Reber Senior Project


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Reber Senior Project

  1. 1. Sonoma State Hockey Rolls to WCHL Playoffs By Mitch Reber Coach Carey poses with Sonoma State's "A" Team Sonoma State’s roller Freeman. “But the games are team, and choose to dedicate champs and receive a spot in the hockey team has lived in still extremely physical. We their free time to helping the national tournament hosted out of obscurity since it started up got into a fight this season vs. squad. Pennsylvania. three years ago, written off as Arizona State. Their goalie “I’ve been coaching for “The talent level of our team just one of more than eighteen hit one of our players and it about 10 years, but mostly has increased ten-fold, and I sports clubs that the school has turned into a four-on-four ice hockey,” said John Carey. really think we have a chance,” to offer. This year they demand scrap.” “The team asked me to coach said Freeman. “To think that this recognition however, and them two years ago, to help team was just seven guys at first. have played their best hockey “Our team has great chemistry, keep it organized, and I said Now we have eighteen players— to date—finishing second in and we are all friends outside of sure.” including four who the Northern Division of the hockey,” said Freeman. “We have One of the major were selected to the all-star Western Collegiate Hockey had a great season, and hope- problems that the team faced squad.” League with a record of 8-7-1. fully we can keep that success was practice space—seeing “We beat Berkley before, After a slow start to the alive in the playoffs.” as there are no roller surfaces but USC will be a tougher season, the team caught fire to practice on in the area, the challenge,” said coach Carey. “I recently and has won seven of Being on the team is a squad was forced to skate on think we can do it though because their last 10 games—earning commitment that the players an outdoor concrete surface in the team works so well together, a playoff spot in next week’s don’t take lightly. With Santa Rosa. and we are really starting to play Regional Championship in weekly practices and long “We switched where solid hockey.” Corona, CA. This will be the road-trips, the team is only we practice this year and I No matter what the outcome club’s first playoff appearance, successful because of the think that has made a huge of the tournament is, there is no and the players hope that group’s dedication. difference,” said Carey. “Now doubt the season has been a huge their success will help shine a “We routinely take six hour the kids play in an adult success for the roller hockey club. spotlight on a sport that isn’t as drives to get to tournaments,” league in Alameda, which With only two players graduating mainstream as they’d like. said team treasurer Ryan gives them a chance to skate this year, the sport has a very “There are some major Bordley. "It’s a good time to on Sport-Court—the same promising future at SSU. differences between roller bond, but it can be a hardship material our league games are “Our team has great hockey and ice hockey,” on funds.” played on.” chemistry, and we are all friends said team president Dan Since the hockey team is The difference is indeed outside of hockey,” said Freeman. Freeman. “For starters, there a club, players have dues to noticeable as Sonoma, who “We have had a great season, are four skaters instead of pay each semester, covering finished ‘07-’08 in dead last, and hopefully we can keep that five, and no icing or offside costs like jerseys, hotel rooms, now has a chance to advance success alive in the playoffs.” penalties. The games are much gas, and paying for rink in the Western Conference quicker than ice hockey, and time. Some of this burden is Division II playoffs. Next you end up getting scores like relieved by the two coaches Friday the entire squad will 8-3, 2-9, 10-4, etc.” of the team, who are both travel seven hours to Corona Another major difference volunteering their time. to face USC and Cal State between ice and roller hockey John Carey, a reserve Berkley in the first round. If is the physical aspect. police officer, and Richard they win these games they “You can’t go out of your Bordley, a firefighter, both need to win another two way to hit someone,” said have children playing on the matches to be crowned
