The Tank, San Jose, CA
Wednesday night at the Shark Tank was a splendid affair, for the simple fact that it was my first game of the season, I was with #1 daughter and oh yeah, San Jose put a PLB (parking lot beating) on the Nashville Predators.
In uncharacteristic fashion San Jose was the heavyweight, throwing their weight around and making the Preds pay in 5 on 5 play scoring three times. Throw in a power play goal, several fights and stifling goaltending from a resurgent Martin Jones and it was a recipe for the Sharks third straight win and seventh in their last ten games.
The only thing that soured me a bit was an injury to Marc Eduard Vlasic on a horrid hit by Ryan Johansen, as he boarded the Pickle and hit him in the head with a right shoulder. He received a two minute slap on the hand as the Sharks lost their best defensive D man.
The inequity of that sticks in my craw, but hopefully his injury isn’t too serious. Coach Pete DeBoer had no update on the injury last night. Captain Joe Pavelski fought the aforementioned dirtbag Johansen and had a nice takedown in their short bout.
What conclusion can we draw from this game? First, I have to say that no one is talking about San Jose as a major playoff contender, and I watch a lot of NHL Network. Secondly, there is little to no buzz in San Jose as the arena was not sold out and there were numerous blocks of empty seats. So what you say?
To answer my question, what I’ve observed about the Sharks is this: they don’t care what you think about them and their 26 years with no Cup. They have a big skilled team with a very solid goalie and they are on track to have a nice season.
San Jose has two rookies on defense because of an injury to Paul Martin and the departure of David Schlemko in the expansion draft. They’ve filled in nicely and one, a Swede named Tim Heed has an absolute howitzer from the point and scored his 1st NHL goal against the King, Henrik Lundquist of the Rangers.
GM Doug Wilson has built a team with almost no change in personnel from the last two years, one of which they went to the Cup Final and lost to the Sidney Crosby’s. Quite frankly, I think the West is up for grabs and I think San Jose has a team “thats been there before”, yet when it comes to winning a Cup they can’t say “been there done that.”