[Q] What did the Predators and Nashville fans learn about the Sharks? What are other teams going to need to do to get past San Jose in the playoffs?
[A] I think opponents are going to have to match San Jose stride for stride with the depth that San Jose has. The Sharks are not a one-horse team. They've got good goaltending with Nabokov and Toskala. We've seen that. They've got a defense corps that I think is very underrated. They play a good solid style of game. They've got toughness back there. They've got quickness. They've got guys that can shoot the puck. So I like their defense corps immensely.
And their forwards--suddenly they had guys that coaches wish would step up like this. Everybody's been waiting for Marleau to come out of his cocoon. Well suddenly Patrick Marleau came out of his cocoon. Everybody knew what Joe Thornton was doing. Everybody knew what Jonathan Cheechoo was doing. But suddenly, Scott Thornton became a force to be reckoned with on the ice. The youngster Bernier suddenly came out of nowhere and was flying around. Mark Smith. All names you didn't hear of--they're not household names--they suddenly stepped up their game immensely.
So what that gave San Jose was, they were a very, very good team that now emerged into a good solid playoff team simply because these guys picked up the pace, picked up their game and gave them all kinds of depth. I keep saying, in the playoffs, you need depth.
Thomas Vokoun was out, and Steve Sullivan and Marek Zidlicky were far from 100%, but the Nashville Predators are going to be dangerous next season. They need to re-sign a player or two, and bring in some more size, but they will be a team to look out for next year.
Unrelated Note: An outsider's view of attending a Mighty Ducks game at Arrowhead Pond was posted here by Hockey Dirt.