  2. 2. of fantastic athletes who 9) Randy Dedini: Team All-Conference and The donned the Seawolf (or Considered to be one of First Team All-West Region Top Ten Cossack) jersey. Many the best goaltenders in each of the three years she great players have walked SSU history, Dedini played played. In 1998, she led Athletes in the Sonoma campus over the years—but who was from 1992-1993. Second only to Dave Kaufman in Sonoma State to a CCAA tournament victory, and Sonoma the greatest? Although career saves and shutouts, then to the NCAA Division State sports success has come Dedini accomplished a II championship game. and gone at SSU, the lot in his two years at History accomplishments of the athletes who played them SSU—including his13- shutout season in 1993 that Impressive Stat: Only SSU team sport player to win has been imortalized. Here earned him a Second Team three consecutive All- is a list of some of the All-American nomination. American nominations. Sonoma State athletics first began in 1964 with 7) Vince Inglima: The two- the formation of the first year career of Vince Inglima school-sanctioned sport— (2004-2006) is highly men’s basketball. In their celebrated with almost first season, the Cossacks every award imaginable. (SSU’s previous mascot, As a guard, Inglima lead before changing to the SSU to their first conference Seawolf in 2002) lost every championship in 2005-2006, single game—going 0-11 earning SSU Male Athlete and finishing in dead last. of the Year, CCAA Player of Since that time, the sports of the Year, and CCAA department at SSU has Male Athlete of the Year grown tremendously, and a honors along the way. He lot has changed. was also named the Most To date, Sonoma has Valuable Player, All-CCAA earned three national first team, First Team championships titles for All-Star, Division II All- women’s soccer (1990), American, All-District West men’s soccer (2002), and Region, and Academic All- in men’s golf (2009), as The Best of the Best: (left to right) Amy Apodaca, Chris District during his career at well as 32 total conference Difani, Christopher Ziemer, Derek Bell, Jann Thorpe, John SSU. titles, and six California Volpi, Erni Jensen (seated) Collegiate Athletic This 6’5’’, 205 lb. guard Assosiation (CCAA) greatest competitors to ever Dedini went on to play played in Australia for a few championship wins. SSU play for Sonoma State. Major League Soccer with years after graduating, and currently boosts 13 teams the Kansas City Wiz and the now works as an assistant who primarily compete in 10) Chris Difani: Between Colorado Rapids for a few coach on the SSU men’s the Division II category 1995-1998 Difani set SSU years after he graduated. basketball team. of the CCAA (water polo records for the most kills and men’s tennis being (1,429)— recording an Impressive Stat: 21 career Impressive Stat: SSU’s all- the exceptions), and the average of 3.68 kills per shutouts and a record low time leader in free throw Seawolf hall of fame has game. In 1997 she received goals-against average of percentage (.825). inducted 61 players and four NCAC player of the year 0.75 teams since it’s beginning honors, as well as being 6) Andrew Bailey: This in 1998. nominated to the All-West 8) Amy Apodaca: From two-time West Regional The basketball team’s Region team as she led SSU 1996-999 Amy Adodaca Player of the Year and 0-11 start may have kicked to an 11-1 record. was the undisputed queen of CCAA Player of the Year off sports at Sonoma State, the women’s soccer team at (2006, 2007) is one of the but 45 years later it is Impressive Stat: On SSU’s Sonoma State. She received most decorated players easily forgotten amongst top ten list for career digs, All-American honors every in Sonoma State soccer the accomplishments of games played, and hitting year she played, was CCAA history. His career started in current and former athletes. percentage. player of the year in 1998, 2004 when, as a freshman, Looking back in SSU sports and was nominated to First he led the Sewolves in history there are a number
  3. 3. scoring (13 goal)— and was named First points), rebounds (1,172), several seasons before including eight goals in Team All-American, steals (167), field goal returning to SSU where he the Seawolves’ final seven All-West Region, and percentage (.511), and is now an assistant coach games. All-CCAA. In 2008, he double-doubles (54). She on the baseball team. In 2007, Bailey’s 18 repeated—winning both earned conference Player goals and 42 points led the Jack Nickalus award, of the Year awards in three Impressive Stat: In 2000, the CCAA, and he set as well as being named consecutive seasons, and Bell had a .382 average, school records for most NCAA Division II Player was named an All-American and hit his school-record goals scored by a junior. In of the Year and shooting an during her four-year stretch 23 home runs, earning 2008, Bailey was part of a average of 70.39 a round. (1995-1999). him a spot in the national team that won the CCAA He also won SSU Male home-run contest at the championship, and included Athlete of the Year honors Impressive Stat: In Thorpe’s College World Series. such standout players as after finishing in the top final season with the Ross Middlemiss, Eric 1) Larry Allen: Many Lafon, Brooke Johnson, and recognize this man from Nathan Medina. Although his days on the Dallas plagued with injuries in Cowboys and the San 2005 and 2008, Bailey Francisco 49ers, but Allen