Monday, May 9, 2011

San Francisco Giants and San Jose Sharks Have Two Very Different Weekends

It was a tale of two Bay Area teams headed in two very different directions this past weekend.

The San Francisco Giants swept the division-rival Colorado Rockies, and the San Jose Sharks are headed back to Detroit after not being able to close out the Red Wings series in Games 4 or 5 on Friday and Sunday.

Resurgence in San Francisco, and panic an hour south in San Jose.

It's hard to say which is a bigger surprise in the Bay Area, the Mike Fontenot-lead Giants gaining ground in the NL West by sweeping the Rockies after such a tough stretch of bad breaks, or that the Sharks have lost back-to-back games for the first time since February and are suddenly in the middle of a real series in which they seem to be the team currently on the short-end.

Coming into this weekend, Sharks' fans were thinking about the Conference Finals. Now, they're thinking of a possible Game 7 in the Conference Semi-finals in which pucks can bounce in any direction.

To add more fuel to the fire, Versus analyst and former Shark, Jeremy Roenick, has put Patrick Marleau on blast for "not showing heart."

I want to disagree with Roenick, but Marleau has zero points in this series. Whether that has to do with heart is up to you.

The comment by Roenick can either fuel Patrick Marleau or cause him to press, and for the Sharks' season's sake, I hope it's the former.

Just an hour north, the Giants may have finally arrived in the 2011 season.

After the Giants' offensive struggles, the Miguel Tejada issue and recent injuries to both Andres Torres and Pablo Sandoval, the Giants have turned to Mike Fontenot for their resurgence?

Fontenot, paired with a good outing from starting rotation fill-in, Ryan Vogelsong, and timely hitting from Cody Ross on Sunday, has suddenly given life to San Francisco with a sweep of the Rockies, including two of the walk-off-win variety.

It was a weekend good enough, and clutch enough, to get this team back on track while they await the returns of Torres and Sandoval.

Torres is expected back Tuesday.

But two problems have arisen for the Giants, despite a three-game sweep of the Rockies. But these may ultimately be good problems to have.

Fontenot or Tejada, when Sandoval comes back?

Vogelsong or Zito, when Zito is healthy?

We will have to wait for the answers to those problems.

Despite a good weekend for the Giants, the overall morale of the Bay Area may be a little nervous today.

The Sharks, who on Thursday could not be touched, have been rattled and panic is currently setting in in San Jose.

The NHL Playoffs are a cruel mistress and the Sharks are feeling just that way on their flight back to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit for Game 6.

The story for Game 5: The Sharks could see the Conference Finals in sight after two periods, but playing tight in the third period is no way to move on this time of year, and it ultimately cost them the game and a ton of heartache for the next 48 hours.

After Game 2, there was no way the Sharks were going to lose four of the next five games.

Now, the Red Wings are half-way there, and a Game 7 does not seem too far off.

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