The San Jose Sharks currently hold a 2-0 game lead over the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. The Sharks seem to have nothing holding them back from reaching the Western Conference Finals in back-to-back years.
But what has some people doubting how far the Sharks can go is history.
The Sharks fall notoriously short when it comes to pursuing the Stanley Cup in April and May. Year after year we see the Sharks become the favorite to win it all, and then see them falter when it comes to crucial games and series.
The Sharks have never won a Stanley Cup, let alone get to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Remind you of another Bay Area sports team?
The Sharks are drawing a lot of comparison to the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, who reside just about an hour up the street from HP Pavilion.
The Sharks tend to play very close games, much like the Giants of 2010, and as a result, the Sharks are four for four in overtime games in these playoffs.
Also, The Giants had never won a World Series since their move to San Francisco in 1957, and the Sharks have never won a Stanley Cup since their expansion into the NHL in 1991. Although, there have been several chances.
The Giants played the underdog role in 2010 and shocked the baseball world by defeating heavyweight after heavyweight on their way to a World Series title. And even though the Sharks did finish second in the Western Conference standings, history would still suggest that they are underdogs to win it all this year, despite very good play to this point in the playoffs.
But what may draw even more similarities to the Giants of 2010 is the players that the Sharks have picked up during this season, and who have played huge roles in getting the Sharks to this point.
Kyle Wellwood is to the Sharks as what Pat Burrell was to the Giants.
I’ll do you one better.
Ian White is to the Sharks as what Cody Ross was to the Giants.
It is well-known that Burrell’s sudden resurgence in power since the Giants picked him up mid-season of 2010 helped the Giants reach the playoffs. It is also well-known that Ross’s series against Doc Halladay and the Phillies helped the Giants reach the World Series.
Mid-season pick-ups Wellwood and White have done much of the same for the Sharks, but solely in the playoffs.
The Sharks were locks for the playoffs a long time ago, but it is Wellwood and White’s play in the playoffs that has the Sharks seeking the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011.
Think about it. Wellwood was released by the Vancouver Canucks in 2010 and was forced to play in the Russian KHL only to be picked up by the Sharks to help solidify the four lines.
Remind you of anyone? Maybe Aubrey Huff, who no team wanted in the off-season, or even Cody Ross, who was placed on waivers by the Florida Marlins towards the end of the 2010 season only to be picked up by the Giants for help off the bench.
Wellwood now has one goal and three assists with a +/- of 6 in these Stanley Cup Playoffs.
White, in the same way, has been a huge boost in helping to solidify the lines on defense. He has one goal and five assists, while sporting a +/- of 6, as well, in these playoffs. Not to mention having instant chemistry with fellow line-mate Niclas Wallin.
You can even throw Ben Eager in there as a physical reason as to why the Sharks are playing well right now.
Although the Sharks and Giants draw several similarities, the NHL playoffs may be a much different beast than the MLB playoffs. Things can change at any moment in these NHL playoffs, and the Giants seemed like a team of destiny from the very beginning.
That is not to say the Sharks do not feel like a team of destiny, as well, but the Sharks have been here before, and this year it is time to produce a Stanley Cup. There will be plenty of time to be crowned a “Team of Destiny” later.