“He can’t do that. It screws up all my plans.”
Sal Tessio to Tom Hagen, The Godfather.
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There is a plan, one I have concocted, that could happen, won’t happen, but should happen. This plan requires that both the San Jose Sharks and Golden State Warriors each win their respective titles, plan parades for the same day alone the same rout, and have them meet midway between SAP Center and Oracle Arena up 880. The parades meet right at the midpoint of the Thornton Avenue exit at what Daniel Simpson Day of Animal House fame would describe as “ramming speed,” and smash into one galactically massive fireball of seared metal and roasted revelers that could be seen on the Saturnian moon of Enceladus . . . which, coincidentally, is where the NHL is planning to expand if Las Vegas doesn’t work out.
And what’s your plan, smartass – to win the World Series of Poker main event?
Anyway, that was the plan before the Sharks decided to be outskated, outworked, outdrawn, outhit, out-thought and generally outSharked by the Pittsburgh Penguins and still take Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final to overtime before failing, 2-1.
Conor Sheary, one of the Penguins’ Jetpack Set, ripped a 30-foot wrister past the otherwise nonpareil Martin Jones 2:35 into overtime to put the Sharks on their backs and the Hellish Parade Masterplan into serious jeopardy.
Moreover, it was the correct result given the run of play. Pittsburgh was the better team for the bulk of Game 1, and twice as good Thursday night, and Jones is the reason why the aggregate goals line is 5-3 to the Flightless Aquatic Antarctic Birds rather than twice or three times’ that. It was so lopsided that San Jose’s top laryngeal representative Dan Rusanowsky was reduced to describing the game on the radio as a matter of (and we quote here), “What in the nick-nack-paddy-whack-give-your-dog-a-bone is going on out there?”
[INSTANT REPLAY: Sheary's OT goal gives Pens 2-0 lead over Sharks]
Sorry. No idea whatsoever. Maybe he was deep into a Yuengling binge.
Be that as it may, the Sharks now return home much the inferior team and facing 10-1 odds as the 50th team in Cup Final history to fall behind 2-0, in hopes of being the sixth team to overcome it and join the 2011 Bostons, 2009 Pittsburghs, 1971 and 1966 Montreals and 1942 Torontos as the teams that cheated math.
You may recall that this is the same daunting level of math that afflicted the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Final against Oklahoma City, and unless you believe that winning early in a series is a predictor of ultimate failure, you must surely see that the Sharks have their head in an electric vise, and are in a more difficult spot than the Warriors were because there is no selachimorphan corollary to Stephen Curry.
Of course, there is no earthly corollary to Stephen Curry, so let’s leave that narrative before we're all shamed for cliche-mongering.
There is a truth, though, in the knowledge that the Sharks were not shamed from the Consol Energy Center as the Warriors were the Chesapeake Energy Center (energy here not being the operative word). Jones, and to a lesser extent Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray, kept the game honest, with the aid of six posts that equally afflicted the teams. Indeed, the games have been awfully open for as few goals have been scored, and while San Jose lives with a high tempo, its top gear is clearly not that of Pittsburgh’s.
So far, they have been beaten at the faceoff dot (46 percent), shots attempted (45 percent) and general zone control (watch the games again, and you’ll see). Only Jones has played at or above capability, and a goaltender on his head cannot be saved when the other 18 gents are averaging a goal every 41 minutes.
Thus, while Peter DeBoer noted that the Sharks have lost with three minutes in regulation and in overtime, “so I think we’ll hold off on the funeral,” it will take more than shuffling the lines in the third period to allow them to cheat the reaper that the Warriors just foiled.
And the dream of the dueling parades from Ramming Speed International Speedway is now clearly on hold, which brings to mind one more moment with our pal Sal.
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“Tom, can you get me off the hook? For old time’s sake?”
It is very much up to the Sharks to avoid the well-cited answer – “Sorry, Sally, no chance.”
There’s always a chance, of course, but Sharks fans must wonder if, in addition to everything else, the Warriors didn’t already steal the one San Jose desperately needs now.