The San Jose Sharks will start their series against the Anaheim Ducks tonight. There are some concerns, that may turn to outright fears, but for now, we mostly feel... good? We think? What is happening?
We popped in and out of our Slack channel last night to talk about this series. With a bit of editing, here’s how the Fear the Fin staff is looking to the Sharks’ first-round match up:
Sie Morley: So. Biggest concern going into this series has to be goaltending, right?
Demetrius Kyle: No defense
Jones has a history of performing way above his regular season standard. He, I think, has the rep/tag of “playoff performer”
Sie Morley: Wait, you’re saying Brent Burns isn’t enough for defense?
Erik Johnsgard: Are we relatively confident that John Gibson can play more than 20 minutes without tearing an everything?
Sie Morley: I mostly meant that Anaheim is gonna kill the Sharks in the goalie battle
If Gibson gets injured then the Sharks face a back up and well.
We know how that goes
Bryan Del Fava: Ryan Miller has been... good? Wow
Demetrius Kyle: They both have for sure. But Ryan Miller: Playoffs isn’t something we’ve seen in a while
Erik Johnsgard: Miller has been good this year, but Gibson has been elite.
Tyler Elson: Gibson seems to struggle in playoffs, though. He’s only 11-9-0 in his career, so at least the Sharks have that to look forward to..?
Demetrius Kyle: Also the health of Gibson is definitely a question mark
Bryan Del Fava: Reto Berra is their backup right now right?
If Gibson is still injured?
Demetrius Kyle: I think so? They are super screwed if Gibson is out and Miller goes down
Bryan Del Fava: Kevin Boyle hasn’t been too bad for the Gulls, but he’s never played an NHL game. Easy to see why when their organization seems to love their goalie depth
Sie Morley: I can see the Sharks going into Game One and getting frustrated when they can’t score
Erik Johnsgard: Ah, the tried and true Sharks 55-shot-4-1 loss strategy.
Demetrius Kyle: Maybe. This is a veteran heavy team so I think the expectation of 2-1 games and similar is already there
Erik Fowle: Biggest problem is the Sharks defense is not good
Offense is pretty stellar. Jones should be fine.
Demetrius Kyle: This isn’t say the Jets or Leafs, who may get very antsy when they aren’t scoring. The Sharks know how to playoffs
Sie Morley: Except for Evander Kane, whose penalty differential is.....lol
Erik Fowle: Gibson is very good and Ryan Miller has played well
Bryan Del Fava: Paul Martin over a healthy(?) Joakim Ryan. That’s how bad it is on D
Also, we can’t talk D without mentioning the burial of Tim Heed
Demetrius Kyle: Kane would fit in with the ducks who are very heavily penalized
Sie Morley: Yeah, definitely looking forward to the dumb penalties they plan on taking
Demetrius Kyle: My counter point to the San Jose defense isn’t good is to Google the 2017 Penguins defense crew. Schultz, Maata, Dumoulin, Hainsey, Ian Cole,
That’s a god awful crew
The San Jose power play has to score. It’s very good and if they inflict pain on the PP this will be a short series
Bryan Del Fava: I’ll actually be shocked if they get more than two power play goals this series
Demetrius Kyle: Anaheim takes A LOT of penalties
Sie Morley: The Winnipeg/Minnesota game only had three penalties total
It’s gonna be weird to flip to Anaheim taking six penalties tomorrow
Demetrius Kyle: Haha, yes. And San Jose is very disciplined. The special teams battle could make quick work of this series
Also, it is jarring flipping on Kings/Knights and seeing how you can tell it’s playoff hockey. Aggressive, extra hitting, everything seems more intense
Sie Morley: So last year was a wash because San Jose died at the end of the season and we knew nothing would come of playoffs
Demetrius Kyle: Viking funeral in Edmonton lol
Sie Morley: But 2016, the biggest issue came to speed and forcing physicality
Have the Sharks resolved that?
