Larry Everson Gives his Prediction for the Western Conference Finals. I agree with him 100%
So here is my prediction for the Western Conference Championship:
The Sharks will take Chicago in 6 games ( I say 6 games because I don’t like thinking about Game 7′s unless they involve two teams like last night that don’t rhyme with Sharks). So if statistically these teams are pretty even what will be the difference maker? #1 above all is the intangible factor. I simply believe the Sharks have figured out what it takes to run deep in the playoffs and all of the players get it show a willingness to pay the price. As a team they have gotten better each and every game throughout the first two rounds. They came back from losing twice to Colorado on fluke goals to win. They have given up 1st goals and have won. They have been down late in the game and have come back to win. And they have won in OT (Chicago has not had an OT yet). And through all of the ups and downs they have never left their game plan ( I have blanked Game 4 in Detroit out of my memory). The players have made McLellan’s battle cry of overcoming adversity a living reality.
Conversely Chicago has been inconsistent. Not just for the playoffs but for the latter part of the season. The inconsistency showed up again against Vancouver in two games. I believe that inconsistent play is the number one symptom associated with the lack of what I have referred to as the intangibles. Stanley Cup champions win and lose over the course of a long playoff season but they are consistent, disciplined, they don’t leave their game plan when adversity rears its ugly head (sorry but this instantly conjures up the image of Baafoon). And if anyone should recognize the symptom it should be Sharks fans.
For several years we have had all of the talent in the world needed to win Lord Stanley’s Cup. While we have been perennial favorites to make the finals for longer than we would like to admit (oh the pain) we have not only failed but failed miserably. The issue has never been a shortage of talent. It has been a shortage of a number of things that pure talent can’t buy. Its the will to win, to overcome, to play beyond your physical limits for 2 1/2 months. It the grit, the ability to play not only with pain but to play at a high level when injured. It is the ability to commit to your role, to play as a team and not as an individual when the pressure is on. It is all of these things and more. And these things can’t be turned on and off like a switch. They are experiential and more often than not are learned through periods of great expectations followed by painful failures (sound familiar Shark fans).
Everything has come too easily and quickly to this young, gifted and talent rich Chicago Blackhawks team just as it did for the Sharks earlier in their history. But as with earlier versions of today’s Sharks and as evidenced by their inconsistency, I don’t believe the Blackhawks have learned how to win at this level and I believe the Sharks will emerge victorious in this series. Now having said this here is my hedge ……. please Nabby do your part and play better than you ever have before. We need 8 wins starting with 4 from Chicago.
The clock is ticking towards Noon PDT tomorrow. I will see you at the Tank.
Written by Larry Everson