Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Jess is temporarily stuck without Internet access at the moment. He wanted to let everybody know that he's working on posts for Monday (Tampa/Busch Gardens) and yesterday (Sawgrass Mills and Sharks vs. Panthers), and that he'll have these posted by Thursday morning, Pacific time.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, October 30, 2006

10/29 sharks 4, TAMPA BAY 2

When the Lightning were in the Stanley Cup Finals, signs adorned the St. Pete Times Forum saying things like "Stanley needs a tan". From the second I stepped off the plane in Tampa, I was bombarded with light and warmth from some bright burning ball in the sky, unlike anything I had seen yet on this trip. This trend continued until game time yesterday, as the game was a rare 5:00 pm start time. The atmosphere surrounding the Forum was pretty good, as there was an outdoor party going on. The Forum itself is a nice building, extremely large, both inside and out, but nice nonetheless. Out front, there is some sort of lightning bolt thing sticking out of the ground. Hardly an artistic masterpiece, but a cool landmark, making all aware of where they are.

Once inside, the building is pretty easy to navigate, as there are handy signs at both entrances, directing patrons on how to get to their seats. Due to the size of the building, each level (lower, club, and upper) has its own concourse. Those sitting in both the 100's and 200's (the club) have the ability to get to their seats straight from the entrance, as the club level has its own entrance on the ground floor, complete with private escalator, elevator, and transport beam (I made up one of those). For those in the 300's however, once inside, the hunt for one of two relatively well-hidden escalators to the concourse-in-the-sky is on. While walking around this relatively wide lower concourse (still not the size of the GEC), complete with giant pillars in the middle of the walkway, there are the basic concessions, and a large smattering of souvenir stands on the outside of the walkway (away from the seating area). The upper level concourse is pretty similar, although there are much fewer concessions, but the same choices as the fancy people that sit downstairs.

Passing under the spray painted black "St. Pete Times Forum" on the baby blue wall and through the black curtains, the size of the Forum impresses yet again. From the outside, this building looks like an airplane hangar, and once inside, it begs the question, "Where are the blimps?" The upper level has 19 rows (I think, I couldn't make it to the top, my expedition team ran out of supplies at Row M (13). The rafters hang not too high above the the highest seats of the building, with the ceiling sitting 20/30 feet above the rafters. The rafters are relatively bare, however there is a crown jewel hanging from one end of the Forum rafters. There is the Southeast Division Champions banner from 2002/03, and from 2003/04, along with an Eastern Conference Champions banner from the same year, but a large black banner displaying the most beautiful trophy in all of sports, the Stanley Cup, proudly hangs from the end of the line of banners. There are a few banners on the other end that display the Arena Bowl Championships of the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League, but nobody cares about that, (at least until January/February, when the AFL begins its 21st season). This is number four of the big four, the NHL . (I follow the AFL, I am a proud Sabercats fan, so, arena fans, please forgive, it was a joke)

The game itself was pretty good, at least for the Sharks fans in attendance; the largest Sharks contingent I've seen at a road game this season. I saw probably 30 Sharks jerseys, a very welcome number from the single digits found in some of the other buildings. I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of the small groups of people who read my blog (thank you to all for reading, feel free to stop by, see post conveniently titled "Come for a Visit"). May and Leanne (I'm really sorry if I got that wrong, please correct me tomorrow in Sunrise), two season ticket holders from the Bay (Pacifica, home of Rob Schneider, if I remember correctly) come for some hockey in the Sunshine State in both Tampa and Sunrise (read Ft. Lauderdale and Miami).

Simple highlights of the game: each team had two goals on the power play, Joe got his first goal of the season, Ryan Clowe got his first NHL goal, and Evgeni Nabokov had 18 saves for his third win of the season.

Sharks wrap up their 5 game trip and the first month of the season tomorrow with a Halloween match-up in Sunrise at the "Your Name Here, But You Have To Keep It Here For A Few Years Because We've Had Four Names In 8 years" Arena at 7:30 EST. To any and all teal fans that will be in attendance, or any possible Panther fans reading this, please come visit me, I'm sitting in section 409 row 5 seat 4 wearing my teal Bernier jersey.

I went to Busch Gardens today, look for an update tomorrow, assuming there's Internet access at the La Quinta.

Go Sharks ( go to Sunrise, then go home :D )

Just a few banners, but the one on the far left is the one that matters most.

From Hockeytown to Hockeybay.

Couldn't get a better shot, there was some sort of bright ball in the sky, and it hurt my eyes to look at it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

10/27-28 Nashville and Tampa

NOTE: I apologize for my late post here, but I've been having some trouble connecting to Blogger recently. You'll also notice pictures for games up through October 21st against Minnesota.

Nashville is in the South, an area dominated by Christianity. That is why an apt name for the building that housed the Grand Ole Opry for so long is known as the Mother Church of Country Music. The Ryman Auditorium is a beautiful red brick building that, when it was first constructed, was in fact a non-denominational house of prayer, where spiritual leaders came to preach. Constructed by a changed riverboat and saloon owner for the evangelist that changed him, this building was built to have the best acoustics ever (said to have the second best in the world to only the Mormon Tabernacle). When the building started to lose money, that's when musical acts came in. In the '20s, the building was approached by a popular show called the Grand Ole Opry, and from there, the Ryman Auditorium took off.

Hosting this show until the early '70s, this place was home to hundreds of famous acts. Really, to name any without naming all would not do justice, so that is why I leave it blank here. A simple $8.50 will get a self-guided tour around this place, with an extra $5 for photos on stage with a guitar, a cheesy but cool touristy thing that I did not do. All the seats in the 2200+ capacity theater (all the seats are benches) are original; restored, but original (keep in mind the floor level was built in 1892, and the balcony in 1897). Hallowed but still active, this is a definite must see, even for a non-country music fan (Brian Setzer Orchestra is having a Christmas show here on December 7th).

A short walk across Broadway to Rippy's (a bar that is right across 5th from the GEC) for lunch, and then a visit to the new site of the Grand Ole Opry, conveniently titled The Grand Ole Opry House, located at Gaylord Opryland; home to a hotel, the House, and Opry Mills, an impossibly large mall. Also home to 20 movie screens, multiple sit-in restaurants, and tons of shops. The main draw (to me, at least) is Aquarium, "An underwater dining experience". Aquarium, a Landry's-owned establishment, (Joe's Crab Shack, Rain Forest Cafe [they got one of those at the Mills too]) has three tanks; the largest, sitting in the middle of the dining area, is a 200,000 gallon tank home to a lot of species of sea creatures.

