I'll put up a Sharks/Stars preview in the coming days, and my only real analysis for what happened in Game 7 is that the Sharks actually came to play. What I mean by that is:
-Evgeni Nabokov was huge when he needed to be.
-In general, the defense contained Calgary well.
-Joe Thornton looked more like his usual self, controlling the boards and the puck with his usual confidence.
-Patrick Marleau, though scoreless, worked harder than I think I've ever seen him, causing a few great scoring chances with his speed, killing penalties, and killing time off the clock with work down in Calgary's zone that frankly I never thought I'd see from the guy. One Calgary reporter said that Patty only had one good game, but I disagree; other than Game 6, which was awful in every facet, I couldn't question Patty's effort or intensity the entire series. Had he had some bounces go his way (see below for more on bounces), he could have easily had another 3 or 4 points this series.
-Brian Campbell, while still not looking great, had one awesome shift where he guarded Jarome Iginla almost like a basketball play. For that play, Iginla's back was mostly to Campbell as Soupy basically boxed him out and forced Iginla to back up.
-Jeremy Roenick. 'Nuff said from this JR fanboy.
-Great efforts by young guys like Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi, both creating plays and working hard on the forecheck.
-Hell, even Milan Michalek looked like he woke up and actually used his speed.
I don't know if it was mentioned on the TV broadcast, but from where I was sitting, it looked like Jonathan Cheechoo wasn't on the bench for the last 10 minutes of the period. I'm guessing that he might have gone in for some minor repairs and Ron Wilson was playing it safe since his team was rolling by that time. Hopefully, he'll be 100% come Friday.
Cheechew told me he thinks the problem with Brian Campbell may be a wrist injury. He suggests this only after noticing that Campbell protected one arm during a goal celebration. If that's true, that explains a ton.
As for the Flames, I am absolutely relieved that I won't have to see Dion Phaneuf or Jarome Iginla until next season. With those two guys going apeshit every shift, I can't imagine how scary Calgary would be if their defense and secondary scoring actually woke up.
Now, I know when you lose an emotional series, there's usually some denial and whining going on. Here's a great stupid quote from one Cory Sarich:
"The third one goes right to Roenick, where no one even has a chance to put a stick on him. It's frustrating when you think you're doing a good job and you end up with a couple going in your net on, I won't say . . . yes, I will say it -- questionable bounces."Ok, now I've heard of questionable calls by the officials and questionable plays made by players who weren't thinking straight, but I've never heard of anyone complaining about questionable bounces. I mean, isn't the whole idea behind a bounce in sports is that they're unpredictable and can go other way? Like if a puck goes in off Jarome Iginla's leg (as it has during this series) or if the puck lands by Jeremy Roenick? That's just sports. It's not affected by anyone's judgment, be it the official or someone on the ice -- it's just the puck hitting something and landing in a certain place, whether good or bad for your team.
Mr. Sarich, I leave you with a little nugget of wisdom from Carl Jung: There's no such thing as luck, only what you make. I suggest you think about that while you're checking out the golf course.