The most important of all the first-round playoff matchups, that of the Sharks vs. the Kings, will begin on Thursday. Until then we'll be drumming our fingers, reading series previews, sleepwalking through our jobs and, if you are RudyKelly, molesting children.
Over on "the Twitter," Rudy and I have already begun trash-talking each other, the opposing team, and the opposing city. It's great fun - please join us!
If you are a Sharks fan like me and have trouble summoning up a great deal of hate for the group of lovable losers that makes up the Los Angeles Kings, go read the article I wrote earlier this year in which I provide you perfectly valid reasons to hate all their stupid King faces.
Now, regarding the series itself: it will be awesome. Everybody, especially ignorant idiots, will be writing in-depth series previews this week. Most will be the same worthless cliches repeated over and over again, so I'm not going to waste your time or mine with trying to go into a great deal of detail here.
This is all you need to know about the Sharks - Kings series:
1. The Sharks have better offense and their secondary scoring will be key.
2. The Kings have better defense and Quick is a good goalie.
3. The Kings have some injuries that really hurt the team.
4. Some Sharks are injured too, but because they're not pussies they'll probably play anyway.
There you go. That's it, pretty much. NHL.com has a not-too-annoying preview up, so you can go read that if you want more.
I hope all you Sharks fans reading this are in playoff mode!
You know what that means, right? As we learned last year, it means three things:
1. Happy Loving Thoughts
*Yay for California! We're so great! Congrats to the Kings and the Ducks on amazing seasons!
*Wow, good work Corey Perry: The Rocket Richard trophy! We haven't had the winner of that in the Pacific Division since Cheechoo, right? It's been too long - the Pacific rules!
*I'm so glad the Sharks turned their season around. They've really shown so much heart this year, and they're really looking like the kind of composed, powerful team that can go all the way!
2. Random Acts of Kindness
Last year for this part I donated some stuff through Child's Play to sick kids in Oakland. This year I'm using Child's Play again, but this time I went to the Child's Play page for the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles to find something to give to kids who are not only sick, but have to deal with living in the nightmarish city of Los Angeles.
I went browsing through their requested items and I found one that was a perfect fit: they wanted EA's NHL 11!
That's pretty fucking expensive, kids, and I'm no Dan Ellis, but there you go. Have a blast!
As an extra bonus, I'm currently signed up for a year of Amazon's extra-special delivery service, so I upgraded the shipping on this game: they'll get it on Wednesday.
3. Trust and Faith in your Ability to Deal with Whatever Comes Along
This is the easiest one. The Sharks have put together an incredible run through the second half of the year, and they've shown that they won't be slowed down by any obstacles in their way. This is a team that can pile on goals or battle back when they're behind. Even if you shut down their amazing top line they still have twenty-goal-scorers throughout the lineup. They're stacked with Olympians, all-stars, and young stars, and their goalie won the cup last year.
Don't worry, people: the Sharks will win this.
Prediction: Doughty and the Kings work hard to keep Joe Thornton under control, and he only manages three points in the series. Meanwhile Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture score like the dickens. Sharks win in five games.
See you on Thursday!