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Sharks Gameday: Constellations are bullshit

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Playoff narrative hot takes.

Pavs and Burns react to the sight of St. Louis fans.
Pavs and Burns react to the sight of St. Louis fans.
Harry How/Getty Images

The Sharks have won exactly 3 games in their 3 previous appearances in the Western Conference Finals, for a 0.250 winning percentage. Fun fact: every single opponent went on the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Blackhawks went on to win the Cup!

The Blues have an even worse history here, as they've only appeared in 2 Conference Finals, and lost both, in addition to 3 Cup Finals appearances from 1968-70 (their first 3 years in the league) where they won zero games. Keep in mind that winning the Cup in those years meant winning 3 rounds instead of today's 4. And 3 rounds was a dramatic step up from the 2 rounds that all those amazing Original 6 teams worked so hard to get through before claiming their Cups (4 out of 6 teams qualified for the playoffs before the 1967 expansion). The NHL in the Original 6 era was basically an adult recreational league that was super racist.

Anyway, the point is there's an avalanche of Hot Taek articles right now about how the Blues and Sharks are fighting not only each other but History, and the proper response to any of this is the hand wanking motion of your choice. Because playoff history narratives are the stupidest way of analyzing a current playoff matchup. Here's just one reason why. "Anze Kopitar is going to make Joe Pavelski look like an idiot in the 1st round because he made Pavelski look like an idiot before." Variations of that take flooded Twitter and blogs and blog comments and the jack off fantasies of Kings fans before the exact opposite happened in real life, and the goalposts got moved.

The history of these two teams means nothing right now. They're just data points, and the narratives are constellations that naive people imagine connect all the points together into something meaningful. It's all bullshit.

Now, onto some hate here based on something more tangible. The Blues are a boring team led by a coach who perfected the style of hockey everyone agreed was awful and needed to get locked in a dumpster with a revolver and single bullet after the 2004-5 lockout. Tarasenko is really good, and the rest of the team is pretty fast. But a counterpunching defense-first team with one amazing player is beatable. Unlike the Stars, our starting goalie isn't one of those dummies assholes buy to put in the passenger seat so they can drive in the carpool lanes. God, I'm so fucking glad the Sharks didn't re-sign Niemi. Seeing Stars fans go through what we did ("If we had gotten league-average goaltending....") makes me simultaneously hilariously happy and resentful that we put up with that bullshit. It's like a bad ex, pulling the same shit with somebody new.

Sharks @ Blues

5:00 PM Pacific

Prediction: Both the Sharks and Blues discover they have a more difficult opponent than they had last round. A St. Louis fan does something racist.