Demetrius Kyle: Weirdly yes? Wilson has added no face punchers and general low skill, high physicality guys. The one guy he did add that has physicality is also really fast in Kane
Sie Morley: Plus there’s Timo
and Brenden Dillon isn’t slogging around Roman Polak
Bryan Del Fava: I did not like the Eric Fehr trade one bit, I thought that we had no business trying to play a guy who had just been loaned to the AHL
I was dead wrong. He’s been great on the fourth line
Demetrius Kyle: Yeah the Dillon-aissance has been great and also gets him away from being the hitz guy
Agreed Bryan, that Fehr trade has been excellent
Bryan Del Fava: Goodrow-Fehr-Hansen, when healthy, has been one of my favorite lines that the Sharks have used all season
Joe Cuevas: I’d say it was Fehr
Sie Morley: Fehr has been the best surprise
Erik Johnsgard: Speed may be less of a factor against the Ducks. The only guy I’ve seen consistently slow the game down to his level like Joe Thornton is Ryan Getzlaf.
I think he might be a wizard.
Joe Cuevas: Fehr was down in San Diego for a while and looked pretty good here. Clearly here because of a Center logjam.
Bryan Del Fava: Yep, I vividly remember him scoring against us a few times at the Tank
Sie Morley: Trashbag Ryan #1
Demetrius Kyle: The Ducks have fast guys, but play a “slow it down, bang it out” Carlyle-style, so I’m not worried about the speed element in series one in particular, though I do believe San Jose is firmly faster
Bryan Del Fava: I have to assume Kesler’s another one
Erik Johnsgard: Kesler may very well be held together by 2x4s and rubber cement at this point.
Sie Morley: Kesler is Trashbag Ryan #2, in fact
Demetrius Kyle: There’s a very real universe where San Jose comes out in Game One, throws on a beat down, and the Ducks get injured and pack it in
Sie Morley: “slow it down bang it out” title of Randy Carlyle’s sex tape
The Sharks have been good against the Ducks this season
But I feel like with all of their injuries, that’s hardly a measuring stick
Joe Cuevas: Especially given how large a factor injuries were for Anaheim early this season, I believe in Kyle’s reality
Especially in playoffs hockey players will play when “playable” rather than actually health
Sie Morley: So the key to this series is.........murder?
Demetrius Kyle: .............yes
Joe Cuevas: A murder of ducks
Erik Johnsgard: Murder most fowl
Bryan Del Fava: Making A Murderer Season 2 confirmed
Joe Cuevas: It’s like crows but with more Ryans
Bryan Del Fava: This time it’s on Peter DeBoer
Joe Cuevas: I mean, PDB spent time in Jersey
Bryan Del Fava: Are you implying he’s in the Mafia
Joe Cuevas: I’m not not implying that.
Sie Morley: [Hamilton voice] everything is legal in New Jersey
Demetrius Kyle: Hasso Plattner is German, they’ve never done anything wrong
Joe Cuevas: Honda Center. Dawn. Sticks drawn.
Sie Morley: ....you’re on
Demetrius Kyle: Who would win an Anchorman-style brawl
Bryan Del Fava: I like the sound of this, Kyle
Sie Morley: Okay, but on the real, if murder isn’t the key to this series, what is?
Demetrius Kyle: Special teams
If the Ducks continue to take penalties, San Jose’s power play is good enough to end this series
Bryan Del Fava: But can they live up to those expectations?
Demetrius Kyle: WE ARE IN A SHARKS SLACK, BRYAN DON’T SAY THAT
Sie Morley: We are TRYING to STAY POSITIVE
Joe Cuevas: Wasn’t Paul Maclean running the Ducks’ special teams for a while? I don’t think he’s there anymore
Sie Morley: I think leveraging speed against the Getzlaf line is a big one
Erik Johnsgard: Line matching will be tough on the road. Then again. Randy Carlyle.