remains one of best soccer began his football career players in SSU history. here at Sonoma State. Playing as a defensive Impressive Stat: Sonoma lineman for two years, Men’s Soccer all-time Allen gave up only one leading scorer. sack during that time, and was the leader of a team 5) Nestor Bernabe: Not that established 10 school only was Bernabe an MVP scoring records. each of the four years he This 6’3’’, 325 lb. played for SSU’s men’s goliath was an All- tennis team (1999-2003), American selection in but he remains the only each of his two years at men’s tennis player in SSU, and was drafted school history to win All- by Dallas in 1994. Allen American honors. Bernabe remains the only player holds the school record from SSU to go to the for singles victories (75), NFL, where he played for and overall victories (140). 13 seasons—earning 11 He was ranked as high as three during the NCAA Seawolfs they put up a 23-5 Pro Bowl selections, eight No. 4 in the United States Division II Championship. record and finished second All-Pro selections, and was at doubles and No. 10 at He currently holds the in the NCAA tournament. eventually named to the singles during his career at school record for the lowest NFL’s 1990 All-Decade SSU. round of golf (62). 2) Derek Bell: This talented Team. baseball player holds the Impressive Stat: Bernabe’s Impressive Stat: Todd is Sonoma State record for Impressive Stat: Allen career record of 142-49 one of two players to ever single season home runs could bench-press a win the Nickalus award two (23), hits (228), doubles staggering 700 lbs and 4) Jarin Todd: This SSU years in a row. The other (48), RBI (176), runs scored squat 900 lbs in his prime, junior has dominated CCAA player? Phil Mickelson. (161), and walks (105). making him the hands- golf since his arrival in His career at SSU spanned down strongest athlete to 2006, when he promptly 3) Jann Thorpe: The 1998-2002, in which ever play for SSU. won All-CCAA honors most dominant women’s time he earned the West his freshmen year. In basketball player in SSU Region Player of the Year 2007, Todd received the history, Thorpe’s number award, CCAA Player of the Jack Nicklaus award for is retired, and can be seen Year, and First Team All- NCAA Division II Player in the Seawolf gym. She American honors. The San of the Year, the CCAA holds the women’s record Francisco Giants drafted player of the year award, in scoring (1,575 career Bell in 2000, and he played
  4. 4. Top 12 Current That's 5) Gordon Hayward— "Freak" Athletes right...this There’s always that player guy fights in the NCAA tournament There are two kinds of freak in the UFC, who you would never athletes—those who are and when he guess has basketball skills. freakishly good, and those wins a fight he Hayward was the one who are good despite being sticks his gut who caught my eye this freakish. out and rubs it year, as he looks more like like a drunken someone who should be People are always surprised redneck. working at the 8) Antonio Alfonseca is a when someone who doesn’t local In-N-Out Major League Baseball relief look like a stereotypical jock Nobody can than an elite pitcher for the Lancaster is a good athlete. account for his excess weight college athlete Barnstormers of the Atlantic because his cardio is not that carrying his team League of Professional Call it the “Susan Boyle” bad for a heavyweight, and he to the NCAA Baseball. He last pitched in effect. is a legitimate Brazilian Jiu- championship Major League Baseball for the Jitsu black belt. game Philadelphia Phillies, in 2007. I decided to compile a list of (and damn near almost Alfonseca makes this list current professional athletes 3) Shaun White is not winning it with that last shot). because of his lopsided that succeed in professional that weird looking for a protruding 6) Joakim Noah may sports despite their apparent snowboarder, but most people gut, as the look like an ogre from lack of physical aptitude. are amazed to see a little ginger well the Lord of the Rings, Here are the top ten kid doing the things he does on fact that but he is averaging current "freak" athletes in a snowboard. he has SIX 17.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg, professional sports. Nicknamed “The FINGERS and 3 apg in the NBA Flying Tomato,” ON EACH 1) Tim Lincecum is one playoffs this year for White is the best HAND such athlete. His nickname the Chicago Bulls. He snowboarder in AND SIX is even “The Freak.” He was also part of the the world, despite TOES ON looks like a stoner, to be Florida Gators team his unusual EACH honest, and even before his that won the NCAA appearance. FOOT. marijuana troubles over the tournament in 2006 Nicknamed El Pulpo (The Octopus), summer a lot of people and 2007. Not bad for Alfonseca has a condition known as speculated whether a person of his freakish Polydactyly, which makes it even more he was “high all the