Monday, April 9, 2012

Why Are People Mad at the Florida Panthers for Winning Their Division?

These rules have been in place for some time, now.  Every year, at least one team is elevated to a seed that is higher than their accumulated points rank in the conference (and definitely league) standings.  This year, the Phoenix Coyotes and the Florida Panthers have each won their respective division for the first time.  Two warm-weather teams are elevated to top-three seeds and all of a sudden this playoff-seeding format is a disgrace to the league?

Ostensibly, the argument that the come-lately detractors use is that these teams have even fewer points than usual, for a division-leader.  Oh no!  The system is broken!  It's a travesty that playoffs are seeded by geography, rather than merit (as determined by points).  But in all the bitching and moaning about geographical determination of seeds, how many calls have there been to move from the 8/8 Western/Eastern conference-aligned playoffs to a much more equitable 16-seed league format?  Last year, Dallas would have made the playoffs in such a format, bumping an East-Coast team from the post-season, and puting all 5 Pacific Division teams in the Top 16.  I didn't hear much complaining in the media about that!

All the Eastern Conference Fans That Think That the Southeast Division Is Weak, have some consideration for the fact that they are dealing with the incalculable hardship of having to leave their time-zone to play a divisional team for the first time!  They even have to do it after December!  It's so hard!

The schedules are made according to divisions and conferences.  It makes sense that the winners of the divisions should be awarded the top three seeds because, while there are times when a division-leader may be a weak team ahead of weaker teams, sometimes a division-leader is only a step ahead of the rest of their highly competitive division; sometimes, a strong team is vaulted to the top by the rest of their weak division (VANCOUVER).  It's impossible to gauge the fairness of a given team's competition.  Therefore, it is fairest to judge them first among the teams who have similar schedules and competition.  This is not a problem of division-leaders being the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference.  This is a problem of the Penguins and Flyers being bumped down the list behind the Panthers, a team for which nobody really gives a shit.

In conclusion:  Quit complaining, you lousy, coddled, whiny, East-Coast bitches!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

81 Games Later

This season hasn't been too up or down, really.  There was a bad losing stretch on the Tennis Road Trip; there was a nice win-streak when Marty Havlat first joined the line-up.  In fact, after 81 games, the Sharks have a regular season record of 33-33-15.  They are dead even!  This final game of the season will determine whether the Sharks end the season with a winning, losing, or even record!

I've had to remind myself the past week or so that this is how I wanted it.  After watching the Sharks coasting into the playoffs with a strong team, only to have weak starts to the post-season, I welcomed the opportunity to enter the playoffs, riding a hot streak.  I was going to be happy to be the underdog--to have a lesser burden of expectation.  Only, I had forgotten what it looks like to be the underdog.  It looks kinda like the other team is going to win.  The Sharks are very likely be playing a team that they have not been able to beat this year, either the Canucks or the Blues.  The Sharks, this year, are 0-3-1 against the Canucks and 0-4-0 against the Blues.

Normally, this is where it is said that regular season match-ups don't matter, once the playoffs start, but, the last two years, the Sharks have been eliminated in the Semi-Finals by teams against whom they had gone 1-3-0 and 0-3-1 (Blackhawks and Canucks, respectively, both from memory).  Lop-sided regular season records such as those give me pause.

But this year, I don't care.  This is what I wanted.  A tight race to the finish.  Something we can ride into the playoffs.  I really am not concerning myself about what the records say, because they're depressing.  Also, because this team is just now coming together; I can tell myself that this is not the same team that lost all those games earlier in the year.  They're hitting people.  They're fighting.  The deadline-acquired players are looking more and more at home.  Most importantly: they're winning games and, from here on out, that's pretty much all I ask of them.  Go, Sharks!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Holy Crap,

Did anybody see that terrible dive from Joe Thornton tonight in Dallas?  The Sharks scored on that power play he drew (the penalty of which, even more outrageously, was assessed to innocent by-stander Michal Ryder, rather than Sheldon Souray), so, on a night where I had plenty of gripes about calls against the Sharks, I'm reminded to count my blessings before I go to sleep.

1. I am grateful that the Referees did not call goaltender interference on Tommy Wingels for tripping Kari Lehtonen or negate Daniel Winnik's goal.

2. I'm happy that, to my knowledge, the team plane was not injured in any of the tornadoes in Dallas, today.

3. I am relieved that Joe Thornton got away with that crazy dive in the second period!

4. I'm glad we had these two consecutive games against Dallas to get back into form.  Dallas always plays the Sharks physically, which brings out the best in the Sharks and also brings out a lot of penalties in the Stars!  This Sharks team has completely failed to hit people on game-to-game basis, which is very frustrating to watch--extremely so when they're losing.

5. I am so fucking grateful we won!