Bryan Del Fava: F*** OK, that was the realist in me
Even though I’m a ridiculous optimist at times
Yeah, Anaheim’s lines have been crazy
Things escalated to the point where Derek Grant was on the first line at one point
Demetrius Kyle: Rackell-Getzlaf-Perry
I am not scared of that
Erik Johnsgard: I am
Sie Morley: Silfverberg and Kase
They scare me
Erik Johnsgard: That third line will be for real.
Demetrius Kyle: Meier is about HANDLE Ondrej Kase
Bryan Del Fava: Is that Brett or Nick Ritchie
Joe Cuevas: Nick
Demetrius Kyle: Inferior Ritchie
Bryan Del Fava: Yeah, Brett’s in Dallas, huh
Joe Cuevas: Brett is on the Stars, so like, I’m still not scared
Erik Johnsgard: He will struggle to make a mark on this series from Dallas.
Sie Morley: Brett Ritchie, surprising MVP of the series
Demetrius Kyle: San Jose has a big boy to handle all lines
Various fourth line bigmans
For instance, none of those scare me like Pearson-Carter-Toffoli or Anze Kopitar
Sie Morley: That’s definitely fair
Demetrius Kyle: LA currently has a line of Clifford-Thompson-Mitchell....... Lol
Sie Morley: Thought: losing home ice. How do we feel?
Bryan Del Fava: Not happy about that
Erik Johnsgard: Totally unconcerned.
Joe Cuevas: Oh yeah, we lost home ice, didn’t we?
Bryan Del Fava: But I don’t think it matters too much
Joe Cuevas: I was considering driving up to Anaheim for a watch party, so I’m okay with it?
Sie Morley: Final prediction for the series? Bold prediction for the series?
I said Sharks in five
My bold prediction is Timo is the leading scorer of the series
Bryan Del Fava: I’m going Sharks in six
Demetrius Kyle: Sharks in six
Bold prediction: Sharks average four goals a game and light up Ryan Miller/John Gibson
Joe Cuevas: Sharks in five
Bold prediction: Sharks take one of the first two Ponda games and Reto Berra makes an appearance
Bryan Del Fava: Bold prediction: Couture dominates this series
Erik Johnsgard: I said Ducks in seven. On the bright side, I’m historically terrible at this.
Bold prediction: six overtime periods.
Sie Morley: Not bold enough, Bryan
Demetrius Kyle: Erik J, get out
Bryan Del Fava: Oh, even bolder?
Erik Johnsgard: I’ve been hurt too many times.
Bryan Del Fava: Logan Couture hat trick in a Ponda game
Erik Fowle: Henrique/Kase/Ritchie is a very good line
Timo and Co. will have trouble scoring vs them
Ryan Holte: Sharks in seven.
Bold prediction: Chris Tierney scores the series-deciding goal.
Sie Morley: There we go!
Demetrius Kyle: Cobra Kai!
Erik Fowle: I think Kane and Pavs will be okay vs Manholm
Couture and Vlasic will have trouble vs Getzlaf
And fourth line will come in hot because the Ducks fourth line is garbo
Manholm will play 26 minutes a night
Demetrius Kyle: Erik F, live from our Hawaii Bureau
Sie Morley: There’s a ten minute delay getting Fowle’s thoughts
Demetrius Kyle: Eric Fehr: playoff hero?!?
Erik Fowle: Yes
Erik Johnsgard: Lindholm is a friggin’ invisibility cloak. They just toss him over a forward line and they disappear.
Erik Fowle: Although, that line is offensively deficient
Bryan Del Fava: Somehow the Ducks have Francois Beauchemin. Again.
Sie Morley: Eric Fehr D*** Trick
Demetrius Kyle: The Ducks have one defensive pair
Erik Fowle: Yeah, but I think offense wins out and Donkey/Pavs/Kane is an offensive vision
Demetrius Kyle: Manson-Hampus is legit AF
Erik Fowle: Yuup. One very good pair and three very good lines
Ryan Holte: Bolder prediction: Randy Carlyle punches an official after game three.