stature. impressive that he reached the major time”. His hair is league level of baseball. long and mangy, he 4)Pablo Sandoval— 9) Jaime Moyer is a pitcher is small in stature— I’m not saying he for the Philadelphia Phillies runtish even—yet he doesn’t look like an who makes this list because is the reigning two- athlete (or I’d have to of his age—a whopping 47 time NL Cy Young include Prince years. He is currently the winner, and his stuff Fielder on this list), oldest member of MLB, and is ridiculously good. but you could never tell he looks more like a grandpa 2) Roy Nelson is another from looking at him that the than an MLB pitcher. He “freak” of professional Giants third baseman has has been in the league for a sports. Nicknamed “Big some wheels on him. Nick- 7) Sebastian Janokawski At whopping 24 years, compil- Country,” Nelson sports a named "Kung Fu Panda", 6’2’’, 250 lbs, Janokawski is ing a record of 258-195. gut that you would expect Sandoval can hit, run and seemingly fat and out of shape. see on a professional Pabst field with the best of them. He is the placekicker for the drinker, not a professional Oakland Raiders however, and athlete, but nonetheless, he has a leg like a cannon—as won The Ultimate Fighter evidenced by his career-long competition last year, 61-yard field goal. He also earning himself a six-figure holds the franchise scoring UFC contract. title for the Raiders, as well as holding the NFL record for longest field goal in OT (57 yards in 2008).
  5. 5. SSU Lacrose 10) John Daly—even with his recent weight loss, Daly requires a double take. Known for his ridiculous behavior on the golf Falls in Sixth course, Daly’s flashy outfits OT Against Berkley and drunken escapades have overshadowed the fact that his lifetime average driving distance is 309 yards. He The SSU men’s lacrosse recently team suffered a heartbreaking had loss on Sunday, falling at home weight- to No. 2 Cal State Berkley 11- loss 10 after battling through six surgery overtimes. SSU is now 0-3 in and has their division, 0-5 overall, while dialed Cal State Berkley improves to 2- down the 0 in division, 5-2 overall. drinking Larkin and another from Mike backwards as he picked up The first quarter belonged Sylvester, who put SSU up 5-3 his third goal of the day. The (he claims he used to drink to SSU, as the Seawolves crisp with a great unassisted effort. momentum seemed to shift at this a fifth of Jack Daniels every passing and effective offense Cal would answer back though, point, and SSU was able to cut the day), but Daly will remain on put them up early. A Berkley scoring three consecutive goals lead to 9-10 with another goal in this list until the day he retires. penalty led to the first goal of the to go up 6-5. the third quarter. game, when SSU’s Max Larkin The fourth quarter was 11) David Eckstein looks drove to the net, dropped it off "The six OTs were the deciding relatively uneventful until Max more like a jockey than a to teammate Kevin Labelle, then factor of this game,” said Gomez. Larkin came up with a huge goal MLB second baseman. At quickly got it back and shot it in, “It was kind of a toss up at that for SSU, tying the game 10-10 5’7’’, he is nicknamed “Spark- point—pretty much a flip of the putting SSU up 1-0. plug”, and has won a World coin. Both teams played hard, and with his third goal of the day, and The Bears answered back Series in both the American I think we played well enough to forcing overtime. immediately with a goal of One overtime after another and National Leagues. win. We haven’t started out to the their own, as Cal State’s record that we want, but this team passed without any team scoring Daniel Cohen charged into has the biggest heat of any SSU as both sides struggled to end SSU territory and scored an team I’ve coached, and we are the game. Finally in the sixth unassisted goal on the very next gaining experience.” overtime Cal Freshman Jon Chee series. beat SSU goaltender Michael Cohen also picked up the next The two teams battled back Clothier and put the ball in the goal for Berkley, tying the score, and forth for the rest of the back of the net, as the SSU team but SSU would get a goal from quarter, trading goals, and the looked on in dismay. Max Larkin and another one half ended with a 7-7 tie. “The six overtimes were the from Mike Sylvester to finish the “The first half was intense deciding factor of this game,” said 12) Randy Couture quarter leading 3-2. all around. Both teams played Gomez. “It was kind of a toss up Couture is another UFC “We knew their plays, and we top notch,” said SSU’s Kevin at that point—pretty much a flip fighter who breaks the jumped on them, but they kept Labelle. “We expected a hard- of the coin. Both teams played mold—not because of his scoring in transition,” said SSU fought game, and we were hard, and I think we played well weight, but because he is head coach Dominic Gomez. prepared.” enough