A taxi ride back to the hotel, and watching the end of the World Series, (congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans [boooooo :D ]) and that was an evening.

A quick, 90 minute flight to Tampa was made interesting first by a passenger on the plane not on the manifest (three cheers for the Southwest check-in system) and then a little bit too much rough air for my liking. I'm a huge fan of roller coasters, but that's because they're safe, they're 200-400 feet from the ground, and they're connected to tracks. This was a much heavier vehicle, connected to nothing, and about 34,600-800 feet higher than any coaster in the world. I even do recall getting a bit of negative G's (weightlessness-feeling, "airtime") on a few of the bumps. After landing safely, I was transported to my hotel by a very exuberant but a little bit crazy cab driver. It should be noted that this cab ride, the 13th of my trip, was the first cab I rode in that was driven by a female. It's not that I care either way, I just thought it should be noted. I think of myself as important, therefore I deemed it noteworthy :D .

Busch Gardens Tampa, now known as Busch Gardens Africa, is about a mile away. I'll provide a full update on it either tomorrow night, or Tuesday morning, as tomorrow is when I'm going. Tonight at 5:00 EST sees the Sharks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum. I'll update either tonight or tomorrow, and I'll try to get more pictures up too.

Go Sharks (go I can't think of anything to say)

Friday, October 27, 2006

10/26 NASHVILLE 4, sharks 3

Nashville is known as the Music City, home to the Grand Ole Opry, and plenty of other country music greats, but on this night, we focus on one part of the city that has been dusted with some good ole funk, the Gaylord Entertainment Center. The GEC, as it's more commonly known, sits downtown, on the corner of 5th and Broadway. Just down the street from the historic Ryman Auditorium, the GEC stands out as much of the rest of the city does. The building itself is definitely an original, inside and out. The outside is a large gray rectangle, with a SaddleDome-esque arena peeking out from the top, resembling some sort of alien spacecraft. It should also be noted that on the corner of 5th and Broadway, there is a large radio tower/spire, that is attached to a blue glass cone, that is home to the Nashville Visitors Center.

Once inside, the building itself is equally unique, as the concourses are ridiculously wide, with separate areas for walking and standing in lines for concessions. Immediately inside the entrance is an impressive, three wall display of pucks, with names of each and every Predator season ticket holder, who waited out the NHL lockout and subsequent cancellation of the 2004-2005 NHL season. Unlike the simple one concourse design of some of the older buildings like the SaddleDome, Rexall in Edmonton, Joe Louis Arena, and even my home building, the San Jose Arena, the GEC is home to a separate concourse for each level. Getting on the long escalator to the top, the upstairs walkway is almost as large as its big brother downstairs. Concessions are not as populous upstairs, although there are still a couple hot dog stands, and of course, the beer taps. Unless I missed the others, the only beer on tap at the GEC is Miller Lite, a beer consumed by many on this night especially, as it was $2 beer night. Lucky for me, wearing a teal Ricci jersey. As I heard a couple of times as heckles from behind me, "Who is that Ricci anyway? Guess he's not too rich" (it should be noted that these sentences were followed by laughs, and high fives). Ah, true hockey fans, but I'll get to them later.

The inside of the seating area is just as unique as the rest of the building, as this was the first building I've ever seen with asymmetrical seating. The best way to describe the seating is that of a horseshoe. Three sides are even, and one end zone is different, cut off from the rest of the seats. The inside is a little funky, as it's unique to see such a design indoors.

On to the fans. A day later, I'm still not sure what to think of the Predator fans. Part of me enjoys their extreme enthusiasm, chanting quite often and staying interested in the game, but the other half of me thinks that it's just a bit too reminiscent of a high school football game. The constant barrage of "sucks", "losers", and other sophomoric chants ("it's all your fault, it's all your fault, it's all your fault" chanted at a goalie after the Predators score, "I'm blind, I'm deaf, I wanna be a ref) kinda make me feel like I'm surrounded by 17,000 blue and gold clad teenagers. Again, don't get me wrong, I love the constant enthusiasm, I just can't help but feel like it's a bit immature, and will ultimately be an image, I would feel, the Predator organization would like to shed.

The game itself was nothing too much to write home about. It was a close match-up, as expected, between two teams with deep playoff quality and aspirations. There were a few borderline calls that went each way, however the most prevalent seemed to be the disallowed goal early in the third and the Kyle McLaren crosscheck late in the same period. I still don't understand the goal call, as if the play was disallowed due to incidental contact with the goalie (as was announced by the PA), then the puck came free and was in the net before the whistle blew (which it did), then there should be no reason why it shouldn't count. If there is a penalty there, (which there wasn't), then the play should not be dead until it's ruled that Vokoun had full possession of the puck and had frozen it, or a delayed call that has play dead as soon as a Shark touches the puck. On the McLaren call, I still haven't seen the penalty, but as was explained to me by those watching on TV that the call was made not on the initial shove, but on the retaliatory hit (a crosscheck) on Kariya after hitting Toskala. Either way, if it was a warranted call, it was a very poor decision by McLaren, so late in the game.

On a whole, this was a fun experience. A cool building, inside and out, a cool city (which I'm going to experience more of now), and a cool atmosphere. Nothing beats the opportunity to hear "Dahr-cee Hoar-dee-chuhhk" (Darcy Hordichuk in the stereotypical Southern accent). Sharks are off until Sunday, when they match up against the 2003-04 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Game 5 of the World Series is tonight, with St. Louis having an opportunity to win it all, at home, in front of their fans. I'll be back tomorrow with a report on the Music City.

Go Sharks (go Tigers, sunshine, and go dahr-cee hoar-dee-chuhhk)

No offense meant by anything written herein. Like dude, I'm like, hella sorry for like, makin fun of the way you dudes speak. Peace out, brah.

It was raining, so the best shot I got on this trip was the sign out front.

Hey, a giant mouth that the players come out of, what a great idea, maybe the Sharks should try it with a... oh yeah.

