Well I have finally returned from a much needed break from the cold-weather and was down in Myrtle Beach, SC this past week. It was a great vacation to get away, get a tan, and take in how beautiful the country is by driving down from Buffalo.
But seriously, it is great to be back in a place where people have better things to do like watch hockey than cruise up and down Ocean Blvd. wasting gas.
First of all, congratulations to the San Jose Sharks for beating the Ducks twice, the Stars, and winning the Pacific Division Title! I was able to watch the first game against the Ducks and thought the effort was impressive.
Now, to matters at hand.
I was disgusted by Kunitz's vicious elbow to Jonathan Cheechoo. That was a dirty cheap shot and really there should have been a response in the second game. I do not mean anything dirty, but Kunitz should have been a target all night long to get hit, get hit hard, and maybe even challenged to a fight.
You cannot allow a team to get away with taking out one of your best players. The Sharks should have sent a message, because the past two playoffs when the Sharks should have sent a message to not fool around with dirty plays, they did not.
I am intrigued by Karen Francis's blog which is a response to Ryan Garner's blog on retribution. Hockey is violent, and it is a battle every night. Hockey is filled with emotion, and those who follow the Sharks feel like retaliation was needed. Perhaps calling for an injury was too much, but it is just a blog and is an opinion.
Also, very interesting to hear about the response from the Ducks's players. Sometimes I wonder if the players read what people write or hear about it and I think it is cool that she brought up Garner's blog to them.
I wonder, though, if the tables were switched. What if Getzlaf had just been elbowed by Jody Shelley and taken out of the game? Perhaps Ducks fans would be feeling a little bit differently. And I think the response by the Ducks could be a dirty one.
First of all, I think most fans are intelligent enough to understand that a blog is an opinion, not an article in the NY Times. Garner writes many articles, sometimes controversial, and at times gets quite a rise out of those who read his articles. It is his opinion, and people react to what they read.
Secondly, retaliation is a must. However, the Sharks will never stoop down to how dirty that play was. It must be clean, hard, and to the point. Taking out another team's player is dirty, so why be dirty when you can retaliate clean? Attacking another player is goonish, and does not solve the problem.
The best way to retaliate is that you hit hard, play hard, stay on Kunitz all night, talk trash to him, and make sure he knows if anyone pulls that crap again, there will be hell to pay. That is the nature of the business. An eye for an eye leads to the Bertuzzi incident, and I only pray that an incident like that never happens again.
Whatever the case, no matter who is right and who is wrong, the pot definitly seems to be stirring between the Sharks and Ducks. Personally, I cannot stand the Ducks, at all. They have players I absolutely loathe because of their history of being cheap and dirty.
Honestly, I have no idea what hockey is like in Anaheim. If the fans there are as passionate as Sharks fans, or hate the Sharks. I couldn't tell you, but there is quite a distaste toward the Ducks from San Jose.
One incident of bad blood will launch this rivalry into a nasty one.
The hit on Cheechoo, the apparant issue with a blogger's opinion, Chris Pronger, NorCal, SoCal, and the looming head-on collision with the Ducks will throw this rivalry into the Avs-Wings of the 90's.
Whether you love the Sharks or Ducks, and cannot stand the other, I would love to see this rivalry pick it up, and hopefully garner more national and Canadian coverage down the road. I am annoyed of watching the Atlantic division on tv week after week after week, even though the Sharks were finally on Versus again in Phoenix.
And again, just to be clear. Dirty cheap plays and dirty retalations have no place in hockey. The best way to go about retaliation is to hit hard, hit strong, chirp it up, and win the game. Focusing on dirty retaliations and crossing the line distracts players from the game and what matters the most. And that is winning the Stanley Cup.
But, once again congratulations to the Sharks for the Pacific Division title. 3 Banners will for sure hang from HP Pavilion. I would love to see 2 more added to that list before the season is over.