Are you ready San Jose Sharks fans? This Wednesday, the Sharks play their first pre-season game. Alright, I know I've heard the rhetoric before...preseason games don't mean very much, who cares, it's only pre-season, blah-blah-blah. And, unlike baseball or football, fans are not treated the same - sure, we get to listen to the games over the radios, but forget watching the frozen frenzy on the ice.
Still, these games are important to rookies and free agents looking to earn a spot on the team. A good run during the September games makes all the difference in the world to a young player hoping to jump from the minor leagues to the big time. Veterans hoping for one more at a Cup run have to put out that effort to impress the GM and the Coach.
As the Clash sang back in the eighty's, will I stay or will I go? This leads to other big questions.
Will Joe Thornton keep the "C"? What about Marleau and Clowe keepign the "A" on their chests? A lot of sports critics have been tough on the team, especially the first & second line guys, on their performance in the last two seasons. The team has talent, of that one one doubts.
The Sharks continue to have multiple 20+ goal scorers at the end of the regular season. They repeatedly make the play-offs. The Sharks system relies heavily on drafting & developing those players from the farm system to the AHL: especially goalies. Consider some of the great players to graduate from the Sharks in the past: Jeff Friesen, Ray Whitney, Mikka Kiprusof, Arturs Irbe, Jeff Norton, Evgeni Nabokov, Sandis Ozolinsh, Mike Rathje, and Vesa Toskula.
There are so many wonderful players, too many to list here, that have given the Sharks fans a wonderful ride to date. Some players, for instance, Igor Larionov, was already a legend when he donned the teal & black.Others, like Owen Nolan gave us a thrill with a level of play that set a standard. WHo could ever forget Owen pointing to the goal during the All Star Game on January 18, 1997, and scoring that third goal for his hat trick? The roar of the crowd was heard from Berkeley to Monterey that night.
So, here's to you boys! What will this new season bring? Who will tops the team standings? Will one of our teal icemen earn silver? Will this be the year Stanley comes home to San Jose? I for one, have my teal-colored glasses ready, my 'shark-mobile' washed, and my teal make-up set aside for a game excursion.
Wed, Sept 21, 2011 1900 hrs, Sharks at Ducks
Fri, Sept 23, 2011 1930 hrs, Ducks AT SHARKS
Sat, Sept 24, 2011 1930 hrs, Coyotes AT SHARKS
Sun, Sept 25th, 2011 1800 hrs, Sharks at Cunucks
Thurs, Sept 29th, 2011 1930 hrs, Canucks AT SHARKS
Sat, Oct 1, 2011, 1900 hrs, Sharks at Phoenix
OPENING DAY for REGULAR SEASON
Saturday, October 8, 1930 hours, Phoenix AT SHARKS for game 1 of the 2011-2012 season