The predator at center ice.

One of the loudest, rowdiest sections in all of the Western Conference.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

10/25 DETROIT 2, sharks 1

My flight into Detroit and my walk through the funky underground hallway were pretty surreal due to the fact I had been up for so long, and it was still early. Unfortunately, I was all too awake for the evening; an evening that saw a building with mystique, and a sight seen by Shark fans all too real and all too often before. So much mystique in fact, that an already poor 2-23-1 all time record at the Joe was reflected perfectly with the effort on the ice. The Sharks let a slim 3rd period lead slip through their sticks. Evgeni Nabokov had 37 saves, let in only two goals, and still received the loss.

Joe Louis Arena is nicely tucked behind the COBO Arena and multi-level convention center, right on the banks of the Detroit River, serving as the border between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The building itself is a pretty shade of dull gray, but is oddly shaped, with parts of the roof/upper part of the building jutting out in every which direction. The doors, the signs, and even the surroundings won't let you forget who plays in this plain colored building, as the gray is quickly overshadowed by bright red doors, a large black sign welcoming you to the Joe (home of the Detroit Red Wings), and a display on the pedestrian walkway from the parking garage to the north entrance upstairs, right next to the Lodge freeway, proudly boasting the 10 (yeah, that's a lot) Stanley Cup Championships won by this team, ranging from 1935-36 to the most recent in 2001-02.

The inside of the building won't let you forget where you are either. Within 5 seconds of entering, you are quickly surrounded by 17,000 of your closest friends (assuming you're wearing red), and thrust into the concourse with people and noise and giant hanging purple octopi wearing Wing jerseys. This was the first encounter on my trip this year where, upon entrance, all those in attendance must walk through metal detectors and the standard bag check found in all arenas.

Walking through the concourse, there's a bit more room. However, there are tons of things placed in the middle of the otherwise semi-wide concourses, making them really no larger than most other buildings, and makes maneuvering through the crowd pretty tough. The food is standard; hot dogs, kielbasas, other sausages. There are two walk-in Little Caesar's Pizza's, where you can get individual size all the way up to a large.

As if the history wasn't enough, the JLA attempts to add some old time-y effect when entering the seating area. Curtains. Well, giant vinyl fabrics hanging from the ceiling. As there is one concourse, each entrance way is home to just two choices, up or down, both of which are shrouded in mystery until passing through the red fabrics.

The seats themselves are pretty nice, pretty wide, pretty soft, and overall comfortable, but my real gripe with the JLA comes from the sight lines. I sat upstairs, 215, row 17, about 5 rows from the top. The top, in my particular section, was the luxury box of the owner, Mike Illitch, who, I assume, was not in attendance. His Tigers were supposed to play Game 4 of the World Series in St. Louis, but were eventually rained out. Now, sitting in row 17 of the upper deck, you assume to be up a little high. To steal from my favorite Saturday morning college football crazy man, Lee Corso, "not so fast, my friend". Because there are no luxury boxes between the lower and upper bowl (only maybe 15 feet separate the highest lower bowl seats and the lowest upper bowl seats), there is no real huge slope difference between the lower and upper bowl. And because there is no real huge slope difference, it is much easier to block someone's view, as the seats are not staggered that severely vertically.

The overall experience was pretty good. The history hanging from the ceiling was enough to impress anybody, because, solely as a fan, the video board is old and discolored, the shot clock is high up and easily obstructed by speakers, and, as I said before, the sight lines aren't the greatest. The music was spot on to whatever was going on, whether it be an announcement or something in the game (example: PA Announcer :"Tigers in a rain delay" followed by music "Rain Drops Keep Fallin' on My Head"). The crowd, as a whole, was pretty docile, but probably into the game so much that there was no time for chants. There were a few groups of people starting periodic "Let's Go Red Wings" chants, and a few futile attempts at the wave, but, directly following the Robert Lang goal that gave the Wings a 2-1 lead late in the third, that's when the fans woke up.

As I sit here, I ready myself and my stuff for a taxi ride to the airport, and then a 90 minute plane ride to Nashville, TN, for tonight's second leg of the back-to-back, against the Predators. Game time is 7:00 CDT, 5:00 for those of you in the PDT. Tonight, for a second try, is Game 4 of the World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals. I should be back tomorrow, with, hopefully, a better (from the teal POV) game and result.

Go Sharks (Go Tigers and Go sunshine)

The Joe, in all its gray glory.

So much history, it makes you either want to cry in awe, or puke in disgust.

Center ice in Hockeytown

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

10/24 Day in Columbus

There's an old adage - "travel is an adventure". Quite often these statements are true, and yesterday/this morning have been no exception. What is meant by this statement, at least in my mind, is the idea that we all make plans that change, and when these plans change, they can make things uncomfortable because it takes us out of control, and nobody likes to be out of control. However, the one positive to these interesting and sometimes uncomfortable situations are that they give us stories, tales of "I came, I saw, I had my plans changed" proportions. Stories that make our trips truly unique, so that not everyone else, if not anyone else at all, can claim that they've done the same.

Yesterday morning, well, early afternoon, I set out to the hands-on science museum of Columbus, COSI. Now, unless I read the website wrong, which may have happened, I left my hotel by shuttle and arrived at COSI. I quickly found out, however, that COSI is closed on Monday and Tuesday, and, as yesterday happened to be a Tuesday, I was out of luck. Walking back into downtown, I encountered a strange man. Now, I'm sure he was a very nice guy, but this man happened to be pulling his hair out and screaming at himself at the top of his lungs. As this startled me a bit, I quickly changed direction to leave Mr. Yelling Man alone.

I walked back into downtown, and back into the Arena District, in hopes of finding some food. After reading the sign, I found an interesting-sounding place, "Ted's Montana Grill". Wanting to go there, I looked on the map, and set out to Ted's. As I walked, I soon found myself in a neighborhood that wasn't the Arena District, and wasn't terribly nice either. Backtracking, I found my way back to the Arena District, but not to Ted's. After doing three full trips around the district looking for Ted's, I finally gave up, and went to go look for the movie theaters. As it turns out, the movie theaters are right next to Ted's, so, once I found the former, I found the latter.

