Freud: Welcome to our best-of-three series
Despite San Jose’s very best efforts to tank the series, the Sharks and Avs are tied at two games going into tonight Game 5 of the Western Conference quarters on the left coast.
Now before you start sending me e-mails, think about it. Colorado’s winning goal in Game 1 came off a deflection from San Jose’s Rob Blake. And then there was Dan Boyle, who managed to shoot on his own net in Game 3, and score for the Avs in OT.
In one of the great quotes in San Francisco Bay Area sports history, Todd McLellan said “We didn’t beat their goalie. We found a way to beat ours,”
This is why it’s a moral imperative that San Jose win this series. With the exception of the rabid following of the Denver Broncos, Colorado sports fans are bandwagon hoppers. You don’t go through excruciating moments, a la Boyle, and stay with your team.
With the Rockies – by the way, the season has started, people – you look up in August and, if your team is in contention, you start paying attention. Heartbreak? Getting crushed by the Red Sox in World Series you had no business being in really doesn’t count.
Nuggets? You couldn’t give away the team’s jerseys or tickets 10 years ago. Now that they win 50 games per year and are in the playoffs, all aboard.
And the Avalanche is the ultimate indictment of the Colorado sports fan. You were gift-wrapped a Stanley Cup in the team’s first year in the state and have had winning seasons in 13 of 14 years
And you ranked 27th out of a league of 30 teams in attendance this year with a good team, ahead of only Nashville, serious hockey country there, the New York Islanders, an utterly dreadful franchise for 20-plus years, and Phoenix, which has had massive front office issues.
Yeah, the economy is in the tank, but the Red Wings, who have more expensive tickets and play in Michigan, which is in the bottom of bottoms economically, still sold out every game at the Joe with a team that was quite un-Detroit-like.
You don’t, as fans, deserve to win this series. What’s more on the ice, San Jose is emerging as the better team. Having shaken off breaks that would have crushed teams – including the playoff-challenged Sharks of the past – this series is tied with Avs goalie Graig Anderson playing out of his mind and San Jose’s Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley combining for all of three assists.
Both trends can’t continue in this series. It’s closing time, peeps.
A look around the rest of the world of sports:
• Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is lucky and got off lucky with the NFL. After his run-in with a lady in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., last year, one would have thought Big Ben might be a little more careful with his personal life. Apparently not, after his latest escapade in a college town in Georgia. Roethlisberger is fortunate not to be facing criminal charges for the latter.
In the meantime, Roger Godell, let’s be honest, is suspending him because of the league’s image, not out of deep concern for the quarterback. Just like Michael Vick, Roethlisberger will have his sentence reduced for good behavior. One hopes, thought, that Big Ben uses his time off to straighten out his life.
• Tiger Woods returns to the tour next with the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, N.C., and look out. If the Masters showed us anything it’s that he’s still the best player in the world, regardless of his other issues. To finish tied for fourth at Augusta with all the time off he’s had and all the mistakes he made during the tournament is ample proof.
• Got FedExCup fever? Can you name who’s leading golf’s points chase? Ernie Els. It’s a silly system that gives a player 500 points for winning a regular tournament and 600 for a major. You’re saying that winning a major is only 20 percent more important winning the Generic Company Open?
Phil Mickelson leads the point standings as far as I’m concerned.
• Speaking of which, I couldn’t have been the only one watching Lefty on Masters Sunday, saying, “Don’t do it, Phil.” That shot out of the rough, the second cut, the pine straw is why Phil is the gutsiest/dumbest golfer in the world.
• It’s NFL Draft day(s) … Football is a beautiful thing, don’t get me wrong. I love spending around 10 hours on a Sunday flipping through games on the dish just like any other red-blooded American. But three days for seven rounds is overkill.
• Speaking of overkill, we give you the NBA Playoffs. As a disclaimer, I grew up with the Golden State Warriors and am not a big basketball guy, which is understandable, having grown up with Joe Barry Carroll. But when is the first round going to end. A travel day in a series is fine. Four days between Games 2 and 3 for the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz? Are they walking?
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.