to win. We haven’t started 46 years “I knew we needed to focus on The beginning of the third out to the record that we want, but old! Randy cleaning up our turnovers and period was sloppy for SSU, this team has the biggest heat of was a three- picking up more groundballs, as with several dropped passes any SSU team I’ve coached, and time DI All- well as finishing our shots.” and unforced turnovers. Cal we are gaining experience.” American Cal tied it up early in the was able to capitalize, and wrestler in second quarter when Daniel went up 10-7 off goals from college, then Cohen capitalized on an SSU Daniel Cohen (his fourth), Sam became an penalty, taking it to the outside Tobias, and Connor Thomas. alternate for the U.S. Olympic right and feeding it in the SSU fired back with a wrestling team before discovering middle to Luke Langon for the spectacular goal from Mike MMA at age 35. Since then, he goal. Sylvester, who rifled a shot has gone 18-10 and is in the UFC SSU picked up the next two past the goalie, got hit by a Hall of Fame. scores off goals from Ryan defenseman, and somersaulted
  6. 6. SSU Volleyball Team Wins DII Club Championship The SSU men’s volleyball team put Sonoma State on the map on April 3rd by winning the Division II National Collegiate Club Volleyball Championship in Louisville, KY, despite having a lowly 12th seeding. The three-day tournament, in which 48 teams compete, saw SSU win eight of nine matches they played, ending in a showdown with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse at 6pm on day 3. Sonoma State Celebrates Their Division II Championship Victory After playing four With a 27-17 overall other clubs—including dues are around $600,” said matches in the same day, SSU record, and the championship Berkley, Fresno State, and Fontana. “We also pay for our looked winded going in the title under their belts, SSU Davis. They playd each own plane tickets and other championship series against ends the season on a high team twice, and finished this transportation, with some Wisconsin-La Crosse, and note, but success didn’t help from alumni and local dropped the first game in the “The future looks always come easily for this businesses.” best-of-three series 25-15. bright,” said Dunn. team. “Every player has to pay “We had a lot more Last season they won only “We have a nucleus of their way just to play, which people watching on TV then eight games, which prompted student athletes coming makes it more gratifying when we realized. There were TV them to make a change back that understand we win,” said Coach Dunn. cameras and mikes everywhere, and we got a little caught up in and bring in Dunn, who the system that we are “The exposure we received has 25 years of experience running, and they have was very big for the school, the ambience,” said head coach as a coach, and is an SSU bought into it—that’s so we’re hoping that they Mark Dunn. alumnus. what has made them understand how successful this They decided to take a “The whole program was champions. They will program can be and how it can gamble and substitute in two starting to go in disarray.They teach the new kids com- bring attention to the school.” freshmen players, which paid wanted someone who had SSU has four graduating off big time. SSU looked ing in what it is like to some coaching experience seniors, including Fontana, but like a new team in the final practice and play like and who could bring the team they remain very optimistic two games, and captured champions. back together and make a about the seasons to come. the title with a 25-21, 15-8 commitment to them, and I season with a 9-7 record in “The future looks bright,” performance. felt I could do that.” their division, good for fifth said Dunn. “We have a nucleus “By the time we got to the “I think it all clicked place. of student athletes coming back championship, we were focused together the Tuesday practice Any team will tell you, that understand the system that on winning,” said team captain before Nationals...that’s it’s the post-season that we are running, and they have Scott Fontana. “Blocking and when the team came together matters most, however, and bought into it—that’s what has defense were what won us the as one,” said Dunn. “When the club is now hoping that made them champions. They championship.” I left that practice I told the school takes notice of will teach the new kids coming Fontana was named the my assistant coach ‘I think their recent successes and in what it is like to practice and MVP of the tournament, we’re going to do something lends a financial hand. play like champions.." and two other Seawolves— special.’” “We pay dues, but Matthias Buhlis and David Although a Division II we don’t get much help Zvlonek—were honored to first School, SSU competes in from the school, only team and second team honors, a Division I league of nine around $500 bucks, while respectively.
