Western Conference Quarterfinals:
#2 St. Louis Blues vs #7 San Jose Sharks
First of all, the Blues are a #2 seed?? How did that happen? Did Matthew Broderick steal the password from the principal’s office and hack into the NHL’s computer? (In a related story, Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo got straight “A”s for the first time!)
Under the guidance of veteran coach (and Civil War enthusiast) Ken Hitchcock, the Blues won their first division title since 2000. Perhaps instead of scouting the Sharks on game film, he dresses the team up in Sharks gear and has them re-enact the games.
The Blues have approached the playoffs the way my parents approached church; they don’t go very often and when they do, they leave early. But this year’s team works hard, is well coached, and has no expectations on it, despite its high seeding.
The Sharks, meanwhile, have struggled with playoff expectations. They reached the conference finals the past two seasons, and have gone 1-8 in those games. For Sharks fans, the same questions still remain: Does this team have the will to win the Cup? Is it time to rebuild? What is icing?
The Sharks do enter the playoffs with a dangerous power play, second in the league at 21.1%, so the Blues would be wise to stay out of the penalty box. This is especially true for games in San Jose, where the fans announce the power play by making a chomping shark mouth with their arms. The less we see of that, the better. Nothing says hockey tradition like teal uniforms and fans who make sharky-sharks with their arms.
Also, the actual St. Louis is a canonized king of France, a Crusader, and a prisoner of war. St. Joseph is a carpenter. A nice guy, for sure, but no match. (At least I don’t think so; remember, I left church early.)
Blues in 5.