Well. Anything happen last night? How are we all feeling around here?
While we await the return of second-round playoff action to HP Pavilion (and hopefully two consecutive Jonathan Quick meltdown), you may be occupying your time by checking in on the other series out east. If you're like me, unless a series is the perfect mix of skill and grit, it's hard to watch a neutral match-up. For the Eastern Conference, this is particularly true since we wind up not rooting for/against potential playoff opponents.
But never fear, Sharks faithful. There's a teal reason to cheer for each of the remaining Eastern Conference teams. Let's take a trip down memory lane with players that stole your hearts (and your money, if you bought their jerseys).
New York Rangers: Ryane Clowe
Ah, Ryane Clowe -- a player as inconsistent as the myth version of Patrick Marleau, except with the magnificent ability to cheat in the middle of a game. At his peak, Clowe was an immovable object along the boards, a strong crease presence, and a dynamite shootout specialist. At his worst, well, he sure could help win the shootout. Still, the oft-injured Clowe was a fan favorite despite his diminishing returns.
Ryane Clowe Flashback: This old Sharks segment.
Day in the Life - Ryane Clowe (1/3) (via streakypro)
Ottawa Senators: Milan Michalek
The king of San Jose knee injuries, Michalek was a fine speedy two-way forward for the Sharks who never quite lived up to his first-round potential until he left in the Dany Heatley trade. Watching Michalek score 35 goals for the Senators while playing strong on both sides of the puck -- and while Heatley struggled in teal was particularly frustrating, though the injury bug followed Michalek to the Canadian capital (he missed 20 games in this year's shortene season). Now one of Ottawa's top-line forwards, the Sharks sure could have used him instead of the sequence of deals that inevitably stuck them with Martin Havlat.
Milan Michalek Flashback: Ol' Milan wasn't just about speed and finesse. Sometimes he just wanted to sock Corey Perry in the face real good. Can you blame him?
Corey Perry vs Milan Michalek (via adamshockeysite)
Pittsburgh Penguins: Douglas Murray
Oh, Crankshaft, our supermutant defenseman capable of pouring our beer and drinking it too -- all while banging Tiger Woods' ex and delivering some of the biggest hits in Sharks history. Douglas "Don't Call Me Doug" Murray was never the fleetest of foot and the last two seasons saw a decline following a few years of being Dan Boyle's partner. Still, it's hard to have any hard feelings about a dude who could destroy opposing forwards AND pass an Ivy League class.
Douglas Murray Flashback: Not really a look back, but here's his LinkedIn profile.
Boston Bruins: Joe Thornton
"The Sharks now have another Thornton: Joe Thornton from the Boston Bruins." -- Randy Hahn during the San Jose/Dallas intermission where The Trade was announced.
Some Bruins fans claim that Boston would have never won the Stanley Cup had they kept Joe Thornton, and there may be some truth in that. Without bottoming out, the Bruins may have never assembled the roster and coaching staff that won the 2011 Cup...but maybe they would have won two Cups WITH him. It's a bit hard to tell since there's no player-for-player move that directly built the Cup team. However, we do know that Joe Thornton has been Mr. Everything for the Sharks, and his elevated performance in all three zones, has shown a true evolution into an all-around player. A surefire future Hall Of Famer, there's no doubt that Thornton. It all started with an exceedingly lopsided deal coming from Beantown, and for that, Sharks fans are eternally grateful.
Joe Thornton Flashback: Everyone probably remembers Jumbo's first shift with that rocket off the post in Buffalo, but here's the actual Randy-and-Drew segments against Dallas when it happened.
Joe Thornton trade 11-30-2005 (via Puckguy14)