I bought a ticket for a 3:00 showing of "Man of the Year", the Robin Williams movie about a fake news (read "The Daily Show") host who runs for, and wins the presidency of the United States. Having an hour and a half to kill, I went back to Ted's to have some lunch. Ted's was awesome. I suggest anyone who lives near a Ted's Montana Grill head down there to have some good eats (www.tedsmontanagrill.com). While I was eating lunch, the complex I was eating at was visited by two firetrucks, sirens blaring, and lights flashing. Apparently, (I found this out when I went back to the theater for my movie) they were setting up lights for a special event. The lights were positioned right under some sprinkler heads, and well, the rest is puddled in history. My movie was cancelled, my ticket was refunded, so I headed back to the hotel and took a nap.

Dinner was at a upscale-ish Japanese/sushi restaurant called Haiku; also a great place. For anyone in the Columbus area, check it out.

Dessert was my leftover Reese's Pieces, and a horrible ballgame (I was rooting for the Tigers), and it was sleep. This morning, I caught a shuttle to the airport, to find that my flight to Chicago O'Hare had been delayed. The nice agent at the gate was able to switch me to a Northwest flight direct to Detroit that leaves in a little more than an hour. Assuming my bag makes it on the plane too, it will be a good morning. I should be checking in either tonight or tomorrow with the game/arena summary.

Go Sharks (go Tigers and the nice American Airlines ticket agent at CMH gate B33b)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

10/23 sharks 3, COLUMBUS 0

On a starting side note, this morning was like Christmas. Snow outside, and a great package waiting for me to open. However, the snow was sparse and didn't stick, and the package was my suitcase that Southwest decided to find and deliver to me in the night.

The downtown portion of Columbus is really starting to thrive, and many thanks can be given to the arrival of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Their building, the Nationwide Arena, is exactly what the name says, a very big building. So big, in fact, there's a whole district named for the arena. The arena is home to several restaurants, a large parking garage, and a large condominium tower that houses many if not all of the Jacket players. Once done exploring the surrounding areas, it's time to check out the arena.

From the outside, Nationwide looks to be as big as an airplane hangar, but once inside, it's clear why. The building is a very comfortable place to be; so comfortable, in fact, that there is a lot of extra stuff inside beyond the seating area. Connected to the rear of the arena is the Jacket practice facility, home to youth leagues and free skate times as well. There is a bar, aptly named the Arena Bar and Grill. The concourses are super wide, as to accommodate the 18,000+ crowd as they enter and leave the building. There is a hat tank, where all the hats from Blue Jacket home ice hat tricks live. The tank has many hats in it (six tricks' worth), but seems empty as it is such a large tank.

The seating area itself is very reasonably sized, as there are very few, if any, bad seats in the house. Downstairs in the corner houses the most comfortable seats in the house; 4 leather recliners, sponsored by GMC, well named "The Driver Seats".

The entertainment is as plentiful as any other city. The pre-game sees the Mountain Dew-minator, a tank-like vehicle with a t-shirt cannon attached, drive around the ice, firing into the crowd. I happened to be lucky enough, just sitting in my seat, to have a shirt shot right at me, that I caught pretty easily (thank you baseball and hockey). There were the basic games, the Donato's pizza shuffle and the quiz (Sugardale's Famous Dogs), intermission entertainment of the Future Jackets, and the seemingly more popular scantily clad girls with ice skates and shovels who keep the ice smooth and fast during official's timeouts (a very silly spectacle in my mind, don't you get any ideas Greg [Jamison]).

The game itself was a tale of two stories, based on which color you were wearing. A Shark fan would tell you that last night was a great game, seeing the Sharks dominate all levels of play, from the physical aspect on O and D, to the yet again solid power play. The added joy of a 5-on-5 goal, Vesa Toskala extending his winning streak and getting his first shutout of the year, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic ("Pickles") getting his first NHL point coming on the day of the announcement that he will stay in the NHL and spend the year in San Jose. And it was a good day to wear teal. A Jacket fan would tell you that this game was just another in the saga of the Gerard Gallant era, a coach who apparently is not liked too much by Jacket fans, and this game was just another showing of his lacking ability to inspire his troops (even though Sergei Fedorov made his season debut last night) and allow them to gain any chemistry. Thereby he is showing his prowess as an NHL head coach to be seriously poor and signaling his should-be- imminent firing (phew). When they weren't busy booing, and personally heckling the team and the coach for the poor effort on the ice (the cameras caught Gallant in a shouting match with a Jacket fan behind the bench sharing words that rhyme with "puck too").

Today sees me hang around the capital city of Ohio, heading out to the hands-on museum in town, COSI, and then to a restaurant/pub to watch Game 3 of the World Series (go Tigers). Tomorrow is a flight to Detroit by way of Chicago O'Hare, for a 7:30 EDT rematch against the Red Wings, looking to avenge their 5-1 loss last week at the Tank at the hands of the Boys in Teal.

Go Sharks (go Tigers)

It may be a bank, but this name is pretty gosh darn accurate

Hmm, I think there might be a few cities (29?) that would dispute that claim

The hat trick tank, home to 6 Blue Jacket hat tricks' worth of caps

CBJ at center ice

Sunday, October 22, 2006

10/21 minnesota 4, SHARKS 1

I would like to preface this post with the following: I needed to get packed and get some sleep last night because of my early flight out of here to Columbus, so I apologize for both posting late, and not having as many details still in my head; it's been a looooong day.

I guess the hockey gods heard me. All the gushing I did following the Sharks victory on Thursday came back to haunt me last night as the Sharks played as flat against Minnesota as they played well that night against Detroit. Not to discredit the Wild, as they rebounded superbly from a loss the previous night to the Ducks, playing a very sound game, offensively and defensively, but the Sharks looked out of it.

The whole night was pretty boring, as the Wild have always been known to play a trap style defense, clogging up the neutral zone and taking away all passing lanes. The Sharks kill was good once again, but the power play stumbled a little, as the Minnesota D kept the PP from even penetrating the zone effectively. As the Wild defense is supposed to work, when the Sharks were able to get a shot on goal, it wasn't a quality shot. As the pressure forced them to unload the puck much quicker than they would have liked to, Manny Fernandez was there to get in the way. A late third period rush up the middle by the captain, (Patrick Marleau) led to a backhander past the diving glove of Fernandez, but it proved to just not be enough.

