Hi there, everybody. I go by Megalodon or Meg, I'm a dude, and I live in Southern California. I'm Rudy's friend (sort-of). I grew up in the Bay Area, which explains why I am 1) A Sharks fan and 2) Smarter than everyone else in my area code.
It's damn hard to be a hockey fan in California in general, and it's extra-tough to live down here and get all this crappy hockey on my TV all the time, when all I want to see is the Sharks. Adding insult to injury I have to see this blog, which claims to represent the Battle of California, devolve into a battle between Larry and Curly, while the true leader, Moe, languishes ignored on the sidelines.
Well I say this has gone on TOO LONG. The Sharks demand their proper place at the head of the table, and I shall help them claim it!
Anyways, this site is great, I've been a reader for years, and I'm really happy to be coming on board - thanks to Earl and Rudy for the opportunity. I hope to uphold the proud traditions of those who have come before me, and to that end I will endeavor to fill my next post with MS Paint cartoons and jokes about sex with dogs. For my first post, however, I thought it would be a good idea to detail why I feel it is important that this site do more to represent and cover the Sharks.
Why Battle of California Needs MoreCoverage
1. League-wide recognition: The did a huge service to California hockey with their cup win, forcing the dangerously Eastern-slanted hockey media to pay overdue recognition to The Greatest State. The have been puttering along for years, an element of the larger NHL psyche similar to the role played by Gunther on Friends (popping up once or twice a year, making people laugh, then quickly being forgotten). The Sharks have been gaining steam over the past ten years, steadily improving their play and their roster, and are in position to be a strong cup contender for yet-another postseason.
And, yes, everyone loves to talk about how the Sharks "choke" every year in the playoffs - but if what we are talking about here is getting the media attention California hockey deserves, then this history of playoff disappointments could actually be seen as an ASSET. Sports media loves simplistic stories, and the Sharks' story is already written: They've choked in the past, but can they do it this year? The Sharks are clearly California's best chance to get national hockey attention. Even if they don't win the cup, they'll get people talking. And if we want people to be talking, we need to start the conversation here.
2. They're the best team in California, Subjectively: "Sharks" is a damned-cool team name. Douglas Murray is the greatest guy ever. Pacific Teal is a way better color than Angsty-OC Black or Gay-Superhero Purple. San Jose (St. Joseph) was Jesus' foster-dad, which is way better than The Angels (and naming your city "home by the Santa Anna River" doesn't even rate a discussion). A Shark could totally eat a duck or a king. Joe Thornton hilariously can't make toast, is the biggest asshole in North America, and Kopitar's mother was a raccoon.The Sharks rule.
For all you King and Duck fans out there, I'll assume that the preceding has totally destroyed your perception of the universe, and that you all feel deeply ashamed for ever being fans of any team other than the Sharks. That's okay - come into the healing embrace of Patrick Marleau, He Who Forgives and Loves All.
3. They have the best players:
Most points in the NHL:
#8 Thornton, SJ - 85
#10 Marleau, SJ - 80
#13 Heatley, SJ - 77
#15 Kopitar, LAK - 76
#19 Perry, ANA - 72
Most goals in the NHL:
#4 Marleau, SJ - 42
#7 Heatley, SJ - 39
#11 Kopitar, LAK - 33
#15 Ryan, ANA - 31
Most assists in the NHL:
#2 Thornton, SJ - 66
#12 Getzlaf, ANA - 50
#22 Kopitar, LAK - 43
4. They're the best team in California, Objectively: The Sharks will almost certainly end this season with the most points in the Battle of California. They also had the most points in the league last year. In fact, if we do some rough projections for likely point-totals at the end of this year, we can rank the teams in terms of average points per season, post lock-out. And if we were to do that, it would look something like this:
Kings 81.2 pts/season
Ducks 97.4 pts/season
Sharks 108.2 pts/season
Yeah - suck on those numbers, So-Cal fools. How do they taste? Bad? Yeah, I'll bet they do.
The Sharks have demonstrated a remarkable consistency of improvement going all the way back to 1996. Setting aside the awful 02-03 collapse, the Sharks have improved their point totals nearly every season for the past 14 years.
This trend represents much more than the impact of a single coach or the acquisition of a star player like Thornton or Heatley - this improvement is a sign of a well-run organization that knows what it is doing and will continue to be a threat for years to come.
The Ducks are going downhill and the Kings have too many questionable pieces. The Sharks will rule the Pacific for years to come.
That's all for now. The Sharks play tonight at 5:30 against Dallas, a team that sucks even worse than the Ducks but which gives the Sharks some trouble. Thornton will probably still be out (he says it's a minor injury, but then why the MRI?) so it will be another good test for the Sharks. I'd like Greiss to play again since he was great last game, but he probably won't since McLellan likes to let Nabokov pretty much play as much as he wants. And since Nabby has been mostly awesome this year, I won't complain.
Prediction: The Sharks win 4-2, with goals by Heatley, Boyle, Clowe, and some other guy, and this blog gets a whole lot better.