I think it's important to note that all 4 of those teams made the playoffs last year:
Boston - went to the Cup Finals losing to Chicago in 6 games Detroit - Lost in the 2nd round to eventual Cup Champs Chicago in 7 games Ottawa - Lost to Pittsburgh in the 2nd round Montreal - Lost to Ottawa in the 1st round
Goals For: 8
Goals Against: 4
Players injured, not playing: Boyle, Burns, Torres, Burrish, Havlat
Discipline and patience - those are two of the characteristics the Sharks showed in a defensive gem as the Sharks shut out the Red Wings at Joe Louis and won the game in the shootout.
Spectacular - the save Neimi made on Bertuzzi to secure the win.
Stifling - The Sharks did that to the Bruins out-shooting them 39-17 only to get a taste of their own 'stifling' medicine by Tukka Rask who stole the game for the hometown Bruins.
Buzzer beater - we see it in basketball all the time but not very often in hockey. Unfortunately for the Sharks, who were the last team in the NHL without a regulation loss, the Bruins scored with 0.8 seconds left to win the game 2-1.
Suffocating - that's what the Sharks did to Montreal's offense as the visiting Sharks shut out the Habs 2-0 on Hockey Night In Canada.
Chien chaud - the hot dogs in Montreal are terrific. If I've said it once I've said it a million times, it's all about the bun and they toast the buns there.
Gumption - what the Sharks showed as they played about 20 hours after an emotional win in Montreal to defeat the Senators 5-2.
Perseverance - Alex Stalock getting his 1st NHL start at the age of 26 after overcoming a career threatening injury.
I don't think elaboration is needed in my blog, or extensive explanation, or reasoning. It's way to simple for that.
Guys, stop hitting each other from behind and stop hitting each other in the head. No one wants to see someone lay on the ice unconscious for over 2 minutes, especially knowing that person has family and friends watching the game.
3 stretchers in 1 week means we are getting closer to someone getting paralyzed, having a career ending injury of God forbid, dying.
Do you really want to live with the guilt of being that player, you know, the one who will forever be known as the player who paralyzed another player or ended someone's career, or the worst scenario of all, the God forbid scenario?
I know the game is played on the edge ... I was there! But at some point, it's not worth it! It's a game, a sport and you make a lot of money.
Be smarter guys, if not for each other, for all the family members and friends out there that care for you.
A Breakdown of Tomas Hertl's First Career Goal
I think the most fan friendly change this year is playing a home and away with every team in the other conference. The Sharks first Eastern Conference foe this year is the New York Rangers on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the SAP Center.
Now that the Sharks play every team in the East twice this year, what should we expect from the Eastern Conference in the 2013-14 season?
Four of the Original 6 teams reside in the Atlantic Division and it’s possible all of them make the playoffs – they all did last year however Detroit was in the West.
Boston, Detroit, Ottawa and Toronto should all make the playoffs, barring significant injuries although that didn’t stop Ottawa last year.
Montreal and Tampa Bay are my tweeners meaning if they get on a roll could make a push to make the playoffs or just miss out.
I don’t see how Florida and Buffalo can make the playoffs this year. Florida is intriguing and could be a tweener if they get great goaltending.
The two worst days, lockouts not included, of the year in hockey (NHL) have been yesterday and today. That's because it's finalize the roster day, which means you have to let the last cuts know they didn't make the team.
I will put it very bluntly from someone who has been there: It's not fun being so close to the NHL and getting cut! It happened to me my first three years in pro hockey, and the sting got worse every year because I was that much closer.
And, I sat across from good people, their eyes told me it wasn't a fun day for them either. This is the human side, and very compelling side, of sports.
So to all the guys who came that close, awesome job in camp. Good luck and keep working for that dream.
The photo below is a snapshot of my hockey journey, starting at St. Lawrence University in 1985 before retiring in 1999 after 10 years of pro hockey. In the snapshot is 3 consecutive years of getting cut during training camp for the Quebec Nordiques (now I'm aging myself by mentioning Quebec City ... I hope the beautiful city gets a team in the NHL someday.)
Jamie Baker (@Bakes_Jamie13)
It's time for hockey fans on the east coast to recognize how good Marc-Edouard Vlasic is. My two cents has him making Team Canada to represent the storied hockey nation at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Vlasic defied the odds at his first pro training camp by making the Sharks team even though he was more or less penciled in to play one more year of Junior. From the moment Vlasic played in the NHL it was obvious he had tremendous defensive skills, from anticipation to footwork and of course his great stick which he uses so well.
We have watched Vlasic grow as a player and become more assertive as he has gotten stronger and gained more experience. He is someone who makes tough plays look easy because of his tremendous positioning and cherishes playing against the top players from other teams.
It's hard to believe that Pickles is only 26 and has already played 519 regular season NHL games and 79 NHL playoff games. The fact is the best is yet to come as he is just now reaching his prime. It will be fun to watch him continue to impact games and help the Sharks pursue the coveted Stanley Cup.
