San Jose Sharks
@ Los Angeles Kings
Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 6:00 PM PDT
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Admittedly, I have never been to San Jose. In fact, I have only been to northern California twice, and those trips were pretty brief. But it seems nice. San Jose also appears pretty cool, though again, I can't make any real assessments on it. Two of my better friends from college were from the area, and are die-hard Sharks fans, and while it is easier to say they both are assholes, frankly they were some of my better friends I have had. They put up with me, which says a lot right there.
The Sharks as an organization have been a phenomenal team over the past decade or so, despite not winning a Stanley Cup. They have dominated the Pacific division up until last season, and have a roster that pisses off Jeremy Roenick to no end. San Jose has been a rival that is perfect at being just that. Unlike the Ducks, who are in fact terrible people and a terrible franchise, the Sharks have respectability surrounding themselves. The offseason to acquire Antti Niemi was incredibly memorable, given that the Sharks were looking to pick up Niklas Hjalmarsson and came away with Niemi instead. How they convinced the Blackhawks to match the offer sheet for Hjalmarsson and hamstring them to get their goalie I have no idea. Yet the Sharks were greatly improved in net, and far younger (especially better off when you watch Evgeni Nabokov now).
Logan Couture is turning into the new phenom center to take Joe Thornton's place, but Thornton has still been an absolute force this series. T.J. Galiardi is perhaps the greatest pest of all time, knocking goalies around, talking shit, making me hate him, and then scoring a game winning goal (albeit, pretty easily) after I wrote a shit-talking post about him. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brent Burns, Dan Boyle, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski. Not a bad core of players right there. The Sharks even made Scott Gomez not suck.
It has been a maddening series to watch. The Sharks carried one of the greatest home records ever from the regular season over into the playoffs, and that sort of success is mind boggling. The Kings have been out played and out coached throughout this series at times, and it's a miracle this went to seven games. It terrifies me knowing that these two teams are probably going to be meeting up regularly for the playoffs from here on out. Who else would it be? The Oilers? Canucks? Let's be serious.
As for the fans of the Sharks...You're okay. Most of the ones here at Battle of California at least. For the most part, San Jose's fans have the sense to despise Raffi Torres. Even still the suspension he got was pretty ridiculous (in the term) and the NHL really screwed up by suspending him for a series instead of a set amount of games. He was proving to be quite a factor as an offensive threat and the Kings are damn fortunate they don't have to face him any further. But again, as fans of a rival team team, the Sharks at least know what they are talking about, and their arena is consistently full. Unlike in Anaheim. Just a bit of advice though...You may want to knock off the chomping thing. And actually be silent during the moment of silence. We Kings fans will stop booing your injured players in return.
As for Meg, obviously I don't need to say too much, as most of you reading this are pretty familiar with him. He is is one clever fella, and if I had even a shred of his humor, Battle of California would be a far better site in the furthest left blog posts. When I fired off an email to him close to year ago, I had done so basically for shits and giggles. I hadn't written much in a long time, and the fact I got selected (while probably infuriating for everyone else) was the biggest thrill I could have asked for. He's put up with me breaking the site, misspelling everything, and god knows how many grammatical errors (probably a few in this sentence alone). He's the flag bearer of Battle of California, and is deservedly so. I'd like to get to know him better, but by then there will probably be a restraining order or two.
The Kings have home ice for game seven, which has been the difference maker for every game so far. I am not exactly looking forward to game seven, because they are never relaxing, and even less so when you are playing a rival. Yet if the Sharks win, best of luck to them. The winner will face either the horrible people consisting of the Chicago Blackhawks team, or the horrible people that make up the Detroit Red Wings' fans.