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What Happens If The Sharks Miss The Playoffs?

Scott Burnside and Craig Custance of ESPN look at Kings/Sharks, Stars/Coyotes and Canucks/Blackhawks,

CUSTANCE: There’s no doubt that the Sharks missing the playoffs would be a colossal failure, and not just because I picked them to win the Stanley Cup. How you can get blown out 5-2 in an absolutely crucial game against the Kings is beyond me. That kind of effort is mystifying.

If this team misses the playoffs, some decisions in team construction will definitely be scrutinized. Hitching the wagon to Antti Niemi isn’t looking like the smartest move. Since the All-Star break, Niemi is 7-10-4 with a 2.81 goals-against average and .903 save percentage. The deadline-day decision to send Jamie McGinn to Colorado for T.J. Galiardi and Daniel Winnik isn’t panning out either. McGinn has 10 points in 11 games for the Avalanche, while Galiardi and Winnik have combined for exactly one point. Playoff teams need secondary scoring and the Sharks aren’t getting it….

BURNSIDE: Well, I don’t think the Sharks are going to make it so your excellent question of whether the Sharks could affect a major upset in the playoffs is going to be moot (and I’m not just saying that because you picked the Sharks to win the Cup, although I do kind of enjoy that part of it). One of the reasons the table is tilted against San Jose, beyond having two more games against the Kings, is that Dallas, Phoenix and Colorado continue to collect points….

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Comments

mrfluffy's avatar

McLellan gets fired and comes back to run the PK?

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 03/21/12 at 02:32 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

McLellan gets fired and comes back to run the PK?

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 03/21/12 at 12:32 PM ET

Don’t you go filling us up with hope.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 03/21/12 at 02:47 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Well, we could get Garth in here; he’s in a good mood this morning.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 03/21/12 at 02:54 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I think it’s pretty clear Todd will get the axe first.

Which is a shame, because I think by now we all know it’s the “leaders” of the team at fault.  But Wilson will never admit a mistake by himself, so the players won’t take the fall (except Havlat, who might tear his groin form that fall).

I really don’t know how Shark fans can stand it.  I really don’t.

Posted by Primis on 03/21/12 at 03:15 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

A shame? It’s moronic.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 03/21/12 at 03:23 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

We keep up our free fall and we’re gonna be right next to them waiting to tee off.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 03/21/12 at 03:34 PM ET

Avatar

This is a joke right? Some people really think they are going to miss the playoffs? Really…I am not that lucky! Dream on!

Posted by Nat from MTL on 03/21/12 at 03:41 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

The ridiculous part of all of this is that, with nine games left, the Sharks are only 3 points out of the Pacific Division lead – and the #3 seed. The fact that LA and Phoenix are between San Jose and Dallas makes them winning the division less probable. But it could happen.

I hate this whole business of a division winner (no matter how crappy their record is or how bad their division is) getting an automatic seed. After 82 games, the best eight teams in each conference should make the playoffs and they should get the seed their record earns them. Period.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 03/21/12 at 04:49 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I hate this whole business of a division winner (no matter how crappy their record is or how bad their division is) getting an automatic seed. After 82 games, the best eight teams in each conference should make the playoffs and they should get the seed their record earns them. Period.

Posted by OlderThanChelios on 03/21/12 at 02:49 PM ET

It was done precisely for the Southeast and Pacific divisions.  All the non-traditional markets that rarely have powerful teams, when the NHL re-aligned they put that in to pacify owners in those divisions that were afraid their division wouldn’t get in at all.

Notice how it’s the same divisions year after year that are in this problem?  That’s not a coincidence…

Posted by Primis on 03/21/12 at 05:00 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I hate this whole business of a division winner (no matter how crappy their record is or how bad their division is) getting an automatic seed. After 82 games, the best eight teams in each conference should make the playoffs and they should get the seed their record earns them. Period.

Posted by OlderThanChelios on 03/21/12 at 02:49 PM ET

This.  A thousand times this.  Dallas, with 85 points, is in third place. It’s a joke. (And I don’t care why it was done.  It’s still a joke.)

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/21/12 at 05:54 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

I think it was done to keep divisions relevant - there was an outcry that they would fall by the wayside, and traditionalists love divisions (I know I do).
Anyway, these jokers really put things in perspective.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 03/21/12 at 05:58 PM ET

Matt Fry's avatar

So you mean the non-traditional, SE and NW divisions?  Because the pacific division has had that setup go in their favour maybe once in 15 years.  SE for sure, several times over that same time frame.  I do agree with the posting, just your facts are a bit skewed.

But I still do agree with Chelios.  If a team in ninth place has more points than the guy in third who’s in a different division (Which I think has happened several times), I’d feel crappy.  Hopefully, that can change in the coming years, maybe with realignment changes but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Posted by Matt Fry from Winnipeg on 03/21/12 at 06:07 PM ET

Avatar

Southeast Division since the 2001-2002 season:
2001-2002: Carolina is #3, would’ve been #7 by points.
2002-2003: Tampa is #3, would’ve been #5 by points.
2003-2004: Tampa is #1, was #1 by points, and won the Cup.
2005-2006: Carolina is #2, was #2 by points, and won the Cup.
2006-2007: Atlanta is #3, would’ve been #5 by points.
2007-2008: Washington is #3, would’ve been either #6 or 7 by points (tiebreaker)
2008-2009: Washington is #2, was #2 by points.
2009-2010: Washington is #1, was #1 by points.
2010-2011: Washington is #1, was #1 by points.

I’ll concede that it’s a little crappy that a team in a “mediocre” division gets home ice in the 1st round no matter what, but there was not a single instance of a team with superior points being denied a playoff spot by a Southeast division winner (at least since 2001-2002).

I admit to being too lazy to research the other divisions, but does anyone recall the last time a ninth place team (with more points than a third place team in a different division) was denied a playoff spot?  Because it hasn’t happened in the Southeast.  It came very close to happening in 2007-2008 when Washington barely squeaked in, but even they would’ve still made the playoffs without the benefit of the “division winner auto-in” rule.

Posted by GregAnnapolis on 03/21/12 at 07:01 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

I hate this whole business of a division winner (no matter how crappy their record is or how bad their division is) getting an automatic seed. After 82 games, the best eight teams in each conference should make the playoffs and they should get the seed their record earns them. Period.

Posted by OlderThanChelios on 03/21/12 at 02:49 PM ET

Winning is what should get you into the playoffs. To earn the points and be denied is Horse-hockey.

Uh, Thanks Gary. Ass.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 03/21/12 at 09:03 PM ET

Avatar

I agree that only the top 8 teams in points in each conference should reach the playoffs. However, it seems to be implied that the Pacific division is one of those divisions that always benefits from this system. Whilst it’s true this season, it is not typically so. In numerous recent seasons, the Pacific has in fact been the strongest division in the Western Conference. Last season, the Pacific division had 4 teams in the playoffs, and it would have been 5 had Dallas beaten Minnesota in the final game.

Posted by UK Sharks fan from Glasgow, UK on 03/22/12 at 10:29 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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