Sunday, April 06, 2008

Calgary Flames vs. San Jose Sharks Playoff Preview; Deep Blue Sea

I think most of my fellow Flames bloggers will agree that this has been a very long season...unfortunately it isn't looking like it will be a very long playoffs. To say they limped in would be a let up of how bad or at least average the Flames have really been in the last month and a half. Matt has a very cool piece of data up at BoA that I think says it all about the Flames: one respectable quarter and a lot of mediocrity. Of course the last quarter goal differential just got blown out of proportion thanks to that Vancouver drubbing on Saturday night, but I think in general it seems the Flames haven't been good for quite some time.

That is good news for the SJS, who are on a tear in the 4th quarter of the season. Check out Matt's data for them;

"I've been tracking quarterly results since the lockout, and the best any team has previously done in one of these 20-game segments is 35 points. For San Jose -- you know, the Flames' presumptive 1st-round playoff opponent -- to earn 38/40 points is a spectacular achievement."(BoA)

In 2004 I was adamant the Flames ideal matchup was the San Jose Sharks - It was Sutter's old team, and by god I didn't believe there was any way he was going to let them beat him. Back then it seemed like the sky was the limit for Captain Patrick Marleau, while Vincent Damphousse was the man leading the offensive charge and Mike Ricci was still gracing NHL fans with his grit, determination and yes, that beautiful flowing hair. Alyn McCauly was acquired in a trade with the Maple Leafs and had a really nice season for the Sharks, earning a Selke nomination when the season was over. Marco Sturm (I believe) broke his leg and missed the post season. Jonathan Cheechoo was emerging as a talented young player and was a constant threat in the playoffs.

Brad Stuart and Scott Hannan patrolled the blueline with Mike Rathje and Kyle McLaren, all of them hard hitting stay at home defenceman.

A lot has changed since then.

Gone is Damphousse, Ricci, McCauly, Sturm, Stuart, Hannan, and Rathje.

Instead the San Jose Sharks are littered with speed, youth and talent.

Consider the upgraded defensive group:
Brian Campbell
Craig Rivet
Christian Ehrhoff
Marc-Edourd Vlasic
Matt Carle
Kyle McLaren
Doug Murray

It's obviously younger, it's definatley faster, there's going to be better puck movement, and with Campbell, McLaren and sometimes even Craig Rivet, it's still going to be menacing.

Joe Thornton joined the team after the lockout and made Cheechoo into a 50 goal scorer. Mike Grier replaces McCauly as the defensive presence up front. Milan Michalek, not even on the radar in 2004 is now a first line guy for the Sharks. Jeremy Roenick replaces Vincent Damphousse as the veteran on a mission.

The 2007-2008 Sharks are a new advanced team of Sharks, like that movie with LL. Cool J .


docweb said...

Good luck falmes. Have a long summer. Just be happy that the Oil beat Nucks the last game.

therealdeal said...

I believe it's spelled Flames.

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