My birthday was 8 days ago, which kinda' illustrates how crazy the Sharks run has been because at the time, we were 8th and now we've clinched 5th. In between was a ridiculously brutal stretch of games that scared me to look at: 9th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 15th. Four games in five nights, and five games in seven nights, and they won them all.
We were supposed to be out of it after losing to the Blue Jackets and to the Coyotes twice. We were supposed to be out of it in November, when we lost 10 games in a row. It's so surreal. Everyone on the team is playing so well right now, even all the babies, especially the babies. It's not just Joe and Cheech strong every night plus like, three guys stepping up every night, it's everyone stepping up at the same time. There's no way they could win 8 games in a row in only 12 nights without commitment and effort from everyone.
I sobbed when they clinched the playoff spot because of how far the team has come since the big trade for Joe Thornton. Aside from Joe + Cheech, everyone else just seemed pretty inconsistent. I got so nervous whenever Ehrhoff got on the ice, worried that he would commit some horrible turnover in his own zone, then he went to the Olympics and he came back a totally different player, so confident, getting shots on net (shh, Sharks defensemen getting shots on net was a novelty for me--I have lusted after McCabe for ages) and scoring big goals and stuff.
I think that's what makes me cry, thinking about how much everyone has grown. I still get weepy thinking about Patty, and how he's really grown into his role as captain of the team and taken on more responsibility and all that and when I think of him as being a leader for the other guys, it just kills me because he wasn't before. He was kind of in the shadow of Owen and he'd go do his thing but he wouldn't do it all the time and make things happen and now he does.
So imagine that X 10 for the team. Patty + Milan + Bernie are such a strong, great line now. And they were pretty quiet for quite a long time and then they busted out suddenly one day and they've been so good, even better than Joe + Cheech for a few games. Bernier defends Milan's honor. Rookie defending another rookie's honor. *cries*
Tom Preissing. Illinois Minnesota Colorado boy. What the hell is he doing scoring OT goals??? How can he be like, mentoring Matt Carle, Mr. 10 games in the NHL straight out of college when he has less than 150 games of experience himself? And how can Matt Carle not be intimidated by the big bad NHL and play as well as he does, with his sweet passing and smart shot and stuff.
It feels as if every line can score goals. It feels like almost everyone has a goal or an assist in the win streak. Or if they don't, they're still playing like they could have.
And I haven't even talked about the big guys yet. Cheech. Holy shit, 56 goals. Double what he had last season. The boy was always a goal scorer, even back when he looked like a newborn deer and ended up in the net more often than he scored. When he used to celebrate so excitedly that he'd just fall down, all by himself. He just never gave up. And he always had that great shot. But this season his release seems so much quicker, and that's just great chemistry with Joe, that is.
I still don't like Joe all that much, but that's not to say that i don't recognise what an amazing player he is, and how he's helped everyone on the team. I really believe he deserves the Hart because he has made everyone on the team better. But I think a lot of what he does comes from natural ability and he certainly does work hard, I mean, he's a great penalty killer, and PK is about work, but I don't really sense that extra drive or belief or whatever it is. He's like the brilliant scientist on a Star Trek type show.
To have everything just click like this right now is just so overwhelming. The team just hasn't had that consistency over the season. See the numerous faceplants against the Coyotes. And when they had a good game, it was like, you could see why they did well for that game, but it didn't seem like there were indications that they'd continue to do well, and now there are.
Supposedly all of this started with the Yotes game at home, the OT loss where the Sharks came back to tie the game with 3 goals in the 3rd period. I haven't watched that game yet, but I think I will.
I love that the Sharks draft and trade for character. I love that the team has Patty's personality. I tend to judge teams by team character more than playing style, which is why I love and hate a mix of offensive and defensive teams.
I went to the game on Thursday against the Canucks with Lira. Honestly, I was expecting that we'd lose, because it was the 4th game in 5 nights and we'd already clinched a playoff spot and I figured there'd be some letdown. But I wanted to be there anyway to sort of "welcome" the Sharks back to San Jose (ha!) because I was so proud of Cheech hitting 50 and clinching the playoff spot.
And like... the Sharks are the only team that I'll call "mine", but I really love the Canucks, and it umm... kinda' made me happy to see Mo score and then hug Bert and then Nazzy leaped onto both of them, and Bert looked so happy after he scored and I just felt so awful that it came down to that home and home to determine the fate of their season.
And tonight, Bert and Nazzy and Mo, wow, it made me weepy to think that frala was there and how happy I am that she got to be at that game.
Okay, that's enough rambling from me.