Help me invent a Sharks curse.
April 19, 2010 3:35 PM   Subscribe

A question in which you (a hockey fan) will save my relationship from the annual throes of playoff tension.

This is going to sound outlandish, but here it goes . . .

My SO is a fanatical San Jose Sharks fan (redundancy intended for emphasis). After the Sharks scored on themselves to lose in overtime yesterday she is convinced that some inexplicable force is aligned against her team. The problem is, since I do not share her fanaticism for the Sharks I often find myself in the cross hairs of whatever superstition has taken root in her mind. For example, if the team is losing then it must be because of something I am, or am not, doing. This isn't logical but nothing is logical when it comes to a fan looking for a reason why their dream can't even get past the first round of playoffs year after year.

I know the standard response here would be to seek counseling. But why use a sledgehammer when a hammer could do just fine? Here's what I'm thinking . . .

I need to invent a curse for the Sharks that has absolutely nothing to do with me. It has to be something pulled from Sharks history that I could cite as the "real" reason her team is losing. I need a narrative, I need it to be believable and I need an agonized Sharks fan to take it hook, line and sinker.

The problem is I don't have any legacy of knowledge when it comes to the Sharks. Help!
posted by quadog to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (27 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
The Sharks are losing because she went off her mental health medication?
posted by Jacqueline at 3:37 PM on April 19, 2010

Best answer: It's because they moved out of the Cow Palace? It's because they're really supposed to be the San Jose Blades but the owners thought it was too violent a name? Scotty Bowman cursed the team when he got lost under the arena?

...also, really, your SO needs to chill out and not do this to you.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:40 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: (Just to clarify, my SO's obsession with this isn't abusive. It's more like a fever that lasts three hockey periods and then suddenly breaks. Most of the time it's amusing. Sometimes it's not.)
posted by quadog at 3:43 PM on April 19, 2010

Just grow a playoff beard or something and she'll accept you as being on board and invent whatever other reason makes the most sense to her.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:43 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

I don't know how long you and your SO have been together, but maybe you could take the angle that the Sharks were cursed even before you met, therefore you couldn't be the cause.

This article lists some of their bigger losses over the years that you could cite.
posted by rancidchickn at 3:43 PM on April 19, 2010

I'm not understanding what you mean. Can you give an example of what she thinks you personally are doing or not doing? Is it that her temper is really short or she's irritable at you when you're bothering her while watching the game?
posted by anniecat at 3:44 PM on April 19, 2010

Best answer: It stems from the California Golden Seals days. There was a vendor who sold beer who got stiffed on a tip for an entire tray to a group of 7 rabid fans. Ever since that day he put the beer hex on them; if you do not drink 2 beers and leave at least a $1 tip per beer drank (home or at a bar), then the Sharks will lose. Simple really. I bet you did not leave the $2 on the counter last night, amirite?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:45 PM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, just tell her that it is clear that someone on the team must have touched the Stanley Cup at some point, and until they figure out who, and trade him away, they're just plain never going to go all the way. Easy peasy and works for any hockey team, any season.

Then she can focus her suspicions on which dumb fucker touched the Cup with unworthy hands.
posted by padraigin at 3:49 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: You're looking for a curse ... and I give you ... Igor Larionov.

Larionov is a Hall of Fame player, one of the first ex-Soviet players to enter the NHL. He had great success with the Sharks, including a playoff victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

The plot thickens...

Fast-forward a bit, after the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season, the Sharks set out on a re-building course, and Larionov was traded to the Red Wings during the 1995-96 season.

People say Larionov was furious at the Sharks for not sticking with him through the bad times, and before leaving, he poured vodka on the ice and leveled an ancient Russian curse at the team.*

Larionov led the Red Wings, with a bevy of talented Russians, to three Stanley Cups.

* This part didn't happen. Larionov was a very nice fellow in real life. But everything else is true.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:53 PM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

Actual sharks don't flourish in cold waters, much less on ice. They are doomed until they change their name.
posted by juv3nal at 4:14 PM on April 19, 2010

Best answer: Here's an answer to your actual question:
Having both the number one (Thornton) and number two (Marleau) draft picks from 1997 is some kind of karmic no-no. Too much firepower, so the gods are striking the Sharks down to maintain balance in the universe. Notice how they're almost never good at the same time during the playoffs...last year Thornton was weak, and Marleau was great. This year, it's the other way around.

