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San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks: Impressive On Two Counts

San Jose SharksAs I sat down to watch Game 2 between the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings I had a moment of dread. I started to wonder if Game 1 was just a fluke and that the Red Wings’ success against the Sharks during the regular season would carry over into the playoffs - just as it did for the seventh seeded Philadelphia Flyers against the second seeded New Jersey Devils. I feared that I might be sitting down to watch the first of 4 consecutive losses - so much for trying on my new ‘glass half full’ mentality.

Well that didn’t happen. The Sharks not only have an unfamiliar 2-0 series lead, they have it against what some experts called ‘the team to beat’ in The West. Is it just me or are the Sharks really playing playoff hockey? If you’re not a regular follower of the Sharks and all you know about them is that they don’t do well in the playoffs, let me tell you something about what you’re seeing:

This is NOT the same old Sharks. Not even close.

Words can’t even begin to describe what we’re seeing. The best I can come up is that we’re finally seeing the convergence of two previously distinct but mutually exclusive forces - Sharks hockey and playoff hockey. They’re becoming ‘who we thought they were’ - and the result is - so far - impressive.

That’s point number one. Here’s point number two.

A big reason why the Sharks are becoming the team we thought they were is Joe Pavelski. For me what’s most impressive isn’t necessarily the way he’s playing but the way he’s playing despite all the attention.

For as long as I’ve been watching professional sports I’ve managed to come up with a theorem by which I measure the validity of a pro athlete’s ability. It’s one thing to have a moment of inspirational play. It’s another thing to turn that ‘moment’ into a streak. It’s still another thing to stay on that streak once your fans and teammates have started acknowledging your efforts. It’s yet another thing to continue producing even after the local media has latched on to you. And it’s a final challenge to continue your streak after the national media has made you into a story. That final step, the national recognition, is the number one killer of ‘players in the zone’. Either the pressure gets to the player, they try too hard to live up to the hype, or the ‘run’ that they were on finally ends. Whatever the reason, is the athlete can push through the national spotlight then I officially move them from ‘hype’ to ‘real deal’.

Now that Pavelski is a national story, and now that they’ve made a new NHL Stanley Cup Playoff commercial about him, if he continues to rise to the challenge then the future is very bright for the Sharks. If Pavelski can help the Sharks steal a game in Detroit, and the Joe Thornton/Dany Heatley/Patrick Marleau line continue to improve. then I think Sharks fans should start preparing themselves for a very exciting month of hockey.

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2 comments for “San Jose Sharks: Impressive On Two Counts”

  1. Here’s to hoping Pittsburgh can get back to their winning ways and take out Montreal…off topic but I had to vent!

    Posted by pittpenNo Gravatar | May 4, 2010, 6:17 am
  2. @pittpen - vent all you want, the Sharks have been involved in 7 1-goal games, the stress is getting unbearable!

    Posted by sharksfanNo Gravatar | May 4, 2010, 10:15 am

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