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The Panda theory of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Stashed in: Sharks!, Hockey

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I've been a wreck as the 2012 NHL regular season drew to a close because my Sharks were in dire likelihood of not making the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As always, the Panda was my emotional ballast, shrugging off my daily yips of despair with stoic grace. Now that we're in the playoffs, I should share his theory of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and how it might work in favor of my Sharks.

The Panda believes in two factors above all else: momentum going into the playoffs, and lack of injury which is a big luck factor in hockey.

When it comes to mo, the Sharks are supreme going into the playoffs. As recently as March 21, a mere two and a half weeks ago in the wake of a brutal loss to the LA Kings, our odds of making the playoffs were allegedly 37%. But after that the Sharks ripped off 7 wins in the last 9 games to finish the season strong against highly-motivated, mostly divisional opponents. In contrast, their upcoming quarterfinal foes the St Louis Blues lost 6 of 9, including losses to almost all their divisional opponents.

What makes the Blues' skid so baffling is that they appear to have no injuries. The Sharks also seem to be in good shape, with no one but Torrey Mitchell out with injury. In contrast, many of the best teams in the Western Conference are going into the playoffs with significant issues involving top players such as Daniel Sedin, Jonathan Toews, and Jeff Carter.

There is one other factor which is so characteristic of the Sharks that I have to mention it: they love being the underdog and consistently choke as the favorite. They always seem to play strong against the strong teams and lose to teams they don't take seriously -- for instance their last two losses were to the underestimated Coyotes and the lowly Ducks. The Sharks seem to be perversely delighted to be playing a team that utterly p0wn3d them in the regular season.

Momentum and lack of injury helps in baseball, basketball, and football too.

Usually the team with the fewest injuries wins. So staying healthy is an important part of the sport. 

You've captured excellently why, even though they enter the second season seventh, the Sharks are poised to go deep in the 2012 playoffs.

See, I listen to you! :)

If either of you are ever headed to Philly, let me know. My father has had season tickets to the Flyers longer than he's had me. :)

Will do!

Meanwhile, the 2012 Flyers / Penguins series that's about to happen is going to be the stuff of legend.

The phrase I keep hearing is: "a man's gonna die". Or at least bleed a LOT.

No one died, but there was lots of blood.

What if the West teams (Phoenix, San Jose, Kings) have fewer points because they're in the toughest division?

All three could potentially reach the second round. Especially with the Canucks having the Presidents Trophy curse.

Phoenix and the Kings did advance to the second round.

So much for that theory.

We'll look back on 2012 as the year the Sharks, Canucks, Penguins, and Red Wings all went out early.

Actually, go back and watch how the Kings ended up winning, and great teams like the Rangers ended up choking before the finals.

Momentum definitely helped. But there was also weird ref'ing in the playoffs of 2012.

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