(Ed. Note: No Puck Headlines tonight on this Good Friday. But check out the Y! Sports scores and scheds page for game previews, and check back here for coverage of the playoff seeding and the NCAA Frozen Four championship. Thanks for a great week, folks.)
SportSquee describes itself as "an online girls' locker room," and it's one of our favorite sites that celebrate female sports fandom. Margee is the Queen Bee of Squee, and an occasional contributor to Puck Daddy -- please recall her epic "Art of the Playoff Beard" post from last season. Margee agreed to break down some of the top Stanley Cup contenders from a female puckhead perspective, as we head into the playoffs. Here's her take on the San Jose Sharks. Enjoy)
It's that time of year again! Time to accept the fact that your team just may not make the playoffs. Time, yet again, to clear the trumpets and the calliope out of the way so that you can jump on the bandwagon of a whole new team for eight weeks. But how to choose what wagon to which one should hitch oneself? Here's your handy-dandy guide to picking your post-season team.
Cool Guy: Joe Thornton
Now, Joe Thornton has never been a favorite of mine. Except for those commercials when he binged on chocolate and pierced his breakfast toast. Loved those.
But it's hard to deny that Thornton is obscenely talented. And the greatest part of his talent is that it never looms so large that the rest of his team looks puny in comparison. You may scoff, but this is a rare talent among superstars. Thornton has a way of elevating his teammates to his level. With some players on Thornton's tier, teammates can seem like they're scrambling to keep up. Somehow, Thornton pushes his teammates to play at his level. Let's call it the "Cheechoo Phenomenon." You have to love a guy who can make everyone else look so good.
Street Cred: They Always Make It To The Playoffs
The Sharks are a perennial favorite playoff team, because they have flattering, anime, "expansion teal" uniforms. Also, because they're always in the playoffs. If you invest in rooting for them now, it takes the guesswork out for next season. Because the Sharks will be there. At least for a round or two. They're consistently good, so it's not like you're rooting for some flash-in-the-pan team. And valuable "West Side Story" references are especially easy to make.
Ninja: Evgeni Nabokov
You know breakways? Yeah, breakaways are what Nabokov eats for breakfast. If you're tearing ass down the ice, anticipating a game-winning moment while staring down this guy, you may want to consider just going ahead and surrendering. Just hand over the puck, and maybe your lunch money, because Nabokov is going to eat your game-winning goal and belch it up in the face of your disappointment. Like Mr. Miyagi with the flies, Nabby can just crush a goal in mid-air. And with chopsticks if he felt like it. If you want to discuss it further, I suggest you call Brad Richards.
Comeback Story: Patrick Marleau
Sure sure. Jeremy Roenick or Claude Lemieux are "great" comeback stories. But, for my money, the redemption of Patrick Marleau is far more feel-good than two spottily annoying dudes fighting retirement.
Remember, it was only last year that poor captain Patrick Marleau was sitting alone at lunch in the Sharks cafeteria waiting for management to strip him and tape him to a flag pole.
In the end, Marleau wasn't traded, and has rewarded the team by posting a healthy collection of goals and seemingly returning to form (although it's not like he was dry heaving all over the ice last season, but more on that below). And his eyes are dreamy. Has to be said.
Uterus Killer: Christian Ehrhoff
The Sharks are a pretty solid team in the looks department, and Ehrhoff just narrowly took this title from Jonathan Cheechoo. Cheechoo sometimes gets serial killer eyes in pictures, you see. Ehrhoff's Aryan good looks make him look like a lost Staal brother.
In a good way.
Why You Should Root Against Them
Franchise Rep: Choke Artists
As inevitable as it is for the Sharks to make the playoffs, just as inevitable will be their spectacular flameout. The Sharks seemingly have a terrible tendency to get ghost in the postseason just as their opposing team is coming into its own. And the breakdown usually happens in dramatic fashion, with some poor Shark offered up as a sacrifice to the public looking for someone to blame. Past goats have included Joe Thornton (who cannot shake the post-season Claude Rains rep that has plagued his career), Ron Wilson and the aforementioned Patrick Marleau.
Someone will have to shoulder the blame if (when?) the Sharks bust out in the playoffs. And it's more than likely that said person will not deserve it. If you're not prepared to savage some previously well-liked member of the team, then you are not prepared to take on the postseason Sharks.
Nerd Alert: Jeremy Roenick/Claude Lemieux
Now, I've always had a soft spot for JR Superstar, but he can really grate. A display of personality--personality of any kind-in the NHL is a rare and beautiful thing. And Roenick can be clever and charming. And he certainly takes initiative in being an ambassador for the game with his jolly and frequent (for a hockey player) appearances on mainstream sports shows and the Ghost Whisperer. He's the kind of hockey player a non-hockey fan could like. But for actual hockey fans, we know how often Roenick can say appallingly stupid things. Such as suggesting that home games were difficult for players because having wives around just nags their heads right out of the game. And remember when he tried to start a beef with Patrick Roy? And then Roy dressed him down so efficiently that Roenick couldn't find his pants for weeks? You loved that. You loved that because Jeremy Roenick deserved it. He still does sometimes.
Claude Lemieux has history working against him, too. While Roenick was on the receiving end of the greatest verbal smackdown in NHL history, Lemieux was on the receiving end of the greatest physical smackdown in history. Lemieux could save a basket of Shiba Inu puppies from a fire, and it still couldn't erase the turtle image from your head. It's nice that he's holding onto his hockey dreams at his age, but it would be a lot nicer if it were someone other than Claude Lemieux.
Low Point: The Headlines
The additional byproduct of the Sharks' shakiness in the post-season is the incredibly uncreative and repetitive ways in which the press covers it.
Should you choose the Sharks, you must realize that every hockey writer will regurgitate the same "clever" headlines about how the team always craps the bed in the postseason. And each writer will treat the whole Sharks-suck-in-the-playoffs conclusion with the same wonder as Columbus did when he discovered the West Indies.
But it's tired and lame, and you may shy away from the Sharks for this reason alone.