Monday, April 20, 2009

Mental Aspect of NHL Playoffs

I just had this conversation with KFWB Sports Guy, Bret Lewis, about the Anaheim Ducks chances against the San Jose Sharks. The Ducks, the 8th seed in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference, The Sharks the top seed, and the team with the best regular season record, have played two games in their best of seven, with the Ducks stealing two in San Jose.

Bret asks, "What are the Ducks chances?

Consider two things. Since the all-star break, and certainly during the final weeks of the season, the Ducks had one of the best records in the league. The Sharks, after a blazing start of the season, not as good at the end...perhaps due to injuries, but The Ducks, by record alone, are the hotter of the two teams at this point in the season.

The other thing to consider is the weight San Jose has on it's shoulders. OK, it's a monkey on their backs. San Jose has amassed 100 or more points in 4 of their last 5 seasons and hasn't made it out of the Western Conference playoffs yet. Now they've lost two at home to start the post-season. Do you think the teams' history, coupled with the first two games, is playing on the minds of the players? It's got to be. They're human...and they are hockey players. They are like baseball players who go into long hitting slumps, and don't come back until they see a sports psychologist. Remember the Ducks first half of this season? How many nights was it patently obvious that the team didn't believe they could win? The players would never admit something like that, but contrast their body language and workmanship from the first half against the second half. The team has swagger now.

To review: San Jose is coming off an average second half, just the opposite for the Ducks. San Jose's post-season history precedes them...and, may I add, though Sharks fans may have forgotten, the Sharks players and coaches have not, The Ducks in recent years have been post-season giant killers (ask Detroit and Dallas).

Bottom line, I like the Ducks chances against San fact, here: Ducks in 5.

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1 comment:

  1. I can't agree more. I think a huge factor in the Ducks achievements right now is what has happened since the trade deadline. It's VERY possible that this team is amazing, and if we had seen this group for a whole season, the standings might look very different. But for right NOW. They're hot and I love it! :)