The Stanley Cup Finals are, depending on one’s viewpoint, either one game from being completed, or just past the halfway point. With the pain of their second round loss a little further in the rear view mirror, many Sharks players have been watching the current Finals matchup with Ottawa and Anaheim – although it is still not easy.
“Absolutely, especially the Finals,” said Craig Rivet who is watching from his summer home in North Bay, Ontario where more people are cheering for the Senators than the Ducks. “It’s very exciting hockey.”
Back in Newfoundland, Ryane Clowe
would be watching anyway, but says it is not his call.
“I have no choice because all my friends are watching,” said Clowe. “Why wouldn’t you want to watch playoff hockey?”
Even half a world away, Milan Michalek is keeping tabs on the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup, although it is a bit harder for him.
“It’s on at three in the morning,” said Michalek. “Sometimes they replay it the next day, so I watch that. I didn’t see the first game, but I saw the three after.”
The other night, Michalek did take in a game live.
“My brother came back and I picked up him from the airport,” said Michalek. “We got back at 2 a.m., so I stayed up and watched it.”
Besides entertaining themselves with their favorite sport, the Sharks players can learn a trick or two that could get them to the Finals next year.
“I watch for fun, but I watch how they play,” said Michalek. “Every little thing, every loose puck is a battle.”
“On Anaheim, everyone is contributing to their wins and that’s what it is going to take,” said Clowe.
Make no mistake, the pain is still there for the players.
“It kind of hurts to watch, but they are two good teams themselves,” said Rivet.
“I watch and am always saying to myself that we could have been there,” said Michalek.
Rivet even watched the Conference Finals.
“I watched it,” said Rivet. “We got beat by a very good hockey team, but we could have been better ourselves and would have matched up well with Anaheim.”
Rivet actually thought the Senators would win the series and notes it is still a possibility despite their 3-1 deficit.
“I said Ottawa,” said Rivet. “It is like no other do or die series. There is no quit in them and I’m sure they believe they can beat Anaheim three straight.”
“I don’t have a favorite, but I’m rooting for Ottawa,” said Michalek, not hiding from the California rivalry. “I don’t like Anaheim.”
Clowe had Anaheim all the way.
“Our record was pretty good against the east and Anaheim is so physical,” said Clowe.
The question is will Michalek stay up until three in the morning to watch a Game 7.
“I’ll watch it live if I don’t fall asleep,” said laughed the Czech winger.
Kai Hospelt, a seventh round pick out of Germany in 2003, and Alexander Hult, an eighth round pick from the same year out of Sweden, are no longer part of the Sharks protected roster list.