Vlasic has become a quiet leader and an integral part of the puzzle in San Jose. Above is a video from a couple of seasons ago where Vlasic shuts down the Avalanche forward Matt Duchene with his tremendous skating, stick and defensive positioning. He makes it look so simple!!!
Pickles, good luck with your tryouts for Team Canada, my ballot is for you to make the team this year.
The schedule is out which gets the juices flowing in anticipation for the 2013-14 NHL season. Whenever the schedule is released it means it's time to circle the calendar for specific games, home-stands and road trips.
Here are ones that I have circled and look forward to.
* Two of the first four games are against the John Tortorella coached Vancouver Canucks, the team the Sharks swept in the first round in the 2013 playoffs. You can add some intrigue in the Sharks 3rd game when the NY Rangers come to town, coached by ex-Canuck coach Alain Vignault.
* Oct 21 the Sharks play in Detroit for the only time this year now that the Red Wings are in the Eastern Conference. From there the Sharks head to Boston, Montreal (on Saturday = Hockey Night in Canada), Ottawa before finishing up the first lengthy road trip in LA who knocked out the Sharks in a classic seven game series this past spring. If you can swing it, the Boston, Montreal and Ottawa games would make for one memorable hockey road trip.
* Nov 10 to 15 is a classic western road trip as the Sharks play Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton before finishing the five game road trip in the windy city, home of the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions.
* Nov 21 Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and company play in San Jose followed by the return of ex-Shark fan favorite Ryane Clowe on Nov 23 as the Devils play their only game at SAP Center.
* Speaking of ex-Sharks, on December 10 the legendary Evgeni Nabokov and the NY Islanders will be playing at SAP Center.
It was 6 years ago to the day, on July 1, 2007 that Joe Thornton signed his first 3-year extension with the San Jose Sharks. Joe could have waited a year to test the free agency market but instead took a deal that paid him fair market value but also left money on the table for the Sharks to sign other key players like Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle to long term deals.
That’s Joe Thornton; he’ll try and do what he can to make his team better. He has the rare combination of size, skill, hockey sense and toughness that make him such a complete hockey player. It’s easy to take for granted how good Joe really is, especially his on-ice vision and passing ability. He makes plays every game that most players in the NHL can’t make, and it’s usually setting someone up for a great scoring chance.
Joe’s stats and individual accomplishments including winning the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP are well documented, but there are other factors that show Joe’s team first mentality and why he has been such a huge part of the San Jose Sharks organization since being traded on Nov 30, 2005.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN summed up this series as well as anyone, "Kings claim epic California battle -- barely".
Someone had to lose this incredibly close, well fought series where every player that played laid it on the line and paid the price. This was the 'no time no space' series accentuated with a lot of ice bags.
Darryl Sutter, whose post game pressers always have a level of intrigue summed up the Sharks very concisely, "they're as good as us."
That doesn't make any of the Sharks players, coaches, management or its loyal fan base feel any better. As Logan Couture said on Twitter this morning, "Today Sucks".
Today is not about analyzing what went wrong because you'll drive yourself crazy. The difference in this series is one goal, a flukey power play goal after a questionable interference call on Brent Burns. Don't get mad at the refs, in the end the penalties and calls evened out.
The closer you get, the bigger the disappointment. I equate it to hiking a mountain - the higher the mountain, the tougher the climb, the more likelihood you won't make it to the top, but when you do make it to the top it's the best feeling in the world. Take the easy short hill over the mountain and you can get to the top but the view and satisfaction isn't the same.
The Sharks will get to the top of the mountain one day. Winning the Stanley Cup is one of the hardest trophies in sports to win. It will take a breakthrough performance from a breakthrough group to do it, just like the Kings did last year.
As Dustin Brown said after last nights game, "I didn't know this until June 12 last year, but you don't know what you're really playing for until you win. You don't know the feeling; you don't know what it's like until you win it."
It's no real surprise based on Brown's quote that the 5 remaining teams in the playoffs (4 after tonights Chicago vs Detroit game 7) are the last 5 Stanley Cup Champions. They know the feeling and want to feel it again.
The additions of Brad Stuart, Adam Burrish, Scott Gomez and Larry Robinson as Assistant Coach know, because they have all won Stanley Cups. Someday Logan Couture is going to know that feeling because he is an amazing player and leader and has the ability to will his team to victory.
Today's feeling of "this sucks" is part of the process but every player on the Sharks can hold their head up high because they battled adversity all year and were a fun team to watch.
As Todd McLellan said yesterday morning before game 7, "Nothing more powerful in sports than people coming together and playing for each other."
The Sharks did that and more this year and it was incredible to watch. Maybe they didn't make it to the top of the mountain but it was fun watching them try and will make it all the more enjoyable when they do get to the top. And they will, because they have the will.
Long live Sharks Territory!