Sharks are scared.
Oh, I hope so, in the sense of extremely wary, not overconfident, that is.
My sister said, "Oh man, I wish the Sharks would have taken game one like 6-0 or something!"
I wheeled around on her, "NO! No way would I EVER wish that. Not for game one OR game 7. That's a recipe for Tortoise and Hare syndrome that I don't want the Sharks infected with. It's a recipe for CHOKE, as the opposing team comes to the next game far, far more wary, focused, respectful
, and worse yet, loaded for bear."
Worst thing for the Sharks, really. I like the fact that it was a one-goal game.
No, I would much prefer that the Wings go away from game one feeling good about themselves, thinking, "It was only a few lapses on our parts", or "If it wasn't for bad officiating", or "We were just tired after a long series"...anything that takes credit away from the other team, and says essentially that your own regular game and game play should be enough to do the job.
I'm glad that few are favoring the Sharks, thinking of them as chokers, pointing to their past performances, etc., because in the past, whenever the Sharks are called out and held up as the favorite darlings (as Melrose et al are doing TO
the Wings now) the Sharks waltz onto the ice for their Superiority coronations, only to get their asses handed to them by a hungrier, more respectful team.
By all means, keep Sharks the underdogs. Pay no attention to home ice advantage, or even their seeding, which is regular season and means absolutely nothing. Make the Sharks very, very small in the eyes of the Wings players. Crown Detroit the de facto superior and more deserving winner up front. Tout their superior depth, and puff them way the hell up!
Sharks: Paint them like a nobody long shot that really doesn't stand a chance (like, say Rocky Balboa the nobody). Make the Wings the unbeatable and mighty Godzilla, the mother of all unbeatable teams. And never let either team forget it. Only then will the Sharks have a solid chance at dusting the Wings and moving that much closer to the Cup. In other words, scare the f*** out of them -- just like everyone did to a much younger, much less talented Sharks in 1994.
Unlike the last couple of playoff seasons, where the Sharks were virtually crowned by many in advance (WHICH MADE ME CRINNNNGE), and made out as THE TEAM to watch and fear (ooh, so much younger, bigger, faster, blah blah blah), they're actually getting the disrespect they need
that can actually throw off ego and keep their adrenaline and concentration and focus at consistent winning levels.