There were not a whole lot of Wild fans in the crowd tonight, many fewer than most of the visiting teams thus far. It was nice to spend some time at home, where I was part of the majority in the arena, but alas, it must come to an end, temporarily.

As I'm finishing this early Monday morning, tonight is the first game of a five game road trip. Tonight sees the Sharks take on the much improved Columbus Blue Jackets. As of this time tomorrow, I should be able to report on everything the Nationwide Arena has to offer, however, I may not be able to get a read on the hospitality of the locals towards a Shark fan. Yesterday saw two delays in two airports, one gate change in SJ, and a triple gate change in Chicago Midway, resulting in one lost bag for this fan. Unless my bag appears sometime today, or I happen to find a sports store to purchase another sweater, tonight's game will not see me attending in teal. At the end of the month, I will do my first hospitality round up, rating each city on how they receive me as an opposing fan; hopefully I'll have a Columbus entry to speak of for then.

Go Sharks (and don't go Southwest, unless you like delays and multiple gate changes; they do have goofy stewardesses who are nice, but still)

Friday, October 20, 2006

10/19 SHARKS 5, detroit 1

What to say about this game. First, as is the case with any Sharks/Wings game in SJ, the Winged Wheel was on quite a few shirts in the building, as red is a popular hockey color for many Michigan transplants to the Bay. Second, who is this team that dresses in teal (but was wearing black as per "Black Thursday") and calls themselves the Sharks? Good goaltending has come to be expected in SJ, and a decent offense as well, but seeing the team defense last night, and the awesome special teams display, I'm not sure who exactly I'm watching.

I'm gushing disgustingly, of course, but while writing this post, I had much trouble coming up with anything but such "homeristic" words after such a display of excellence last night by the Boys in Teal. Yes, they weren't 100% flawless, but no team ever is, but the way they played last night, between the defensive 1-on-1's, the blocked shots and passes on the PK, and the near automatic (embellishment, yes, but oh so fun to say) PP that went 5-13, this team looked good.

In years past, this team would make mistakes that made them look like a minor league hockey team, whereas so far this season, this team has their mistakes make them look like mortals. I am writing about this game very biasedly, but, even as a fan, I feel it accurately describes the feelings of almost anyone who has the pleasure of following this team this year. There is a lot of hockey yet to be played, but this game just proves that this team seems to be a team that will provide exciting hockey all year long.

Tomorrow sees the currently (they play tonight in Anaheim) undefeated Minnesota Wild, rolling into town at 6-0. The Wild, the lone Western Conference team to have won all of their games, are a much improved team that is exceeding currently high expectations. Tomorrow night should be a fun one. Nothing like some HNISJ (Hockey Night in San Jose).

Go Sharks

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

10/17 SHARKS 2, dallas 0

It's good to be home. After 3 games on the road, the boys showed they still know how to excite the home crowd. After a week on the road myself, it was very pleasant to be part of that home crowd. To steal a line about Wrigley Field in Chicago, last night's game was played in the friendly confines of the tank. From start to finish, pre-game skate to the three stars, last night was a good night in Sharks hockey.

With the 5-0 Dallas Stars rolling into town, expectations were high for the defending Pacific Division Champions to come into San Jose and give the Sharks a total run for their money, and quite possibly head back to the Big D with two points from the tank. While the Stars had plenty of good scoring chances, they were playing their third game in four nights, and it showed. The Sharks took full advantage of the situation, playing a full 60 minute game, a complete victory for the boys in teal.

It's always been said that hockey is a game of bounces. When you get them, you win, more often than not. When you work hard, you usually get those bounces. Last night, the Sharks worked hard, and got those bounces. For example, in the first period, after the first few minutes on the penalty kill, the Sharks had the puck deep in the zone. A puck thrown to the net was tipped by a backhand off the stick of Milan Michalek, going up and over the head and shoulders of Stars goalie Marty Turco and into the back of the net. Solid play in the second led to a neutral zone turnover into a 3-2 for the Sharks, with Jonathan Cheechoo feeding Mark Bell to make the score 2-0 Sharks; a score that stuck, thanks to great defense and goaltending from Evgeni Nabokov circa 2001.

Last night's game was an important one for the Sharks, and, as a long time fan, it was nice to see that they played the game like it mattered. This whole homestand is a big test for team teal, with, (going into last night) all three Western Conference divisional leaders coming to town. A little assistance from the schedule I just stumbled upon, however, may turn out to help the Sharks a bit. Last night's game was the third in four nights for the Stars, having played in L.A on Saturday, and Anaheim on Sunday. Tomorrow the Detroit Red Wings come to town to play their third in four nights, having played on Monday in L.A. and tonight in Anaheim. To end the homestand, on Saturday, the Minnesota Wild arrive, playing, you guessed it, their third in four nights after playing in L.A. tonight, and Anaheim on Friday. Just an interesting little hitch in the schedule, and, as the week goes on, we'll see if it will help the Sharks in anyway.

On a side note, today is my 21st birthday, so, if you may be having a beer tonight, I'm drinking right there with you, legally, of course.

Go Sharks (and go drink, responsibly)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Come for a visit

Per a request, here is a list of the seats I will be sitting in on the road. As I have season tickets, I will be in the same seats every home game.

Home Games : Sec 213 Row 16 Seats 1-2

23 Columbus Sec 224 Row B Seat 17
25 Detroit Sec 215 Row 17 Seat 9
26 Nashville Sec 333 Row G Seat 1
29 Tampa Sec 324 Row M Seat 3
31 Florida Sec 409 Row 5 Seat 4

9 Los Angeles Sec 309 Row 2 Seat 9
11 Phoenix Sec 223 Row C Seat 13
13 Los Angeles Sec 309 Row 2 Seat 9
15 Colorado Sec 319 Row 1 Seat 12
21 Anaheim Sec 444 Row H Seat 9
28 St. Louis Sec 329 Row B Seat 17
29 Minnesota Sec 230 Row 4 Seat 11

2 Detroit Sec 214 Row 14 Seat 11
4 Dallas Sec 302 Row BB Seat 1
12 Los Angeles Sec 309 Row 2 Seat 9
30 Phoenix Sec 223 Row B Seat 5
31 Dallas Sec 302 Row BB Seat 1

