The Sharks lost their final game of the season, slotting them into the 6th seed and blah blah blah, you get it already. The Sharks play the Canucks.
As I said in an earlier post, I don’t like the Canucks. They freak me out. I mean, does everyone have to look like a Sedin? Plus they knocked the Sharks out of the playoffs a couple years ago, and that’s not cool.
But that was 2011. Things are different now. And seeing how one of the biggest buttholes from that team now plays for the Sharks, I figured I’d give them a fair shake and do a real preview post.
Brent Burns being awesome.
Both teams have capable centers throughout their lines: Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler, and Derek Roy for Vancouver; Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, and Joe Pavelski for San Jose.
Both teams have tough top lines, and an offense that tends to live and die by the power play.
Dan Boyle doesn’t care how many pads you have.
This comes down to a couple of questions: Will Jason Demers come back this series? If not, who will replace him? Rookie Matt Tennyson is a capable puck-moving defensemen and natural complement to likely partner, Brad Stuart. Scott Hannan is slow and terrible with the puck, but he’s got “experience” which the coaches love, so it’ll probably be Hannan.
Meanwhile, Dan Boyle is still awesome, Matt Irwin is solid, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic is tenancious by the net.
Kevin Bieksa has been rock steady all season for Vancouver (which makes Dan Hamhuis Bebop). Unfortunately for him, he’ll most likely be facing the Couture-Marleau-Havlat line. The rest of the defense for Vancouver is somewhat suspect, so I got to give it to the Sharks on this one.
Antti Niemi does it all in style.
Antti Niemi has been putting up Vezina numbers all season, while the goalie soap opera continues in Vancouver, which in my opinion is the dumbest thing ever. Roberto Luongo is hands down a better goaltender than Cory Sedin Schneider. If Schneider plays, I give the advantage to Nemo. If Luongo plays, I still give the advantage to San Jose, but the Canucks will be harder to score against.
The Canucks have a few guys on the roster known for their epic levels of douchebaggery. Kesler and Burrows instantly come to mind, but ever since the acquisition of the king of all a-holes, Raffi Torres, this is actually closer than ever. Since Torres has yet to rip anyone’s head off in teal, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Once he does though, the Sharks will be the third douchiest team in the West, behind only the Kings and Ducks.
The big takeaway however, is that Vancouver’s jerks can actually draw penalties, so at least there is a method behind the madness.
Series Prediction: I give it to the Sharks in 6 if they win Game 1. If they lose on Thursday, they’ll take it in 7.