by Marc Ciampa
When Todd Harvey signed with the Edmonton Oilers at the conclusion of the 2003-04 season, he didnt think it would come to this: his current team and his former team going head-to-head for a berth in the Western Conference Final.
For five seasons, Harvey was the consummate San Jose Shark. He and his family embraced the Bay Area community and it in-turn embraced him. After last season, he felt it was time to move on.
"No, not at all," responded Harvey when asked if he had any hard feelings toward the Sharks. "That was my decision. It's pretty funny how things work out, isn't it?"
Through five campaigns with the Sharks, Harvey suited up for 301 games, scoring 34 goals and 49 assists for 83 points and 335 penalty minutes. His best season came in 2000-01 when he had 10 goals in 69 games. He also played 46 postseason games for the Sharks, netting six points (two goals, four assists).
Sidelined by injury for most of last round, Harvey is now healthy enough to return to the lineup if called upon. Being one of Edmontons most battle-tested playoff warriors should give him an edge – not to mention the fact that hes very familiar with the opponent on the other end of the ice.
"I know all the secrets," he kidded. "I played with most of the guys over there but they've changed a few things."
Harvey was a member of the Sharks during their run to the Western Conference Final in 2004 but now with the addition of Joe Thornton and the emergence of Jonathan Cheechoo, the team has a decidedly different look.
"They're quick. Their transition game is very good. If you turn it over, you're going to pay for it," Harvey noted.
Another player who has benefited from the Thornton acquisition is Patrick Marleau, who is now finding a lot more room on the ice without having to face the opponents top defenders. He has seven goals last round against Nashville.
"(Marleau) really took the bull by the horns last series and we're going to have to key on him.
"Vinny Damphousse was the go-to-guy up front when I was there and now with Thornton, he's getting a lot of room," he said.
At some point before the series opener Sunday night, Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish will pick Harveys brain and see if he can help solve the Sharks.
"He's got a great understanding of the game so we'll have a conversation with him at the very least," said MacTavish. "He knows the game. He's a smart, smart hockey player."
Harvey has already shared some tidbits with his Oiler teammates.
"We talked about the goaltending. We'll see how the series goes. If they ever need tips, I'll share them."
The series should be a battle for all players involved, but for one number 13 it carries a little extra meaning.
"Obviously you want to win any series but playing them I've got a little history so I'm counting on the boys to get a win."