Easily? I think you are far underestimating the Sharks. Have you not seen their roster? Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, Couture, Clowe, Havlat, an improved bottom 6, Boyle, Vlasic, Burns, etc. Niemi isn't the best goalie in the NHL but he has already won a cup so I don't think you can just throw him in the dump. The Sharks have enough talent to get hot at any time and pull an upset on someone.
The Coyotes just don't scare me at all.
But I'll be fine with whoever and am just looking forward to it.
Hopefully the Blues win the game tonight. I think our 4th-line looks solid. Might as well give a few guys some rest since we can afford it.
I've watched tons of both their games. Sharks routinely lay eggs. Phoenix routinely fights back in contests. Smith is way better than Niemi. The Sharks are a shallow team with their top end talent and outside of Couture and Pavelski those top end guys are innate non-responders in the playoffs. Head to head the Coyotes have clearly outplayed the Sharks as well. The Sharks can't handle a team with speed and forechecking and pressure. They cough up pucks and their goaltending can't shut the door. They're also undisciplined. The Sharks lose every year in the playoffs because they're shallow like the old Blues teams were. Shallow and flawed and non-threatening.
I'm not saying I'm worried about Phoenix in the playoffs. But I think Smith is far more likely to steal a series than is Niemi, and that's the #1 way upsets happen in the NHL. The three teams that worry me are Vancouver, Detroit and Nashville. I hope one of those is eliminated and tires the other out (DET/NSH) and that the Blues have home ice in case they meet Vancouver.
Milbury said both Smith and Elliott could have been had by anybody in the league, which is a little misleading. The Blues' Plan A was Smith (per JR) but Phoenix paid him 2 yr, 2M per and the Blues couldn't spend that much. HELL of a Plan B.
That's one of the reasons I covet Yandle. He's excellent.
Blues are playing fine, it was a great shot. It's early. But you see what we're seeing from the Coyotes? This is what I keep trying to tell you guys they have that the Sharks don't. There's plenty of talent up front, better coaching, better D, better goaltending by a lot. And overall a lot more resilience and will in their battle.
Quick and Smith are so far ahead of Niemi. You guys realize we've only faced Smith once this season, right?
Yeah - this is the major reason the Sharks don't worry me nearly as much as the other two. Quick and Smith are goalies who can steal games in a tight series. And if you've got a tender who can steal games you can beat anybody. Even during his Cup run with the Hawks Niemi wasn't an elite goaltender and he's arguably the weakest starter of all the Western playoff teams (maybe second weakest after Crawford).
The Blues wouldn't be getting any more easy passes against LaBarbera in the playoffs and the Yotes have a deeper and tougher forward group than San Jose despite the lack of big-name talent. Give me the Sharks.