It’s time for everyone’s favorite summer activity – sitting with the air conditioning on, in front of the television and watching Shark Week on Discovery Channel.
An eight-day affair, the series brings the ocean’s top predator right into your home. Now, let’s be honest the San Jose Sharks are one of the NHL’s top predatory teams. This past season, they glided through the NHL and pounced at a moment’s notice on countless opponents before falling in the Western Conference Final to the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.
So obviously, we had to take a look at the Sharks roster and compare some of the franchise’s key players to, well, actual sharks.
Brent Burns: Great white shark
Apex predator, meet apex predator. Great white sharks are the tip of the ocean triangle and Burns is just that in the NHL.
The perennial Norris Trophy finalist can smell blood in the water and knows when to pounce. He can propel himself through the neutral zone and rip off a power slapshot or, like Carcharodon carcharias, who can leap out of the water when attacking prey, Burns is known to mimic the same devastating impact on an opponent.
Erik Karlsson: Blue shark
With a long, slender body, blue sharks are known to be graceful swimmers and let’s be honest, there are not many players in the NHL who are more graceful on two blades than Karlsson. This shark is a global predator, and the two-time Norris Trophy winner is also a world traveler as he dominates at both ends of the ice.
Highly prized for its fins (Editors note: We do not agree with ‘shark finning’ at all), Karlsson could have been one of the hottest commodities on the market had he not signed a mega-deal with San Jose in June.
Evander Kane: Tiger shark
Just like a tiger shark who loses its stripes as it matures, Kane has certainly done that since the start of his career. Once considered a “problem child,” the now-fierce predator has turned into a top winger who plays on the edge. Known to bang in a garbage goal or two – in case you didn’t know, tigers are the garbage eaters of the ocean – Kane isn’t afraid to drive to the net and has a keen sense of smell when it comes to burying the puck.
Martin Jones: Basking shark
Not the prettiest, not the most graceful but envelops everything around them – yes we’re talking about basking sharks and Martin Jones. The actual shark opens its jaws up and swallows whatever is in their path, and while Jones may have struggled in the regular season and the start of the playoffs, he did a better job of recreating this in in the later rounds.
Also of note, this shark is the second largest next to a whale shark and let’s be frank: goalies are big with all that equipment on.
Logan Couture: Bull shark
Ever hear the term, ‘like a bull in a china shop?’
Well, meet the bull shark aka Logan Couture. Aggressive, powerful and can handle the muddy waters of tributaries, Couture can do all that – except his mud is puck battles along the boards and in front of the net. This shark is not afraid to put his body on the line, and the San Jose center has definitely done just that – usually with his mouth.
Tomas Hertl: Grey reef shark
Hertl has had an up-and-down career thus far; he’s shown flashes of brilliance – hello, who can forget his four goals including a between-the-legs one against the New York Ranger back in 2013 – but has sputtered at times.
Grey reef sharks are curious, strong, generally harmless but can be aggressive when provoked. San Jose definitely wants to see Hertl, who has the essential mix of size and soft hands, step up his game – i.e. be more aggressive – which he has done since Jan. 1, netting the most goals (21) on the team.
Timo Meier: American pocket shark
Ever hear of the American pocket shark? No worries, it was only discovered recently – so call it a shark on the rise – much like Meier.
Having signed a new four-year deal this offseason, San Jose is expecting a lot from this emerging power forward. He broke out last season with 66 points in 78 regular-season games and 20 points in the playoffs while showcasing quickness and grit when driving to the net.
Side note: The American pocket shark squirts glow-in-the-dark liquid. Now, wouldn’t that be pretty darn cool at the Shark Tank this season?
Marc-Edouard Vlasic: Nurse shark
How can a non-migratory shark not be stay-at-home defenseman?
While nurse sharks are sedentary, Vlasic actually makes his opponents take a seat with big hits and a shutdown defensive game. Quick reminder: don’t let the name fool you; nurse sharks can attack when provoked which is equivalent to this veteran’s offensive game, as he had eight points in 18 playoff games this year.
Kevin Labanc: Blacktip reef shark
This may be the flashiest of sharks which makes it a fair equivalent to Labanc; have you seen his filthy goal against the Avalanche?
Both have quickness and the ability to twist and turn while finishing in the biggest of moments. Blacktip reef sharks propel themselves out of the water and rotate their bodies when feeding, similarly how Labanc uses his 5-11 stature, quick feet and soft hands to find the back of the net. Not a top maneater, this shark can still attack when provoked, much like this New York native who has some bite to him as well.
Joe Thornton: Hammerhead shark
Yes, we know, Joe Thornton is not technically on the Sharks roster for next season but this grizzled veteran is expected to be there come opening night.
Much like the hammerhead in Hawaiian culture, Thornton is highly respected among teammates and foes alike. A feared fish with enhanced vision, this 40-year-old uses his hockey sense and experience to still make the big play and put up numbers. Last season. he had 51 points in 73 regular-season games and 10 points in 19 playoff games.
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