  7. 7. College Recruiting Practices Need Updating Recruiting talented athletes is a chore that every college approaches differently. The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) is the governing body of college sports, and it is their job to create and enforce the rules, which regulate the recruiting of athletes. Breaking the rules of the NCAA can cost a coach their job, and tarnish the reputation of a school, but it happens every year without fail. Convincing top-ranked recruits to play for them is like tug-of-war contest between colleges, and its up to the NCAA to keep the playing field even. Since it’s creation in 1906, regulating the recruitment process has always been a top priority for the NCAA. The original rules governing college athletics prohibited recruitment altogether, even outlawing athletic scholarships. Colleges were supposed to form their sports teams by holding try-outs open to their student body, similar to high schools. Coaches at the time had little respect for the rules of the NCAA however, and bribing high schoolers with cash, apartments, and jobs was a common practice that went largely unpunished for decades. Though prior attempts had been made, it wasn’t until 1951 that the NCAA was able to institute and enforce the set of recruitment guidelines that are still in use. The main purpose of Although colleges accepted these guidelines willingly these rules was, and still is, to limit contact between recruiters in 1951, there have been cases every year of coaches bending and athletes, and outlaw all incentives offered to athletes other and breaking the rules in their clamor to recruit star players. than scholarships. Giving illegal incentives still occurs, but the vast majority The details of these rules differ slightly between the of coaches aren’t willing to risk their jobs or their integrity three divisions of NCAA competition and also between sports, by bribing players. Finding creative loophole in the rules but the underlying ideals are similar. The restrictions are heavier however, is fair game. on freshmen and sophomores in high school, giving more leeway Prior to 2008 for example, text messaging was not for juniors and seniors to visit and talk with coaches. limited or regulated unlike the one phone call a week coaches The biggest restrictions in the NCAA guidelines are put are allowed to send recruits. Top high school athletes have on the amount of contact between recruiters and athletes. Phone been bombarded for years with daily texts from coaches, calls, face-to-face interactions, and campus visits are limited to who knew that this form of communication had not yet been set amounts outlined in the rulebook, and any contact initiated by accounted for in the rulebook. This medium was finally the college must occur within a set length of time. The “contact banned in a long-overdue 2008 rule revision. period” during the recruitment process refers to the time that Texting is not the only new technology that has schools are allowed to actively communicate with prospects, been used by coaches to contact recruits however. Video followed by the “dead period” or period where no contact or messaging, instant messaging, social websites have all been evaluation is allowed to occur. used to recruit. USC’s former head football coach Pete Secondly, limits are pleaded upon any incentives a Carroll, considered by many to be one of the best recruiters in school provides its perspective athletes. Obviously schools the game, had a Facebook page, and even ran a twitter in order are not allowed to give recruits cash or any other amenity, to communicate with his recruits. but they are also barred from providing any lodging/food/or Even as recent as five years ago, colleges were transportation for visiting recruits that is above average quality. spending huge sums of money to give recruits ‘A-list’ Schools are allowed to pay for the players basic needs while on treatment when they came to visit. Before the 2004 NCAA an ‘official visit’ which are 48 hour college visitations (of which rule revision, colleges were allowed to fly recruits in via an athlete can partake in five times), but any other visits must be private jets, put them up in five star hotels, and buy them financed by the athlete’s family. expensive meals during campus visitations. CONTINUED...
