Boo serious analysis and statistics!
Niclas Wallin (ugh) vs. Niklas Kronwall
The only interesting thing about Wallin on his Wiki page is his old Hurricanes nickname, "The Secret Weapon," which he got due to his rare but critical offensive contributions. I'm not supposed to get into analysis here so all I'll say about that is that he's definitely been consistent about the whole "secret" part during his time with the Sharks, keeping his skills completely hidden from the opposition, his own team, and the fans.
Niklas Kronwall won the Eddie Shore award for top AHL defenceman during the lockout year. That's impressive I guess, but not that interesting. Is there anything else cool or funny, or perhaps a silly nickname we can mock?
Wow - Niclas Wallin wins in a shocker!
Sharks - 7
Wings - 6
Jason Demers vs. Ruslan Salei
Demers' Wiki page is short and boring, much like Niklas Kronwall. No jokes here everyone, sorry.
Ruslan Salei is from Belarus, which is already enough to beat Demers. Let's move on.
Sharks - 7
Wings - 7
Douglas Murray vs. Brian Rafalski
Douglas Murray is one of the Sharks superstars when it comes to Wikipedia strength. When you enter "Wiki douglas murray" into your search bar it asks you to specify which one you mean: the British political journalist and author that makes a living pissing off Islamic fundamentalists, the Swedish hockey player, or the Vietnam War vet/comic book writer. Even Murray's disambiguation page is cool!
Here are just a few highlights from the Wiki page for Douglas Murray (ice hockey):
- Murray's mom doesn't want people calling him "Doug," because when you say it with a Swedish accent it sounds like "Dog."
- Murray's nickname is "Crankshaft."
- Murray went to Cornell.
- Murray's grandfather is Swedish hockey player and Olympic bronze-medalist Lasse Björn.
- Murray's mom named all her children with English names just to be different.
- Murray is the co-founder of Uber Dispensing Company.
- Murray rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange in 2006.
Holy gosh, Douglas Murray is an interesting guy. Take note, Jason Demers!
Brian Rafalski has played in five Stanley Cup finals. While playing in the SM-liiga in Finland he became the first non-Finnish player to win that league's award for best player. When he finally came to the NHL he was a 26 year old rookie. Rafalski grew up in Michigan and was a Red Wings fan as a kid.
That's pretty impressive, I'll admit...but it's going to take more than that to defeat Douglas "Not Doug" "Crankshaft" "Possibly a British author" Murray.
Sharks - 8
Wings - 7
Ian White vs. Jonathan Ericsson
When Ian White came in to the league he was paired with Hal Gill, and they got the nickname of "Barney and Fred" due to the dramatic height difference between the two. White also won the WHL's version of the Lady Byng.
Jonathan Ericsson started his career as a center but was convinced to switch in juniors. He fought Corey Perry in the playoffs in 2009.
Sharks - 8
Wings - 8
Marc-Edouard Vlasic vs. Brad Stuart
Vlasic is nicknamed "Pickles" or "The Stork." He looks like a smug third-grader in the picture accompanying his article.
Brad Stuart used to play for the Sharks, and once scored two goals in 17 seconds, a Sharks record. His Wikipedia picture is him in an LA Kings practice jersey, which is an odd choice. He was one of the players traded to Boston in exchange for Joe Thornton in one of the stupidest things ever done by Boston, a city with a long history of doing stupid things.
Stuart edges out Vlasic here.
Sharks - 8
Wings - 9
Dan Boyle vs. Nicklas Lidstrom
Dan Boyle was undrafted, and was signed as a free agent by the Panthers in 1998. "Oops," said every other GM in the league.
As discussed in the first-ever Wiki-Sharks, Dan Boyle has apparently suffered from some Final Destination-style curse throughout his career. In 2007 in the locker room a skate fell and sliced three tendons in his wrist. I think I speak for everyone when I say: holy crap, dude.
Boyle didn't want to leave Tampa Bay but the Lightning pressured him to waive his no-trade clause by threatening to place him on waivers and let him get picked up by the Atlanta Thrashers. Playing for the Atlanta Thrashers is the bogeyman of the NHL.
During the 2004 Stanley Cup finals between the Lightning and the Flames an electrical fire in Boyle's house did a bunch of damage. That's such a freaky coincidence that if I were Dan Boyle and played for the Sharks I would never go anywhere near the beach.
Oh and one time during the playoffs Dan Boyle shot the puck into his own team's net. The series worked out okay after that though.
As for Nicklas Lidstrom...hey - I just noticed there are three defensemen named some variation of "Nicholas" in this series, and not one of them spells it correctly. Weird.
Anyways, obviously there is a lot of stuff on Lidstrom's Wiki page about how great he is, but that's not the point of all this, remember? I know he kicks butt at hockey, but has his house ever caught fire in an interesting way or anything?
There's a lot on the page about how he's the most successful European born and trained player ever, so that's cool. He broke his nose when a puck hit him in the face in the '08 preseason. Sort of notable, but certainly no "skate blade to the wrist."
Lidstrom was named an "Ambassador of Honor" by Sweden, which would probably be more impressive if I cared enough about Sweden to know that it isn't Norway, but I don't.
This is pretty cool: "As of the end of the 2009-10 season, Lidström has missed only 28 of a possible 1,440 regular-season team games (1 because of suspension)." That's definitely impressive.
If this were a competition based on how accomplished a player is, Lidstrom would take it for sure. But since it's really just arbitrarily comparing things about players that are possibly just made up by Wiki-editors, Dan Boyle wins!
I'll bet that makes the whole skate-blade-through-the-wrist-thing seem totally worth it, right Dan?
Sharks - 9
Wings - 9
We're STILL tied? Son of a...
Alright, here we go: the tie-breaker - the starting goalies.
Antti Niemi vs. Jimmy Howard
Antti Niemi has a disambiguation page, which is a good start in terms of interestingness. "Antti Niemi" can apparently refer to a Finnish footballer, a Finnish ice hockey goalie, or a Finnish ice hockey defenseman. I'm pretty sure I'm talking about the goalie, so we'll focus on his page.
"Niemi played junior-level hockey for Kiekko-Vantaa from 1998 until 2005, where he also worked part-time as a Zamboni driver." That's a strong opening, folks, and it's properly cited and everything! Unfortunately things go downhill from here; Niemi was another undrafted player, so that's notable, but the rest of the article is mostly about how he's a good goalie. Boring!
But wait? What's this? Jimmy Howard's Wikipedia is pretty boring too...in fact the only halfway-interesting thing about him is that he was given a Stanley Cup ring and was able to take the Cup around with him for a day despite not having played enough to get his name engraved on the Cup. That's pretty lame, Jimmy.
Antti Niemi, football superstar and undrafted Zamboni driver, wins it in OT!
Sharks - 10
Wings - 9
The Sharks will win the series!
Now that is how you do a series preview, folks.
Prediction for tonight: The Sharks play with intensity and a renewed commitment to defense, and Antti Niemi doesn't play like he did against the Kings. Sharks win 4-2.