SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 28: Devin Setoguchi #16 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after he scored a goal against the Colorado Avalanche at HP Pavilion on March 28, 2010 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Devin Setoguchi
Remember the old "Jedi mind trick?" You know, the trick where you tell the stormtroopers that they're not looking for these droids, and then they somehow get fooled into believing that your words are actually true?
With their top center out and their second leading scorer hampered by a torso injury, that's what the Colorado Avalanche are resorting to to try to knock off the San Jose Sharks. The two teams begin a first-round playoff series tonight at The Tank.
The Sharks are overwhelmingly favored to win this series, and it's not expected to take the full seven games. Vegas odds makers see this thing as a cakewalk for San Jose, listing them as 4 to 1 favorites and setting the expectation of no more than five games.
The Avalanche are going to need everything they've got, and they know it. But one of the best things they've got is San Jose's four-years-and-running reputation for choking early and hard in these Lord Stanley Cup-related contests.
So despite the fact that they are a losing team, the Avs are actually going to try and talk smack.
"They'll probably have lots of pressure on them," Avs right winger Milad Hej-Duk told the Denver Post. "Having the team they've had for the last four or five years and not going very far in the playoffs, I think we can use that to our advantage."
Colorado's coach piled on too. "I think they had higher expectations than what they've achieved," coach Joe Sacco told the Mercury News. "And it's going to be our job this year to try to make sure that happens again."
The Sharks will try to ignore the old Jedi mind trick like they were Jabba the Hutt in a hurry to make a flight.
"I just laugh," defenseman Doug Murray told the Merc. "Let them use whatever they can use, and we're going to use whatever we can use."
And maybe what the Sharks can use is another dose of Rob Blake fist-justice applied to the Avs' Peter Mueller when he's scheduled to return in Game 3.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who has a "Star Wars" analogy for pretty much every possible situation that can occur in life.