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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sharks Survive Again...Plus DERBY DAY!

This is going to be really quick today as I'm too excited about the Kentucky Derby today.

The Sharks finally showed a backbone last night. After trailing 2-0 heading to the third period, they stopped trying to make all these fancy passes and just put the puck on net.

They started generating chances and opened up passing lanes to finally be able to move the puck for a high percentage shot. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Joe Thornton may be the most underrated passer in the league. He's not going to score 40 goals in a season, but every year he puts up 60+ assists and is always among the league leaders.

The pass he made to set up the first goal last night was jaw dropping. I don't know how his teammates even play with the guy, if he sees a small shred of daylight, he's putting the puck through it.

Plus, the goal Brian Campbell scored to tie it up in the third was an absolute laser beam. Marty Turco had no chance whatsoever to stop that puck.

The way you beat Turco is to get traffic in front of him. Get in his kitchen. Give him a whack after the whistle. Give him a little nudge when he comes out to play the puck. I'm not saying lay the guy out or do anything to take a penalty. He gets frustrated very quickly.

Take last night for example, one two occasions late in the 2nd and early in the 3rd periods, he got some contact and started screaming at the refs to make a call.

If you keep going to the net and crashing into him, he'll get mad and that's what you want if you're the Sharks. You need him thinking "I'm taking out the next guy who touches my paint."

That's how the Sharks will win the series. If they keep being passive, we won't even see a game 7.

Now, onto Derby Day.

I am going out on a limb today and making my own call. Cheech thinks this is a wide open field and with Big Brown being out the far outside post at No. 20. Write this down. BIG BROWN WILL NOT WIN. It's a sucker's bet today. Yeah he's the favorite, but no horse has ever won the Derby from the 20 post. EVER.

The only way he wins is if he gets down to the rail by the first turn. If he's on the outside heading into turn one, rip up your tickets.

Now, here's what I'm going to play.

Since, Big Brown will spend a ton of energy early in this race I'm looking for a solid closer in this race. Keep your eyes on the No. 10 horse Colonel John. In the Santa Anita Derby John got boxed out big time coming around the final turn, had to change his line and still ran down four horses in the final straightaway to win it by 1/2 a length.

This horse will be stalking the pace the entire time and watch for Colonel John to make a big kick down the stretch. Colonel John will be your 2008 Kentucky Derby winner.

As a longer shot on the board and if you're looking for a value bet. Take a hard look at Smooth Air in the 12 post. This horse lost to Big Brown in the Florida Derby, but has a noticeable post advantage over Brown this time around and might be able to take Brown down.

Now as for the other favorite on the board, I'm not all that impressed. Pyro has a great name and my favorite number in 9, but finished 10th in his last race at the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. I didn't see the race, but for him to come in 10th in a decent sized field does not bode well for a race with 20 horses. I think he'll be a mid pack horse at best, but what do I know? I'm just a puckhead.

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