Monday, December 18, 2006

Exhilaration

I didn't get to start watching the Sharks game until midnight on Saturday. But I sure wasn't going to bed until I knew what happened. At the holiday party that evening, all my friends were giving me shit, pretending to announce the status after checking the score on their cell phones. I even had "DON'T TALK ABOUT THE SHARKS GAME' on my drink glass for the night.

I'm not going to do a whole recap, because I'm sure the Mercury News or ESPN has a better summary than what I will be able to produce. All I can say is that the Ducks are a fearsome team, especially on special teams. One thing I noticed in particular is they didn't hesitate to collapse on Joe when he was behind the net on the PP, but they would give him space on the half-boards. Haven't seen other teams take that tactic. Joe usually finds the open man when he gets challenged like that.

And my pessimistic side showed in the 3rd period, when the Ducks took the lead 3-2. I think there was about 8 minutes left in the game, and my heart sank. I said, "that's it", and was immediately admonished by Doug. He told me to take it back. All I could think about were the Sharks of years past, and maybe the NHL of years past, when a late go-ahead goal meant doom for the other team. But those years are past- the Sharks don't use it as an excuse to lose. They suck it up and go back to work. Cheech scored only seconds later, and I was forced to say "I take it back, and I have no reason to criticize." Then Joe put one in with 3 minutes left to give the Sharks their only lead, and the only one that matters.

Wow! At that moment, it was hard to remember it's just a regular season game in December. Beating the unquestioned class of the NHL is a big time statement. After that bad loss a month ago, I started to wonder if the Sharks would even have a chance. This game really showed for the first time in their history that the Sharks can beat anyone in the NHL, and even come from behind against a team with two Norris winners. As a long time Sharks fan, that feeling is new and exhilarating.

2 comments:

Jeremy said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your goalie comparison, and the use of the OPPGAAT (or whatever it was). Now, if you could only add some weighting to each game based on other factors. Specifically, I'm thinking about second game of a back-to-back, or last game of a roadtrip.
The reason I bring this up, of course, is because I believe last Saturday's third period to be an aberration for the Ducks. Last game of a ten-day roadie might have caught up with them - especially with the coast-to-coast aspect. I know that sounds like an excuse, but that sort of weighting might also help your goalie debate.
I do believe the Ducks coaching staff deserve some of the blame for the loss, as Jiggy started all the road games - including two back-to-backs.
This coming matchup will be much more useful in determine where the teams stand versus one another.

Mike said...

It's a real pain in the ass to do OPPGAAT, because I have to go through each teams schedule to find out what their record was at the time- the ESPN box score only has the current records for the teams listed.

And sure, the last game of a 10-game road trip probably isn't the ideal time to face your biggest rival. I'm looking forward to the 26th, especially since I'll be there this time. The other thing interesting is if Wilson keeps alternating goalies, Toskala should start.

And I hope Teemu and Joe get in a fight. I'll lay 5-1 on Teemu, any takers?