Whoever came up with the best of seven game format to determine playoff winner should be knighted. The twists and turns, the constant give and take and the tension created by seven games is simply wonderful. Home ice can be huge in any NHL Playoff series but it’s not everything. If the lower seaded club wins one of their first two games on the road, it changes everything.
Click here to learn more about the trends of a best of seven visit.
This past week Sharks GM Doug Wilson appeared on a conference call with members of the media. There was little doubt about Wilson’s emotions a full two weeks after the LA Kings eliminated the Sharks. Doug said he was unhappy with the result, but more ticked about the surrendering of a 3-0 series. It was only the 4th time in NHL history a team had won the first three of a series, only to lose the next four.
Look for a major facelift of the Sharks roster come training camp in September. Two initial changes were announced during the media call. Winger Martin Havlat, despite a year remaining on his contract, will not be back. Havlat was brought to the San Jose camp to add skill and his high-powered offensive style. But Marty struggled to remain healthy and when he was at 100% he failed to provide any grit or fire, both prerequisites to any effective NHLer. Also Wilson announced that veteran defender Dan Boyle would not be offered a new contract. Two main reasons came into play with that decision. First, Boyle will be 38-years-old come opening night next October. Second, the Sharks were not interested in offering a multi-year deal. San Jose wants to get younger and grittier, especially on the blueline. While Boyle was ‘devastated’ by the news, he wasn’t surprised. Boyle will become a free agent on July 1 and he certainly will find a home for the 2014-15 season.
During his six seasons in teal, Boyle was the definition of a ‘gamer’. He’ll long be remembered by Sharks fans as a smart, skilled, play-making d-man. He was a true professional both on and off the ice. I will always remember his tireless skating and clever moves to get the puck up the ice.
These two moves will free up some cap space which will give San Jose more flexibility going forward. Stay tuned.
Former Sharks Success
As a Sharks follower, it was especially tough to see the rival Kings topple San Jose’s playoff dreams, but there are those in San Jose and around the league that were quietly pleased to see success come the way of former Sharks coach Darryl Sutter and ex-GM Dean Lombardi. Both are dedicated hockey men and they contributed greatly to the Sharks success going back to the mid 1990’s.
Playoff Bracket Format
The NHL’s new bracket-style playoff format will take time to establish it's goal of enhancing rivalries. It was tough to see either the Kings or Sharks get knocked out in round one, but it did allow for all-California series in Rounds 1 and 2. Those matchups will stoke the fires for next years’ regular season contests and undoubtedly for future playoff seasons.
Hockey in Seattle
It was quietly reported recently that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made a stop in Seattle to speak with city leaders. Both parties are interested in prospect of bringing the NHL to the Emerald City. Time will tell, but a new arena is in the plans, and there is interest in local ownership for an NHL club. It must be noted that the Seattle market loves the NBA and is very interested in replacing their Sonics which was relocated to Oklahoma City. Can Seattle support both the NBA and the NHL? With the right ownership, and strong corporate support, the answer is a bold ‘absolutely!’.
Enjoy the exciting Stanley Cup Final Four.