  8. 8. Although colleges can no pamper recruits with the same kind of another goal in the second with just 45 seconds left in the period, and treatment, the amount of money spent on recruiting keeps increasing. In then Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien scored 35 seconds apart in the 2007 alone, the 65 top competitive schools in the US spent a combined third. 61 million dollars on the recruitment of athletes, giving them a huge advantage over smaller school. The undermining of the communication This team puts up big numbers quickly, and if we learned anything and incentive guidelines is due in part to the reaction-response of the from the Vancouver series it’s that if they catch you napping they will NCAA. Instead of addressing each new problem as it arises, perhaps a make you pay. better solution would be creating a set of universal rules. A clearly defined set of guidelines that applies to every division How SJ can neutralize: of the NCAA, and every sport could solve the problems that have arisen. -Score quickly themselves, and take it to the Hawks. Chicago isn’t Leave no room for interpretation or improvisation because constantly the only team that can put the puck in the net...the Sharks scored three revising the guidelines is only making the rulebook heavier. times in 79 seconds against Detroit in Game 1. -No mistakes in defensive zone - Puck control in the neutral zone: limiting their transition offense will cut down on their opportunities 3) Defense NHL Western Conference The Hawks have a solid blue line, with top-notch defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, who both played for Team Canada, as well Championship: Five Threats as Niklas Hjalmarsson, and former Shark Brian Campbell. Chicago Poses To SJ Antti Niemi guards the net for Chicago, and as had his share of ups- and-downs during the playoffs, but looked decent in the lasts few games, with a .906 Save Percentage and a 2.68 GAA. He will be After destroying the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in their last series, severely tested in this series though, and his play could make or break the San Jose Sharks have advanced to the Western Conference Chicago’s chances of winning. Championships for the first time since 2004, and will face the Chicago Blackhawks in a best of seven series with the winner moving on to the How SJ can neutralize: the Stanley Cup finals. -hit hard and often in their zone, wear them out -crowd the neutral zone and steal passes The Blackhawks are an interesting matchup for the Sharks, having -throw lots of pucks on net, get rebounds finished with the third best record in the NHL, just one point behind SJ. -win faceoffs in their zone True, they beat the Sharks three times in the regular season, but that was then and this is let’s take a minute to examine what it is going to 4) Transition/Turnover Scoring take to win this series. One of the most dangerous aspects of the Blackhawks’ game is their 1) Scoring Depth transition offense and fast break. They are very good at capitalizing on mistakes and odd-man rushes. Who can forget the three humiliating Chicago have six players who scored over 20 goals in the regular season, short-handed goals that Chicago scored against SJ on Nov. 25? including current postseason point leader Jonathan Toews. Hopefully the same mistakes will not be repeated in the upcoming games. Toews--20 points (6 goals, 14 assists) Patrick Kane--15 points (7 goals, 8 assists) How SJ can neutralize: Patrick Sharp--14 points (5 goals, 9 assists ) -Crisp breakouts Marian Hossa--10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) -Don’t let them get into a rhythm on their breakout Dustin Byfuglien--4 goals -Get back on D Dave Bolland--3 goals, 4 assists -Watch the line changes How SJ can neutralize: 5) Momentum Coming Into The Series -Nabby: An elite goaltender when he is on his game, and he will need to be. Chicago won all three games in Vancouver during their last series by a -Punish their forwards: We are the bigger, stronger team. Unleash score of 17-7, despite the Canucks having the best home record in the Douglas Murray. NHL during the regular season. They are coming off a great Game 6, -Matchups: At least one of the Sharks' lines is going to give them trouble. and definitely have a head of steam coming into this series, looking to Find out which one early (probably the second line, like always) win the Western Conference Championship that eluded them last year. 2) Ability to Score Quickly How SJ can neutralize: -Confidence from great Red Wings series Chicago has a young, fast team that can score in the blink of the eye, -HP Pavilion crowd as evidenced by Troy Brouwer and Kris Verstegg’s goals that occurred -Frustrate them early just 36 seconds apart in the second period of their last game—a series- -Exploit rest advantage clinching victory against the Vancouver Canucks. Dave Bolland added