So this is not like most Blackhawks-Sharks games in the past. Sure the Blackhawks seem to come into the TechCrunch Josh Constine Memorial Arena at least once a year and walk out with a 5 goal win. And most times it was something to feel good about. How many times did Hawks-Sharks have a ‘potential conference final matchup’ tag lazily slapped on it? We won’t talk about the one time that matchup actually happened. Sorry about that.
Now, the Sharks are bad. It pains me to say it because most people would like to see the Sharks be the team that comes out of the Pacific instead of the Ducks or the Kings. Those other two Battle of California members are doing what they always do. The Ducks are cruising to home ice which they’ll definitely squander immediately. The Kings are backing into the playoffs at which point most of their players will transform into supervillains - powers most of them probably picked up while in jail. Most of the Kings players have been in jail.
This should be a pretty good matchup with the Blackhawks sort of snipping points here and there. They aren’t playing *badly* - no team with a +37 goal differential can be considered bad. But they don’t feel like the same team they’ve been.
Patrick Sharp is a husk of a man, finally showing his age. Brad Richards is sagging across the finish line. A couple of new faces in Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen are figuring out their roles on the team. Michal Rozsival is the worst goddamn player in history. So there are some issues here, for sure.
The Sharks have tried to do something different, according to Doug Wilson, who continues to piss off his former captain and arguably the most disrespected superstar in history, in Joe Thornton. Different usually means good - but in Wilson’s case different means icing a 4th line of goons who have never seen a piece of earth they didn’t enjoy urinating on.
They’ve also mixed in a few of the Steampunk All-Stars such as Barclay Goodrow, Melker Karlsson, Baron Wolfthorn von Hapsburg, Elven Dinkerchud, Esquire, and Maximillian Dubloon. These young kids give new meaning to the Wild, Wild West.
All is not lost in San Jose. They’ve still got a shot at squeaking into the playoffs. They have to pass up perennial powerhouses Winnipeg and Minnesota to do it. Good luck.
Maybe a new mascot would help. Might I make a suggestion?
Blackhawks at Sharks
TV: No one in California watches hockey
Niemi gets another shutout for some reason.