Big Fish

Joe Pavelski's emphatic response when asked, between the two, which ocean predator had more teeth.

The San Choké Sharks (wait for it, unbiased journalism) are rapidly becoming Vancouver’s arch-nemeses (according to everyone outside of St. Paul), largely in part because of resident Carcharodon carcharias Joe Thornton’s crazy antics.

This is a welcome rivalry for Canucks fans for a number of less intrusive reasons.

Upon entering the NHL, Toews was disappointed to learn that foil bowties weren't uniform.

Firstly, the Canucks have lived up to their orca mindset in recent memory, killing the Sharks 5-0-2 in their last seven regular season matchups. (Further reading: orcas usually play with their prey before consumption)

Secondly, and perhaps most obviously, the Canucks need a new, immediate rival as the impending 2012-13 realignment will decimate Vancouver’s existing brow-furrowing relationship with the Chicago Blackhawks. Personally, I’ll miss the palpable hate these two franchises currently share, but at the same time, not having to see Jonathan Toews’s Tin Man impression on a regular basis will be a welcome relief. That said, I’ll be the first one to eat my words if he ever earns a Hart.

Thirdly, and despite the recent record, both franchises are deadlocked all-time with 46 wins apiece. This is rare for a Canucks team whose statistics are traditionally terrible against every other team, largely in part to “forty years of failure” (there you are, UJ).

You bitter, creative bastards win this rou... wait, nevermind.

Finally, this is better for Vancouver because the Sharks are also a franchise which suffers from west-coast-itis and are therefore out of the eastern media bias that Chicago – despite being a western conference team now and in the foreseeable future – is reported by. This means that every game should be called with eye-squinting parity both on the ice and in the commentators’ box, unless I’m misreading which Thornton plays for the Sharks.

Conspiracy theories aside, you have to enjoy this rivalry if for no other reason than funny things happen during these matchups. Everyone remembers the stanchion incident which led to San Jose’s western conference final exit in last year’s playoffs, but something equally strange happened Monday night: Sami Salo and Manny Malhotra must have both been using Alexander Edler’s sticks.

How else could you explain both of them breaking their sticks during the same shift?

And if that shift wasn’t enough for you to feel sorry for the Sharks, remember: you can’t spell “Jaws” without “Aw, SJ”.

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