Sunday, May 04, 2008
Doo doo doo do doo doo, doo doo doo doo doo. You know how it goes.
Three posts today people. Two here and a little writeup on Neary's, a must see for a pint if you are ever in Dublin. Another half dozen and I will equal Lowetide's daily output. ;)
San Jose just minutes away from trying to get their series all even. Three teams are through now that Pittsburgh won this afternoon. Its been a weird second round. The games have been close and the hockey has been terrific for the most part but three series done in five or less. Tonight the Sharks try and take another step towards doing what only two other teams have ever done. Fun stuff and lets hope they win just to give us something memorable this round.
In a series with three OT games, two won by Dallas, its an interesting reminder, once again, of how a break here or there can turn not only a game or series but the direction of a franchise. This is San Jose's third consecutive year where they have been expected to make some noise, fourth if you include the prelockout playoff where they were knocked off by the Flames in the conference final. I'm not sure if I include that team in this exercise - it was a veteran club that was pretty well taken apart after that season. I'm thinking more of this club after the Thornton trade.
Considering how I wrote earlier today about Kevin Lowe we should look back at game three of the Sharks/Oilers series in 2006. Oilers down 2-0 in games, game three in OT. Roloson stones Cheechoo with a terrific glove save. Horcoff ends the game and the Sharks never get up off the canvas. If Cheechoo scores then the Sharks are up 3-0 and its over for the Oilers. The Sharks go on to take on Anaheim - my guess is they would have won that series. Then what? And what of Kevin Lowe and the Oilers for that matter? Two franchises changed by one save.
Instead the Sharks get knocked off and then Wilson declines to trade for Pronger, according to reports, deciding not to give Lowe Michalek. So last season they go into the playoffs and while not clear favourites the thought is that they are serious contenders. Once again they go out in the second round.
And now this season comes down to tonight. If they lose Ron Wilson will be gone and it will be interesting to see where the Sharks go next. Doug Wilson will certainly have two teams to think about. There are the Ottawa Senators who always looked to be a club who might take that next step but who after a decade as a team that most expected big things of have pretty well seen that window of opportunity slam shut once and for all this spring.
And there are the Red Wings, in their seventeenth straight year in the playoffs. The Wings, like the Sharks, built through the draft. Daryl Katz should be contacting their European scouting staff and mailing them blank cheques. Anyhow after years in the wilderness the Wings had 98 points in 1992 (this is pre Bettman points mind you when a ninety point season was impressive). That year they lost in the second round to a great veteran Chicago club who were on their way to the final. The following year the Wings finished with 103 points and promptly lost in the first round to the Leafs. The year after that they had 100 points and lost in the first round again, this time to the barely out of diapers San Jose Sharks.
There was no purge of the youngsters although there were some moves made. The Wings made the Fianls in 95 where they were swept by the Devils and the next year they were beaten by the Avs in the first of the great series between those two clubs.
Five years of disappointments.
A dozen years later they have three Cups and have been contenders every single year. Sometimes they have been done in by better teams. Sometimes they have fallen to underdogs who have ridden hot goalies past the favoured Wings. Sometimes their own goaltenders have let them down. There have been years, like last year, where injuries have finished them. And other years they have just had bad luck. Remember game five against the Ducks last season? An iffy penalty and then Niedermeyer dinks one in off of Lidstrom to tie it with less then a minute left to force overtime.
And now they are waiting for the Sharks or the Stars and they are likely the favourite to win it all after they pounded Colorado.
Tonight could mean more disappointment for San Jose. And then Doug Wilson has to look at history and figure out if he can afford to stand pat.
Posted by Black Dog at 8:32 PM