11 Los Angeles Sec 309 Row 2 Seat 9
13 Phoenix Sec 223 Row B Seat 5
26 Edmonton Sec 203 Row 32 Seat 15
28 Vancouver Sec 301 Row 10 Seat 1

7 Anaheim Sec 401 Row H Seat 5
13 St. Louis Sec 122 Row A Seat 5
14 Nashville Sec 120 Row J Seat 1
16 Columbus Sec 224 Row B Seat 17
18 Dallas Sec 302 Row BB Seat 1
21 Washington Sec 426 Row E Seat 6
22 Chicago Sec 309 Row 1 Seat 11
24 Calgary Sec 205 Row 12 Seat 5

2 Anaheim Sec 401 Row H Seat 5
4 Dallas Sec 302 Row BB Seat 1
6 Minnesota Sec 228 Row 3 Seat 3
15 Phoenix Sec 117 Row P Seat 14
18 Colorado Sec 320 Row 4 Seat 5
21 Chicago Sec 309 Row 1 Seat 11
22 Atlanta Sec 303 Row H Seat 25
24 Carolina Sec 112 Row N Seat 4

4 Anaheim Sec 201 Row L Seat 5

Please feel free to visit me whenever you like. I'm always more than happy to share stories, so please don't hesitate to come on up and spend an intermission in the nosebleeds of the tank.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

10/13 sharks 6, VANCOUVER 4

From the time I woke up, to leaving last night, I was constantly reminded that it was Friday the 13th. CNN had a special on the history of the horror movie and plenty of Canucks fans came to the game wearing old school goalie masks made popular by the collection of movies named after the day, worn by the main character, Jason Voorhees. Fortunately, the Sharks avoided a nightmare end to their early season roadtrip in which they led by two goals at one point in each of the three games.

To start off about Vancouver, it is a beautiful city. The airport is at the southern part of the area, having to travel through Granville and Yaletown areas to get to the part of downtown where the arena is. The rather large building, GM Place, is neatly tucked away behind some high rises undergoing construction, a couple of viaducts, and its much bigger (hard to believe) brother, BC Place, home of the CFL's BC Lions. The Georgia St. Viaduct was closed, so getting to the entrance I needed was a bit of a pain, but once I was there, it all turned out to be worth it.

As I've seen all week in Calgary, Edmonton and now here in Vancouver, these people love hockey, and they strongly love their respective teams. As if emotions don't already run high here, last night was the home opener for the team, bringing an atmosphere and energy level usually reserved for the playoffs. I received my first road giveaway of the season, a very cool flex-fit retro style blue Vancouver Canucks cap, a hat I could see myself wearing.

As large as the building looks from the outside, it reflects it in size inside. The concourses are separated in levels, as one can walk completely around the 300's (upper level) and 100's (lower level) with only a few staircases to connect them. The lower level is standard, but the upper level is a whole different monster. The upper level is unique for a couple reasons: 1) The layout is such that one comes up through an entrance way in the middle of the section, 101-111 of one section are in the same row as 1-11 of the section to its left without an aisle break. 2) The upper level is the epitome of stadium seating, as the seats are staggered so that one can lean forward without even thinking of blocking the view of the person behind. To aid this, each row is outfitted with a handrail that runs the length of the row.

The game itself was very exciting, however, after a night like the Sharks had the night before, it really didn't need to be that exciting. The Sharks opened the scoring just a couple minutes in, with Patrick Marleau getting his first of the season. Markus Naslund tied it soon after, waking up the already raucous crowd in attendance. It is at this time that I noticed, not only do these people love their hockey, they also love their beer. This fact was demonstrated to me by a few kids my age sitting around me, making their presence felt and heard, but mainly heard, loudly. Not that I minded the obscene things they were shouting about the Sharks and their players, it was rather amusing and it provided a great atmosphere to the game, as in their own special way, they were showing their dedication to the game. The Sharks added another towards the end of the first period, ending the first eerily similar to the game in Edmonton at 2-1.

The second opened rather quietly, until 8 minutes in when Kevin Bieksa tied the game with a point shot on the PP. The game stayed tied until Patrick Rissmiller and Ville Nieminen made San Jose's bottom two lines heard with goals 2 minutes apart, giving the Sharks a 4-2 lead in the second. A beautiful Daniel Sedin backhander beat Vesa Toskala to make it 4-3. It was then I thought I knew what was going to happen, and just waited for the need to dodge the beer being spilled by my friends who were "enjoying" the game when they stood up and flailed their arms, not realizing the beer attached to the end of one of those arms. Thankfully, the second ended at 4-3 Sharks, setting up an interesting 3rd period.

The Sharks started the 3rd killing a 5-3 and did so successfully and then some. An errant Canuck pass back to the point made its way out towards the penalty boxes at center ice, and, fortunately for the Sharks, Curtis Brown, whose penalty had just ended, left him with a breakaway that he made sure to capitalize. An absolute rocket from Mattias Ohlund kept Vancouver in it, only to go down by two when Mike Grier, also on a breakaway, buried a backhander between the pads of Roberto Luongo. The rest of the game was still exciting, the Canucks had a few chances that they weren't able to capitalize on. The highlight of the end of the game wasn't the game, but the 50/50 drawing. For those unfamiliar, a 50/50 draw is a simple fundraiser where 50% of the money spent goes to the charity of choice, and the other 50% comes back to those who paid. Last night's drawing was a carryover from the previous season, making the pot a healthy 115,000 CAD. Not a bad sum to make as a fan at a a hockey game.

The game ended 6-4, a good end to a wild hockey game, and a three game tour through Western Canada. Just like the last two cities, the fans sitting around me were very pleasant to me, only talking trash about the Sharks in joking. I met some very nice people sitting next to me on either side, and a few people sitting up in the wheelchair accessible seats above me. Despite a hometown loss, they were very fun to talk to, as they were able to speak on the game from a unbiased position, even though they were all Canuck fans.

My first road trip has been a fun one. As I'm already expecting, I've just finished traveling to the cities and buildings where I will be received the warmest, as the people of Canada just seem to have a respect for the fellow person that is not equaled in many places back home. Thank you to the people of Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver who I met and talked to; you all were very nice and pleasant to me, despite my "ugly Sharks sweater". I hope to see you all again when I return deeper into the season.

