get real.
All of this talk is well and good. We've grown accustomed to the hand-wringing here in San Jose. It's part of our daily routine, and will continue to be our burden until the Stanley Cup makes it way down Santa Clara Street. The long road towards fulfilling that goal begins next week. But if anyone is questioning this team's desire to win, the roster Todd McLellan has in place, or the Sharks chances during the course of this series?
Pack up shop and go on home. We've got enough stress to deal with.
Welcome to the big dance SLGT. That field trip in February was fun, and I respect everyone from your site immensely; the writers, to the readers, to the commentors. We've had a great relationship this year. Solid people, all.
Early this week, let's get together and celebrate that. The game of hockey. The sheer wonder of the NHL playoffs. We'll raise our glasses high and toast the sweet hope that will encompass both of our respective organizations during the next two weeks. Talk a little smack, get all cozy with one another.
And Wednesday, when the drink has worn off and we're stumbling around looking for our socks, we'll think, "Hey. These guys are pretty cool even though they strung idunno723 up by his underwear last night. Maybe we can even sit down and watch a game together, share a few laughs."
However, as the vitamin B deficiency kicks in, and Diabolical Dehydration's claws begin to make their mark, we'll be itching to get home. Something just don't feel right. Drive safe and all. See ya on the flip side.
Because once that web browser pulls into the driveway, it will hit us like a Bruce Lee roundhouse right to the chops- what's about to happen is black or white. We'll shake hands after the series, the respect will always be there. Sometimes it's prudent to keep your enemies closer than your friends- but what happens when your friends have now become your enemies? How do you handle that?
Simple. Respectfully wish that they'll be the ones hitting the golf course in two weeks time.
And don't give them a goddamn inch.