Other possibly helpful advice from a crazy Sharks fan:
Try reading the Fear the Fin blog....their latest superstitious gesture was using a Sarah Palin goalie mask as an avatar for every poster (quickly dropped after the first game). It might give you some ideas.

Another thought--is she part of the Sharks online community? Does she have other Sharks fans to hang out with? It might help her if she has other people to freak out around, instead of subjecting you unfairly to the ups and downs of this crazy, crazy series.

No offense, but if my SO went around inventing curses for the Sharks that aren't in common Sharks lore, I'd be pretty offended (and might even start blaming you in earnest). If she's a fanatic, then she probably knows their history better than you do. So be careful that this won't backfire on you.
posted by millions of peaches at 4:22 PM on April 19, 2010

Sorry, just realized that you're asking us because you don't know Sharks history as well as she does. Please ignore that bit about her knowing more than you.
posted by millions of peaches at 4:26 PM on April 19, 2010

Best answer: clearly it is because Dan Boyle (who scored on his own goal) has a cap hit of $6,666,667
posted by ghharr at 4:46 PM on April 19, 2010

Smacktalkfilter: Well, after Thursday, you won't have to even talk about it until April 2010 :)
posted by Lukenlogs at 5:43 PM on April 19, 2010

Response by poster: after Thursday, you won't have to even talk about it until April 2010 :)

That gives me an idea for The Curse of the Lukenlogs. Then you can face the wrath of my SO :)
posted by quadog at 5:50 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's because Dan Boyle (who scored the own-goal) has bad luck. I'm dead serious.

- During the 2004 Cup run, his Tampa house burnt down.

- In the 07/08 season one of his skates fell from a hook in his locker, landed on his forearm, and sliced through three tendons. The first surgery didn't take, and he had to be operated on again because only one tendon stayed connected the first time.

- When he finally returned from that, he was involved in a Three Stooges scuffle in front of the goal that resulted in his getting a nick on the neck from one of his teammates' skates. Nothing serious (I was at the game, he just ducked and covered) but still spooky.

It's not SJ that has the problem, it's Dan Boyle. And I should know, I'm a superstitious Lightning fan.
posted by cmyk at 6:09 PM on April 19, 2010

This doesn't answer your question, but you're not the only one wondering.

Just remind her that the series isn't over yet! It's only 2-1, they still have a chance. As a Devils fan, this is what I have to tell myself, too. You could also tell her it's because she watches the games. Win/win for you?

(I've sworn off the rest of the first round because every game I watch, the Devils lose. I'm into the nonsensical superstitions as well.)
posted by inmediasres at 8:44 PM on April 19, 2010

The Sharks curse is all down to the fact that in 1945 the owner of the Billy Goat tavern tried to bring his goat to the game, only to be turned away because of the goat's unseemly odor. He was outraged and declared that Cubs would never ...

Oh wait, that's my other favorite team that can't win in the playoff.
posted by mcschmidt00 at 9:01 PM on April 19, 2010

Update: According to the Dudes on Hockey, the curse was caused by Ed Belfour (scroll down). But don't worry! They exorcised him today.
posted by millions of peaches at 9:25 PM on April 19, 2010

As a Bruins fan and season ticket holder, I have long ago accepted the fact that even if we finish first overall in the conference with approximately three thousand points, we're still probably never winning the cup. When we're inevitably knocked out, or fail to qualify, I have fun watching other teams. I never see it as a curse, though other people have said it. If they win a cup in my lifetime, I'll be a happy camper.

Also, honestly? You guys have Joe Thornton. HE KIND OF SUCKS IN THE PLAYOFFS. NOT THAT I KNOW ABOUT THAT OR ANYTHING. When they sign some players that show up past tax day, they'll have a shot. It's not anything you're doing, it's the team.

How much does she understand the game of hockey itself? Does she often watch other games besides Sharks games? Will it make her feel better to know that there are other teams that do just as poorly, three or four to every freakin' goddamn Detroit and Pittsburgh? I mean, she thinks the Sharks are cursed, try being a Toronto fan. And really, Washington ain't doin' so hot out here either. First place doesn't assure you much in the world of hockey. Any seed can get the cup.