Go Sharks (go home go)

The obligatory center ice from seat shot

The Garage, neatly tucked behind high rises and the much bigger BC Place

Thursday, October 12, 2006

10/12 EDMONTON 6, sharks 4

As quick as tonight happened, I hope it just as quickly goes away.

First off, Rexall Place, despite being old, is in pretty good shape. It's a white circle, with ridges on the outside, pretty ordinary. The inside shows the age of the building. The concourses are narrow, creating sardine like areas at popular times like intermission and after the games. It is however, nice and updated, with flat screens over every concession, modern concessions with foods like chicken, onion rings, and riblets, and Molson Canadian on tap at every stand.

Once in the seats, it is amazing to see how small the building really is. With the upper levels, the max capacity is only around the bottom of 17,000, but yet the noise levels of the place would make you think there are 5 or 6 thousand more in there. The multiple championship banners hang at one end, over a sign on the rafters that reminds you that "You're in Oil Country" and the other end has the five that have their numbers retired by the copper and blue.

The game itself had several ups and downs for both teams, with the ups ending for the hometown boys. The game started in a playoff like atmosphere, from the noise level to the 17,000 strong singing the national anthem of Canada (gives me chills thinking about it now, truly a moment I will never forget). From the drop of the puck, the Oilers fed off the crowd, and it gave them a huge jump that resulted in an early goal for Edmonton. A few penalties later, and the game was tied at 1. Cheechoo got his second a couple minutes later, and the first period ended 2-1 SJ. The second began where the first left off, with Cheech getting his third of the night, a natural hat trick. A fourth Sharks goal seemed to put the game out of reach, but that's when the Oilers began to play.

A Joffrey Lupul rebound woke Rexall up, as there was much more to come following the goal. Despite trailing 4-2 at the 2nd intermission, the Oilers were ready to make history. Shortly into the 3rd, the Oilers had a power play opportunity, a Jarrett Stoll slap shot that bounced off of Ryan Smyth's leg and in. 4-3. A few seconds later, and a Marc-Andre Bergeron shot tipped Smyth's stick and in. Game tied, 4-4. Shortly after that, Smyth picked up a rebound and threw it at the net, beating Nabokov glove hand, completing the hat trick in 2:01, the natural hat trick, and breaking Wayne Gretzky's record for quickest hat trick, previously at 2:18. An Ales Hemsky breakaway goal sealed the deal for the Oilers, and sent the Sharks packing for BC.

The Sharks, on paper, are a good team. Even good teams will lose 25-30 games in a season, but not many will lose games in this fashion. As a Sharks fan, I am all too familiar with the boys putting in a 40 minute effort, only to let their lead slip and eventually lose the game. Here's to tomorrow being a different game, in a different city, with a different, full game effort on the ice for the boys in teal. If that fails, SJ is one day away.

Go Sharks (don't ever stop going)

Funny, I thought I was in the country of Canada (not funny, I know)

Dass allotta bannerss

Center ice from my seat

Rexall is a pharmacy/drug store chain, this building should be called "The Pill"

10/12 in edmonton WEM

The Mindbender roller coaster

WEM. Three little letters that describe something so much the opposite. Explaining the West Edmonton Mall is not easy to do, as there are as many words to say about it as the mall is large. The only way to describe it, as it seems is that there is nothing else to do in Edmonton, at least outdoors, so they stick it all inside.

A theme park, water park, ice rink, sea lion show, flamingo pen, 28 lane bowling alley, 4 radio stations, multiple arcades, two 18 hole mini golf courses (cause only crappy malls have one mini golf course), a bank, a bingo hall, an endless supply of food courts and stores, and 13 full service, sit down restaurants. A lot to do, a lot to say no less.

Lucky for me, I came on Customer Appreciation Day, where every attraction was free. A quick ride on the 100 express to the mall, and off I went. Played both mini golf courses, the first, a glow in the dark golf course, was not terribly challenging. The course was pretty flat, but had tiny spaces on each hole that required a bit of aim and skill. The second course, an outdoor course, was totally opposite. With hills and curves and embankments, this course, Professor Wem's Golf Adventure, was much tougher, and I had a much tougher time at it.

The amusement park, Galaxyland, was, as the name suggests, space themed. No ride was out of the ordinary, a few gentle rides, a few spinny til you puke rides, and the big daddy, the MindBender, a tall, triple looping roller coaster. I did not get to ride this monster, because my legs were too long, and I wasn't able to fit into the seat, but it looked to be quite a ride.

All in all, the WEM is quite a place. It has absolutely everything that a day of entertainment should have, and you can do all that, assuming you can locate it all. Now for my painful, but obligatory game recap.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

10/10-10/11 Calgary and Edmonton, AB

This post comes in a day late, but still as informative as any other post.

Staying at the Days Inn - Calgary South on Macleod, I was about a mile and a half from downtown, and a block from the LRT station to take me there. After a short ride downtown, I went to the famed Calgary Tower. The tower, which stands some 600 feet above ground, provides a 360 degree view of the city, the mountains, and the Saddledome/Stampede area. The observation deck is 525 feet from the ground, with a restaurant below it, and another bar and grill above. After a couple walks around the viewing area, and a scary walk on the glass floor that extends over a portion of the deck, I went to another popular, slightly less touristy area of downtown Calgary, the Stephen Ave Walk.

8th Ave, or Stephen Ave. as it's called on the stretch downtown, is a pedestrian mall filled with shops and businesses on the outside, and three indoor malls that are connected by elevated walkways, or +15's. One of the malls, TD Square, is unique in that the fourth floor, the top floor of the mall, is a large botanical garden with several open air fountains, a great place to reflect, write, read, or even sleep. As I was there, there was a couple taking a tour of the larger grounds, looking to plan a wedding reception.

Connected to the Stephen Ave. Walk is 3rd St., or the Barclay Mall. Also a pedestrian mall, this several block stretch doesn't have as many shops, and is open to motorists, as a normal street. At the end of Barclay Mall is a few indoor malls in an area called the Eau Claire Parade.

An LRT ride back to my hotel was the last of the nice weather that I saw this day, as the later the day got, the weather got colder, and eventually started raining. A call to Manie's Greek and Pizza, and Game 1 of the ALCS on TV, and that was my evening.

