Another disappointing playoff for this year’s President Trophy Winner – San Jose Sharks, and the Trade-Deadline Winner – Calgary Flames. This is good news for the Canucks.
The Anahiem Ducks’ upset of the Sharks means that the Canucks can avoid playing against the defending-Stanley Cup Champion, for at least another round. Of course, with the way the Blackhawks played against the Flames, especially the spectacular play of goaltender Khabibulin, the Canucks shouldn’t start buying those champagne yet. Still, it’s better than playing against a Flames team which always seem to have the Canucks’ number or the highflying Red Wings.
Although it has happened to the Flames before, four consecutive times including this year, Calgary’s first round exit seems…unexpected. This is, of course, not to underestimate the skills and will of the young Blackhawks. However, the Flames already a very powerful team, were improved significantly after the trading deadline this season. They were unanimously awarded as the winner of the trade-deadline, by adding Star Centerman Olli Jokinen and Veteran Defenseman Jordan Leopold. But with just 2 goals and 3 assists in 6 playoff games, and 8 goals and 7 assists in 19 regular season games at a horrible -8 plus/minus total, it’s difficult not to think trading away Matthew Lombardi, who actually had one more point than Jokinen in the same 19 games, was a wise decision at all.
Maybe it is as Matthew Barnaby says on TSN, the team which will play against the Flames in the playoff will be glad Calgary added Jokinen to their dressing room.
How about the San Jose Sharks??
Despite having a fabulous regular season, finishing top overall with 53 wins, 18 losses and 11 OT losses, the Sharks regressed during this year’s playoff back to 8 seasons ago, when they were ousted in the first round by the St. Louis Blues. But since then, the Sharks have never once been defeated in the first round of the playoffs. Since the Lock-out season, the Sharks have never finished lower than the second spot in their division.
Last season, the Sharks finished second overall in the entire league, but their defeat in the second round to the Dallas Stars were deemed disaapointing and unacceptable. A team lead by a leader who has been named a playoff-underachiever, the Sharks set out to silent all their critics this season. Who would’ve guessed that a team which most commentator named as the “most feared team” in the entire league will end their season worse than their last?
Well, playoffs are full of surprises and drama, everything is magnified 100 times, that’s why it’s so interesting, that’s why even the best players would call their careers disappointing if they’d never won a cup.
Starting this Thursday or maybe Friday, the Canucks will have to continue their path for the ultimate glory, a path that will only be more difficult as they go further, a path that is filled with blood and bruises, pain and anger; but it will surely be a path that both San Jose and Calgary wish they can still venture upon.