In previous seasons a physical game with the San Jose Sharks would go something like this:
Sharks: Hey guy, that was dirty hit. That was really mean of you.
Opposing Player: Get over it man, we’re playing hockey. Oh is that your captain? I’m going to hit him in the back.
Sharks: You know what I think I should stand up for myself. I’m going to—oh looks like we already lost the game. Next time, I guess. Say, is Jeremy Roenick still playing?
And that’s how it has been for the last nine years. Every year, the Sharks would march in to the season with a ridiculously talented roster and then lose in the playoffs to a scrappy underdog whose only real accomplishment was leading the league in courage. This year, however, the Sharks are coming out with an edge and mowing down each opponent like it’s Chuck Norris versus the Teletubbies.
Take the Canucks tonight. Cheap shots galore. Early lead by the Sharks cut down to one on a bad luck deflection. Canucks pressing and causing a lot of turnovers in the Sharks’ zone. This would be where you expect the Sharks to begin to unravel.