Last time the Pens and Sharks faced off, we missed the chance to do this, but we’re on it this time. Joining us to give us some scoop from the San Jose affiliate at SB Nation, Fear the Fin, is Jake Sundstrom. Jake is the managing editor over there, and does a great job at it.
I gave him some Sharks-related question to give us some insight on, so here they are, with my responses to follow up.
How does it feel to be the only team in recent memory to *not* storm back from a 3-1 deficit to win a title? (Just kidding, aside from the Pens, i’m all in on the Sharks)…What was the experience like for you getting to watch your team in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time?
Jake: It was honestly a lot of fun. For me, the entire experience felt like house money because I never expected the Sharks to win (or get out of the first round, for that matter) and I really enjoyed it. Watching Joonas Donskoi score that overtime winner is a memory I'll cherish for a very long time.
I feel like an asshole to be asking this question, in a way. But I think Jake knows that it’s not me rubbing it in, and generally asking. These Cup runs that we have seen as Penguins fans know what kind of memories they produce.
How good of a job do you think Peter Deboer has done since taking over as coach of the Sharks? Let’s use a 1-10 scale?
Jake: I'll give him a seven. He's been fine, hasn't screwed anything up too badly and while he has his blind spots I think he has done a very nice job of resting the veterans and letting the team just do its thing. Sometimes coaches can over-coach and I think he certainly does not do that.
I like this answer. Sometimes a coach just needs to stay out of the way.
What’s your favorite thing about Brent Burns?
Jake: That's tough. I love his lust for life. The dude just loves being alive and playing hockey and being who he is and I respect the hell out of that. It's so cool to see someone so genuine out there on the ice when a lot of the time it feels like they're hyper competitive robot soldiers.
Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Showing personality is remarkable, and he does it well. He’s in my Top 5 of players in terms of skill and also entertainment value.
We know that the Ducks and Kings are trash this year. Is it unreasonable to demand that the Sharks will win the division?
Jake: Not at all. If they don't win the division, I think Sharks fans have a right to be pretty disappointed.
I definitely agree with this. If you’re the Sharks and look around the division, you see the Kings and Ducks who are trash, the Canucks who are a special kind of bad, the Coyotes who are up and coming but not there yet, the Flames who could be really good, and the Oilers, who we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop with.
Speaking of those demands, what are your expectations for the Sharks this season? Are they same as they were when the season started?
Jake: Get to the playoffs, same as every other year. We both know how impossibly difficult getting to the Stanley Cup Final is (let alone winning it) and I think expecting anything specific in the postseason is just setting yourself up for disappointment. If they make the playoffs, I'll be happy.
This is where I was as a Penguins fan the last two playoff runs, and I think no expectations are a better way to prepare yourself.
Bonus Question: if you were on death row and facing execution, what would your final meal be?
Jake: A pint of Guinness. No food.
Jesus Christ, Jake. At least get some fish and chips to go with or or ask for more than a damn pint.
Much thanks to Jake for “stopping by” to do this, you can find my answers to his questions at Fear the Fin today too, and they’ll also have some coverage for tonights game as well.