In summary, I think you need to convince her that it's not so much a curse as mathematics and the tenacity of players on the team, but fat chance, huh?
posted by kpht at 9:46 PM on April 19, 2010

The more history you can give a curse, the more convincing. JohnnyGunn mentioned the California Golden Seals above. Here's a little quote from Charlie Finley's wikipedia page that should give you something to chew on.

Finley purchased the Oakland Seals of the National Hockey League in 1970, renaming the team California Golden Seals. Mimicking the A's, he changed the team colors to green and gold and had the Seals wear white skates instead of the traditional black skates, a move deeply unpopular with both players and fans. During his tenure, the Seals traded a first-round draft pick that turned into future Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur. He also allowed five of his best players to bolt to the upstart World Hockey Association. Finley ultimately lost interest in the team, but couldn't find any buyers and turned it over to the league in 1974.

I'd go with the white skates. As any ten year old kid will tell you, only girls wear white skates.
posted by philip-random at 12:30 AM on April 20, 2010

As a fan of the team that eliminated the Sharks in the first round last year, I find great pleasure in their continuing postseason woes. That said...

There are no curses. Red Sox fans were convinced their team was cursed, and now their team has won twice in the 2000s. Yankee fans were convinced A-Rod was a playoff dog, but how did that turn out last year?

And to keep it within the NHL, no one dared touch the conference trophies out of superstition (which was rather lame considering it had a 50% failure rate every year). Then Crosby picks it up last year, and whoops, they won the Cup. And yeah, the NHL playoffs are kind of a crapshoot anyway, esp in the first round.

Besides, every team has their share of fans (and players) with lucky charms and routines, but how many of those teams actually win each year? Ergo, a lot of those charms and routines must be rather ineffective. And that also means you have no effect on the Sharks' performance for better or worse.

Yes, luck factors in heavily in sports, but no one is "lucky." The luckiest guy in the world today could get struck by lightning tomorrow (well, unless that guy is Derek Jeter. Bastard.)

I still can't explain the Cubs, though...
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:20 AM on April 20, 2010

Every league has its teams that are great in the regular season but just can't pull it out in the playoffs. Buffalo Bills, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Braves (yeah, they won the World Series once, but given that it seems as though they won their division every season for years on end I still consider them losers). And the Sharks aren't even the worst offenders in the NHL. The St. Louis Blues made the playoffs every season for something like 25 years and didn't even make the finals.

She wants frustration?? Try having been a Calgary Flames fan for the past 20 years. Won the cup in '89, didn't win a playoff series again until 2004, and didn't even MAKE the playoffs between '96-'03. I was also a Whalers fan. Futility, thy name is Hartford.
posted by fso at 5:01 AM on April 20, 2010

You probably wont have to worry about it much longer, I really dont think they are gong to make it out of the first round again this season.

posted by BobbyDigital at 8:16 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think this would be an excellent time for you to discover and develop a fanatical appreciate for an obscure Bangladeshi cricket team. It'll distract you and perhaps she'll realize she's being a bit odd (although, really, by hockey fan standards, she sound perfectly conservative. She isn't tossing octopuses around, after all).
posted by QIbHom at 11:06 AM on April 20, 2010

Honestly, the curse is probably because they're the San Jose Sharks. It's their job to kill it in the regular season and bomb out in the playoffs. Plus, they have Joe Thornton, who wears expectations like a lead apron. Also, Dany Heatley killed his friend and teammate in an auto accident, so it's not like he's Mr. Karma.

But really, it's because San Jose needs to lose every year. It is fact.
posted by Turkey Glue at 12:53 PM on April 20, 2010

Well, the OP will have salvation for another week at least.

Kind of a rough statement about Heatley, but if he's not Mr. Karma, who is? Tiger didn't exactly find himself shut out of tourney wins while he was playing the field. There are plenty of saints who never win a championship, and there are plenty of jerks and scumbags who do (and maybe even go on to lead prosperous happy lives until the very end).

Go Coyotes. At least until the conference finals.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:01 PM on April 26, 2010

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