Sharks win Western Conference Finals, Advance to Stanley Cup

May 25, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksNHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksMay 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) celebrates with center Logan Couture (39) after defeating the St. Louis Blues 5-2 to win the Western Conference Finals of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Back in January after shooting too many weekday Sharks games (so much traffic!!!) I made the call to ask if I could be put on Sharks games only if NOTHING else was happening and really needed me to cover. Then I heard they were in the playoffs and thought, "uh oh... did my hatred of traffic just write me out of covering playoff games?".

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksNHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksMay 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks fans wave rally towels before the game six of the Western Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports So when my assignment editor asked if I would be interested in covering the Western Conference Finals, I obviously enthusiastically said yes! (Though it's still to be determined whether anything is worth suffering through South Bay afternoon traffic).

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksNHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksMay 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) and St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19) battle for the puck during the first period in game six of the Western Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

As it worked out, I was assigned to cover (if needed) game 6 in the Western Conference finals. And what a historic win! The San Jose Sharks handedly defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-2 to be awarded the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl and advance to their FIRST IN HISTORY Stanley Cup Finals!

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksNHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksMay 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; The San Jose Sharks celebrate after defeating the St. Louis Blues 5-2 to win the Western Conference Finals of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports Had a great time teaming up with John Hefti (check out our full set of photos for USA Today Sports Images here) for the best coverage... given some rough shooting conditions. USA Today wasn't assigned any ice level shooting positions, and the elevated photo wells were also all assigned, down to assignments of who could have the privilege of standing in the isles. Strategizing with John how we could get the best coverage included considering how to ensure one of us had an angle and also considering, a Sharks win becomes historic and a Blues win just means another game, so while one of us had full ice view for safety, the other one would shooting towards Sharks goal. At least for the 1st and 2nd periods.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksNHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksMay 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) gathers the puck with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) against San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) during the second period in game six of the Western Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksNHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksMay 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks right wing Joonas Donskoi (27) celebrates after a goal against St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) during the third period in game six of the Western Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports Then for the 3rd, if Sharks were in any position to win (which 4-0 they certainly were) I was to go down and line up by the Zamboni entrance, where I needed to be with 5 minutes on the clock (meaning leave with 10 minutes on the clock to walk across the top bowl, go down two stories and walk around to Zamboni staging area) in order to be escorted onto the ice to photographer the ever thrilling "trophy presentation"... where all the players refuse to touch the trophy as part of a superstition that they should only hoist the Stanley Cup trophy and any other trophy hoisting is bad luck.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksNHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksMay 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; The San Jose Sharks stand with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl after defeating the St. Louis Blues 5-2 to win the Western Conference Finals of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

So the photo didn't make for much but was able to get some other celebration photos I was relatively pleased with given the overall scene.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksNHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksMay 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; The San Jose Sharks celebrate after defeating the St. Louis Blues 5-2 to win the Western Conference Finals of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksNHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose SharksMay 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44) celebrates with right wing Joel Ward (42) after defeating the St. Louis Blues 5-2 to win the Western Conference Finals of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports Congratulations to the San Jose Sharks. Fingers crossed that I'll end up being assigned to some of the Stanley Cup Finals... but for now, need to focus on tomorrow's game 5 Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder where OKC could put the unexpected dagger in the Warriors season. Eeeek!


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