Erik Fowle: Yeah, that’s Manholm
Sie Morley: Jesus, Ryan
Demetrius Kyle: Beauchemin-Montour is trash on ice
Erik Fowle: Yes
Sie Morley: Oh, you know what. Over-under on Joakim Ryan appearances?
Erik Fowle: Their bottom pair might be okay at defense
Demetrius Kyle: Peterson Welinski is f***ing horrendous
Erik Fowle: 1.5
Ryan Holte: 1.5
Erik Johnsgard: Montour is good. It’s just that Beauchemin has been clinically dead for four years.
Demetrius Kyle: Under lol
Bryan Del Fava: Under :(
Ryan Holte: Lol
Joe Cuevas: Under, dawg
Demetrius Kyle: If the Sharks are winning, Pete keeps ‘er steady
Erik Fowle: I think Cobra is a good prediction. Ondrej Kase is my series MVP if the Ducks win
Demetrius Kyle: If the Sharks get in trouble, he’ll lean on his vets and do some ancillary roster jerk off session with like Hansen in/Labanc out lol
Oh, we should pick a series MVP
Bryan Del Fava: Ducks: Silfverberg
Erik Johnsgard: Ducks: Rakell
Sie Morley: Realistically?
Ryan Holte: Sharks: Couture
Demetrius Kyle: Sharks: Donskoi
Cami Hong: Ducks: Rakell
Erik Fowle: Sharks: Burns
Ryan Holte: I want a Randy Carlyle meltdown soooooo bad
Joe Cuevas: Sharks: Hertl
Demetrius Kyle: Carlyle gets the solid red wave, lol. He just starts turning a darker rouge
Erik Fowle: lol. Timo’s first playoff multigoal game comes Game Three back in San Jose with the series even at one
Sie Morley: The timeline we deserve
Erik Fowle: Gibson kills it Game One, but reinsures himself
Bryan Del Fava: Evander’s first playoff goal comes in Game Two
Erik Fowle: Kane gets shut down Games 1-2 and the media starts freaking out about how he’s not playoff tested yet
But when the Sharks have home ice, he goes nuts
Okay, I’m gonna go drink
It’s been a pleasure
Demetrius Kyle: I am super for the kids with no scars avenging our worn, sad souls
Kane, Labanc, Meier, Donskoi, Hertl (sorta), Jones, Ryan
Sie Morley: I like this fanfiction Fowle wrote us
Ryan Holte: While sitting on the bench, Corey Perry gnaws on a dead pigeon that he found behind a dumpster in the parking lot
Erik Johnsgard: Ryan Getzlaf fights a teenager again.
Demetrius Kyle: Little known fact: Getzlaf needs a fresh diaper at each intermission
Bryan Del Fava: Carlyle is fired midway through a blowout
Joe Cuevas: Reto Berra gets invited to play for Switzerland at Worlds and refuses a Ducks call up
Sie Morley: Okay side note, this is a true fact, Jamie Benn is so sweaty that he changes his underwear between periods
That’s a for real thing
Demetrius Kyle: That’s really gross lol
Sie Morley: Yup
Demetrius Kyle: I played with a guy who had multiple shorts and stuff so he could swap at halftime lol
It’s super gross in person
Sie Morley: Okay, we gotta find a way to wrap this up
Demetrius Kyle: Cup predictions!
Teams, winner, length
Sie Morley: Sure!
I have Sharks and Bruins
Which is just a wishful thing
I think the Bruins could win the Cup this year
Bryan Del Fava: Jets and Bruins, realistically
Joe Cuevas: Sharks and Bruins and I’m wearing my Worcester Sharks jersey through all six games
Demetrius Kyle: Sharks over Capitals in seven. F*** it.
Bryan Del Fava: Jets in seven due to a McAvoy injury
Erik Johnsgard: I have Perds over Bolts in five
Sie Morley: Bruins in six over Sharks
Joe Cuevas: And then the Bruins win off a weird bounce
Cami Hong: Bruins and Preds, with Bruins winning in six
Ryan Holte: Leafs beat the Jets in seven. America forgets about hockey, and Canada burns.