When you sit through an entire 82 game season -- microanalyzing every minor play, tweak of the lineup, or blown call from an official – it can drive you to do crazy things if your team misses the playoffs. On that note, I’ve decided to throw my support behind the San Jose Sharks for these playoffs. That is, if I can stay awake past 10 PM EST.
Why the Sharks you ask? Here are 10 reasons why the San Jose Sharks are essentially Ottawa Senators West (but way better).
1. Both teams saw their franchise’s all-time leading scorer relinquish the captaincy. One was labelled a "god" whereas the other was labelled a "goat." Both teams resembled the Ancient Greeks in that Ottawa didn’t believe in a singular god, and San Jose knew the value of a goat.
2. Both teams saw their franchise’s second all-time leading scorer take over the captaincy. Unfortunately for the two fan bases, both number 19’s are slow, lazy, guilty of too many turnovers, and happen to be elite, point-per-game playmaking number one centers. Fun fact: Both Spezza and Thornton have had their phone numbers blocked by team Canada GM Steve Yzerman.
3. Both teams are coached by former Stanley Cup-winning Mike Babcock assistant coaches in Paul MacLean and Todd McLellan. Mike Babcock is the number one proponent of skilled players over goons in the bottom 6, so it’s evident both coaches learned nothing.
4. Both teams have been overshadowed by their two geographical rivals. Lucky for both teams, in the last 20 years, neither team’s rival fans have actually watched their team win a cup.
5. Both Craig Anderson and Antti Niemi are former Blackhawks. This season, both goaltenders outscored fellow former-Blackhawk Adam Burish.
6. Both teams have a top pairing defenceman turned first line forward, or at least that’s how local radio callers describe Erik Karlsson.
7. Both teams kind of lost their first Dany Heatley trade. Ottawa traded Marian Hossa and Greg "don’t you dare capitalize my last name" de Vries for Dany Heatley in 2005. Although Heatley was the better player short-term (50 in ‘07), the trade eventually blew up in Ottawa’s face, with Heatley demanding a trade to San Jose in 2010. Sens fans reluctantly welcomed former 50 goal-scorer Jonathan Cheechoo to the team, in addition to former 2 knee-holder Milan Michalek. Just like the first trade, Heatley was the better player short term, but time and German doctors would prove Milan Michalek as the better player in the end.
8. Both teams kind of won their second Dany Heatley trade. With Ottawa coming out on top with Michalek, San Jose attempted to follow suit by trading Heatley to Minnesota in exchange for former-Senator Martin Havlat. Neither Heatley nor Havlat have managed to stay in the lineup consistently this season, but I’ll give San Jose the edge in the deal because of Havlat’s wealth of experience in the press box.
9. *sigh* Both teams are playoff "chokers." Ottawa had made the playoffs 11 seasons in a row before a recent dip out of contenderism. In those 11 seasons, they won only 8 series, including losing to their biggest rival to the Toronto Maple Leafs 4 times. San Jose has made the playoffs for 10 straight seasons, or 16 times in the last 17 seasons. San Jose won a more impressive 10 series over those 10 seasons, but 3 losses in the conference finals earned them some fairly inappropriate nicknames that I was told not to repeat on this blog. The only of the two teams’ Stanley Cup Finals appearances came in the form of Ottawa losing to Anaheim in 5 games in 2007, which leads me to my final point:
10. Nobody likes Cory Perry.