The NHL salary cap practically legislates against consistency. If the season had ended Saturday, three of the Western Conference playoff teams would be new ones, including the Vegas Golden Knights, who of course are brand spanking new — and spanking the whole league. As someone pointed out on social media, the Knights have won 31 games. The Ottawa Senators didn’t win their 31st game until late April. — of their third season in the NHL. Edmonton, thought to be leading the line of succession, would be out. Colorado, which ended last year as one of the most obscure teams in pro sports, would be in. Chicago would be out, Winnipeg in. But the San Jose Sharks have a resistant vaccine to the bends. They came into Anaheim on Sunday night as the second-place team in the Pacific Division. They left with an emphatic 6-2 victory that increased their playoff probabilities, and lessened Anaheim’s. Since the 2003-04 season, San Jose has been in the playoffs every year but one. Since play resumed from the lockout in 2005-06, San Jose came into this season with 1,199 points, most in the NHL. This is where someone will point out that the Sharks haven’t gotten around to winning the Stanley Cup and, in fact, only made the Finals once, against Pittsburgh two years ago. They have done it with two fabulous trades and a consistent development system. They got Joe Thornton from Boston in November of 2005 for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau, and Brad Stuart. And in the summer of 2011, San Jose got Brent Burns from Minnesota and only had to give up Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and first-round pick Zack Phillips. Thornton became the 13th NHL player to reach 1,000 assists and has been the axis of all this winning. Burns is the reigning Norris Trophy winner.
Sharks are a constant in the volatile NHL
Orange County Register | Jan 22