Kyle Wellwood was the first Sharks player to address the media at the morning press session and there was some joking about how he was delivering the inside information about Vancouver to the Sharks. Wellwood mostly smiled and simply answered questions until it was time for a team meeting. He was firm that it wasn’t him playing against Vancouver, but more about two clubs attempting to the reach the Stanley Cup Final.
“I’m just happy to be in the conference final. I think both teams will be ready to play,” Wellwood said.
Wellwood gave props to his former club for their talent on the ice, most notably their speed.
“They are without a doubt the fastest team in the league,” Wellwood said. “The play the game fast and make plays from one end of the ice to the other. It’s something nobody’s been able to interrupt in the regular season and the playoffs.”
The two clubs played some extremely entertaining hockey during the regular season and Wellwood says both bring a lot of skill. More of those types of game should be expected.
“With Vancouver’s speed and how physical they are and we’re pretty good passers and handle the puck well. It should be pretty exciting both ways,” Wellwood said.
Wellwood also gave credit to Vancouver for finding ways to improved themselves from last year to this year. Last year they fell in the second round of the playoffs.
“They have a different identity and they found a way to do (more) in the regular season and have shown they are a very hard club to beat. It’s certainly a big challenge for us,” Wellwood said.
Vancouver, much like San Jose, is looking to parlay some regular season success into a Stanley Cup Final trip.
“I think both teams have played so well in the regular season and haven’t gotten through to the finals, so both teams want to prove they’ve figured out the formula that makes them the best,” Wellwood said.
Wellwood said while both fan bases are rabid and fill their buildings, there is a difference between playing in both cities.
“I’d say the pressure is about the same, but certainly the external extras are a lot different,” Wellwood said.
PRESSURE OF CANADA
No Canadian club has won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens in 1991, so Vancouver is carrying the mantle for the entire country.
This marks the first Sharks playoff series in three years (eight series) where they haven’t opened up at home.
After arriving in the Vancouver on a lively Saturday, there was nothing but rest on the minds of the Sharks players.
“I didn’t leave my hotel after dinner,” Logan Couture
said. “I’ll try to stay in as much as possible.”