Updated: May 30, 2016




Gary Norris Gray-BASN – Staff Reporter

The Spring Classic has finally come as the Pittsburgh Penguins (2009) return and the San Jose Sharks first trip. This will be the Penguins fifth time chasing The Cup with a 3-1 record. The last time Pittsburgh won The Cup was 2009. For the Men of Teal it will be the first time ever to have a chance to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup at SAP Center, San Jose.

The battle starts on Monday night -The old school, high scoring, and speed of the Pittsburgh Penguins against the defensive minded Men of Teal. This is a contest of contrast in team style, team defense, and head coaching. It is also a contrast of personalities. It is the bump and grind of the San Jose Sharks vs. the flashy, speedy, star studded and confident Pens.

It is the battle of new head coaches trying to instill their new offensive systems. Mike Sullivan stepped in the Pittsburgh Penguin coaching box on December 15, 2015. Sullivan had a team that did not believe in themselves, he had a team that was not scoring and at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. Sullivan had to push their two superstars Malkin and Crosby to shoot more. The Penguins responded with three long winning streaks in January through April. If the season were one month longer the Pens would have tied or passed the Washington Nationals.

Peter DeBoer was the head coach of the New Jersey Devils before switching coasts. DeBoer moved into the SAP Arena in San Jose with Stanley Cup experience and transmitted this knowledge to the Men of Teal. He brought the stifling New Jersey defense to the West Coast. It took awhile for the Sharks to understand but when April arrived they were ready. He also brought the multiple scoring threat skims from Newark and the Sharks improved the first three months of the season.

Mr. DeBoer has pulled off something very few have done taking two teams to the Stanley Cup in their first year after the team had missed the playoffs the year before.

The Sharks like the Penguins were in last place in their respective divisions-(Pacific) this year. Both teams have responded to their new coaches with their Stanley Cup Final appearance.


Both teams have a Goal Brother who are transplants; both are savvy veterans that know how to inspire their teammates to victory.  Joel Ward came from the Washington Capitals to the San Jose Sharks while Trevor Daley came from the Dallas Stars to the Pittsburgh Penguins via Nashville Predators.

Both Washington and Dallas give up on these fine players due to age and money. The Capitals and Stars exited the playoffs in need of both of these talented Goal Brothers. Both players are very happy to be where they are with another chance to etch their name on Lord Stanley’s Cup.

TREVOR DALEY is a stay at home defensemen who assist his goaltender. Daley breaks up the odd man rushes by the opposition and generates a Penguin counter attack. He breaks up cross rink passes that most defensemen never get to because of his speed.

Daley might not play due to injuries the last series

JOEL WARD is your offensive-defensemen. He was the quarterback for the Washington Capitals and he just transitions his skills to improve the scoring talents of the San Jose Sharks. Ward loves scoring from the point and scraps in front of the net on power plays.

Number 42 settles the San Jose offense rush when they are scattered all over the ice on a power play.

KEYS TO SERIESsharks logopenguins logo

 SHARKS- Inexperience could cost San Jose as they must weather the early Penguin storm the first two periods of the first two games in Pittsburgh. The Sharks special teams could turn this series around. Team Teal power plays have been lethal the past two months just ask the Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, and St. Louis Blues.

San Jose will have to hold the hot Pittsburgh line of Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, and Kessel. If the Shark defense can play air tight this series could be over early.

The Sharks have a balance scoring attack with centers- Thornton, and Couture and forwards Pavelski, Hertl, and Marleau. The JOE LINE-Pavelski and Thornton have performed well at the end of this season and in the playoffs. Opponents cannot concentrate on one line because of the three multiple scoring lines.

Defensemen Brent Burns could be the Sharks secret weapon with his scoring skills. Burns has bolstered the San Jose offense. He is assigned to the opposition’s best scorer and usually shuts him down.

New Shark goalie Martin Jones (Los Angeles Kings) cannot give up rebounds or let pucks fall away from him. He cannot allow this with the quick hands of Malkin and Crosby standing in the crease ready to put the bisket in the basket.

PENGUINS- In December nobody thought the Pittsburgh Penguins would even be in the playoffs this year let alone the Stanley Cup Finals. Pittsburgh rallied around their new coach and almost caught the Washington Capitals.

This team needs to move forward to the future with goalie Matt Murray in net. Marc Andre Fleury days are numbered in the Steel City, the team does not play well behind him and it seems that  Fleury for some reason loses focus in the 2nd and 3rd periods letting in soft goals . Next year Fleury might be wearing a different jersey.


Pittsburgh– Left Winger – #14 Chris Kunitz – If Kunitz scores the Pens are on the right track. Kunitz won the Stanley Cup in Anaheim in 2007 and in Pittsburgh in 2009 so he understands what it takes to win his third Cup. He has played 80 games this season so he is very durable and can be plugged in at anytime.

San Jose- Left Winger -# 12 Patrick Marleau- This is the glue between the different Shark lines. If Marleau scores the Men of Teal usually win. They call him Mr. Assist in San Jose. They also call him Mr. Shark drafted by San Jose in 1997. He is all-time leader in goalseven strength goalspower play goalsshorthanded goalspointsshots, games played, and consecutive games played in the South Bay- 1,400 games.

This should be a very entertaining Stanley Cup, Old School vs. The New Kids on The Block

San Jose Sharks in six


Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email at

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod


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