Congrats to the Pacific Division champion San Jose Sharks. After an impressive win over the Ducks in Anaheim the Sharks claimed their top 2 seeding and another win over a hated division rival who they may have to play in the post season. They finish up the season with games over bottom dwellers and will get the good fortune of resting their stars, playing their young guys and probably winning all three reaming contests (2 against the lowly Kings and the last to Stupid Dallas) to threaten the Wings for the leagues best record and the Presidents Trophy.
Case in point, for the last week Jonathan Cheechoo has been out after suffering a cheap shot by a cheap player, which has forced, or allowed, Ron Wilson to shuffle the lines while resting Cheech.
Jeremy Roenick has taken his place on Big Joe's top line and the results have been excellent. Adding Roenick adds another solid skater and play maker, taking some of those responsibilities from Thornton allowing him to look for his own shot more frequently. Wilson has to be happy about having such great chemistry between two amazing playmakers and the production while one of his teams top goal scorers rests up.
Its just one of many things Ron Wilson is happy about.
I am sure he is happy about being able to get Curtis Brown tons of burn as he works himself back after his injury.
Wilson is probably smitten with getting his MVP goalie a little rest knowing mid season Brain Boucher is going to give his team a chance to win as well as hone his skills in case his number gets called come the post season.
I am sure he is stoked about getting his young guys Torrey Mitchell and Devin Setoguchi a few more minutes and little more experience before they endure their first Western Conference playoff run.
I guarantee he's happy about his job security these days as well. Oh, and the dominating win to eliminate pesky Phoenix from the playoffs tonight must have brought a smile, however small, to his face.
Its small things like that over the course of a long season can make the difference come playoff time. Thanks to a timely points run over the last 40 days, the Sharks have secured their playoff seeding and now have the opportunity to rest key players like Big joe and JR. They can work other players into heavier minutes like Setoguchi and Pavelski, readying them for the playoffs. Now, working in injured players who will be needed to make contributions in the playoffs like Curtis Brown and (hopefully) Ryan Clowe is a luxury for them.
Its a blessing and a reward after the surreal season the Sharks endured. How many teams thrive on the road, even though their fans were coming out in droves for their home games? Hom many times has a team dominated the defensive side of the game both physically and skill wise, and couldn't score goals? How many teams follow up a potentially playoff spoiling 5 game losing streak with an amazing point streak that lasts forever, or at least 19 games? Very few.
How many teams get better every day up to the playoffs, even while resting their best players?
The San Jose Sharks, that's who.
See you in the playoffs.