Dan's Thought of the Day - 4/26/2013

Friday, 04.26.2013 / 10:08 AM PT
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / Great White Bites
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Who will the Sharks face in the Stanley Cup playoffs? Who do they want to face in the Stanley Cup playoffs? Let’s look at that moving target as of this moment, go through the possibilities, and decide.

As of this moment, the Western Conference field is not set. There are nine teams playing for eight spots. The Minnesota Wild can clinch a spot and eliminate Columbus if they win tonight against Edmonton in any fashion, and if that doesn’t happen, they’ll have another chance at Colorado on Saturday.

Detroit can get into the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive season if they get one point in their season finale against Dallas.

Columbus can get in if they win their last game against Nashville, but only if the Red Wings lose in regulation to Dallas. Then, the final team, either Minnesota or Detroit, would be determined by the outcomes of the last two Minnesota games. Detroit would need a lot of help to make it in that situation.

Has your head exploded yet?

Now, let’s look at the possible opponents, and render a decision as to which one you want to play.

The Sharks can still finish fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh in the Western Conference. Their potential opponents could be: Anaheim, Vancouver, St. Louis, or Los Angeles.

ST. LOUIS: It could be a setup to avenge last season’s WCQF defeat, but it would also involve the most travel for San Jose in the first round. St. Louis is a good sports town, and the Sharks have faced St. Louis four times in the playoffs, so there’s a longstanding rivalry there.

VANCOUVER: Another opportunity to avenge a stinging playoff defeat, this time the WCF round in 2011. Vancouver is a great city with passionate fans. It isn’t a long flight to VAN, either. It would be a great series.

LOS ANGELES and ANAHEIM: No explanation is really necessary, is it? These are the two big geographical rivals for the Sharks, it’s an easier travel situation, and either series would be a classic. The Sharks would get the chance to either knock out the defending Stanley Cup champions or would have a chance to avenge a bitterly disappointing playoff loss in 2009.

FINAL VERDICT: The Sharks want to finish the season with a winning note on the road, and that would give them their only chance to capture home ice with a fourth seed. But as to the opponent or the seeding, it really doesn’t matter. Let’s remember the lesson from last year, when the eighth-seeded Kings steamrolled through everyone to win the Stanley Cup. In the final analysis, winning the Stanley Cup is the only thing that matters, regardless of playoff seeding or opponent.

See you on the radio on Saturday in Los Angeles, and find out how it all turns out!




1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
3 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
4 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
5 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
6 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
7 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56


J. Pavelski 82 37 33 12 70
L. Couture 82 27 40 -6 67
J. Thornton 78 16 49 -4 65
B. Burns 82 17 43 -9 60
P. Marleau 82 19 38 -17 57
T. Wingels 75 15 21 -7 36
T. Hertl 82 13 18 -5 31
M. Nieto 72 10 17 -12 27
M. Karlsson 53 13 11 -3 24
M. Vlasic 70 9 14 12 23
A. Niemi 31 23 7 .914 2.59
A. Stalock 8 9 2 .902 2.62
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