This morning, I left the beautiful city of Calgary for another wonderful city, 180 miles to the north, and quite a few degrees colder. Edmonton has been nice to me so far. My hotel is a block from the ETS train that happens to run right to Rexall Place, the location of tomorrow night's affair between the Sharks and the Oilers. It is also a block from the bus station that will take me to the West Edmonton Mall. More to come tomorrow, have a good night everybody.

Go Sharks.

Monday, October 09, 2006

10/9 sharks 4, CALGARY 1

I've only been here for a few hours, but Calgary has been very informative to me, as I learned a few things tonight at the game: 1) Ricci is ugly, 2) he also sucks, 3) San Jose doesn't belong in the NHL, and 4) people in Calgary have poor beer aim.

Other than a bit of ragging from the quickly quieted Flame crowd tonight, my experience at the Saddledome was a good one. Spoke to many nice people, ushers and fans alike, had a soda, viewed the history that surrounds the concourse, and watched some pretty hard working hockey.

Ask a Shark fan, and the Sharks won tonight. Ask a Flame fan, and Calgary lost it. Either way, the Sharks worked hard in the corners, blocked shots and passes, and kept the Flames from penetrating the zone on the power play many times, and were rewarded for their efforts with the pair of points. Patrick Marleau led the way with three assists, and Vesa Toskala had 29 saves for his second win of the year.

The most encouraging numbers tonight for any fan of the teal were the special teams stats. The Sharks were 2-6 on the PP, while killing off 10 of 11 Calgary man advantages.

On a side note, I met a very nice woman tonight, a 68 year old hockey fan from Philadelphia who is doing a trip similar to mine as it is filled with hockey. However this woman, I think Nancy is her name, is looking to attend NHL games in each of the 30 arenas around the league.

The Sharks, and I, are off until Thursday when they travel to Oil Country to take on Edmonton. See you guys then.

EDIT: Forgot to add the unique celebration they have in the 'Dome. Hanging above the goals, from the rafters, are large white boxes, labeled "Enmax". As I found out throughout the game, Enmax is the local energy company, supplying both propane and electricity to the citizens of Calgary. In honor of that, and the fact that the team is called the Flames, every Calgary goal is celebrated not just with a blast of the horn, but with a rather large fire blast from these boxes, accompanied by several smaller blasts from torches fixed to the bottom of the scoreboard. Unorthodox, but kinda cool, well, warm, nonetheless.

Go Sharks

The 'Dome

Center ice from my seat

The banners (the four in the front are the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL )

Sunday, October 08, 2006

10/7 SHARKS 2, new york islanders 0

Evgeni Nabokov had a shutout, Rick DiPietro had to pull his net back on its pegs during play, the fans did the wave during play. Ok, so only the first one had anything to do with the outcome, but they were all things I did not expect to see tonight. Not to bash Nabokov, as he has already had a great career with the Sharks, but coming into this evening's game, I did not expect a 26 save shutout performance. Nabby was quick, his positioning was spot on, and his glove hand was sharper than it has been for a long time.

After spending a few minutes before the game taking pictures of the Art Ross, Hart Memorial, Rocket Richard, and Hobey Baker trophies, I headed up to my seats for, what is to the best of my knowledge, the first contest I've ever attended seeing the New York Islanders. Coming into the game, it was expected to be another romp for Team Teal, with the Sharks coming off of a win on Thursday, and the Islanders coming from a 6-1 beating in the desert by the Coyotes. After almost 14 minutes of boring, scoreless, neutral zone trap hockey, the Sharks drew first; Matt Carle, picking up a rebound on the power play for his second of the year. Although that proved to be all that was necessary, Christian Ehrhoff picked up another goal for the #1 PP unit to make the game 2-0. Thanks to some great team defense, and a few goal saving saves by Nabokov, and that score would stick.

Well, the first home stand is complete, and it has been a successful one, as the Sharks picked up all 4 points available to them thus far. Monday brings the first road game, and road trip of the year. The Sharks head up to Calgary for a Monday evening tilt with the Flames. After a couple days off, the Sharks play the first game of their first back to back this year, as they will square off against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year, the Edmonton Oilers, and then travel to Vancouver to take on the Canucks on Friday.

With my first road trip looming, I don't know how well my plans to update my blog will work, but rest assured, my summaries will be here, somehow. Until Monday, Go Sharks.


Friday, October 06, 2006

As heard on KFOG

Well, I have officially achieved my dream as a broadcast journalist, albeit as an amateur, and not yet as a play-by-play man. But I was ON THE RADIO. This morning, at 6:15, Greg McQuaid called my cell, set up the call, and then called back on my house phone, starting the interview. Trying my best to be as not nervous as possible, I recapped last night's insane game, showing the crew I know my stuff. As absolutely amazing as it was to be put on the radio (and KFOG, I thank you immensely for the opportunity), they packaged me better than I ever could have dreamed of.

Buffering me with "Hockey Monkey" by the Zambonis, they read my letter, and then went right into the interview. As most people do when they perform, I came out of the call thinking I had done poorly, but hearing it on the radio reassured me that I hadn't done as bad as I thought. Some nice compliments from the crew, followed by the suggestion of a name for me "Sharkscaster Jess Knaster", or Master Hockey Blaster Jess Knaster?". Personally, with the great help I've been given from KFOG, I'd be fine being the Hockey Monkey. The real capper was when I got a caller, who paid me compliments. Dave Morey (the DJ), seizing the opportunity, made sure to thank the caller, whom he named as "Mrs. Knaster". My mother was happy to hear she had made a phone call, especially because she was laying in bed the whole time.

Thanks again to KFOG for airing me this morning, and I hope to be on the air next Friday at the same time.

Go Sharks

To listen to "Hockey Monkey" by the Zambonis, click this link:

"Hockey Monkey" - The Zambonis

Thursday, October 05, 2006

10/5 SHARKS 5, st. louis 4 OT

First of all, happy new Sharks season everyone. Second of all, happy full moon. Tonight's game was exciting, boring, fun, horrible, scary, odd, frustrating, and overall successful. The attributes of a full season of hockey fully covered in just 63 minutes. A deficit (0-1), a tie (1-1), a deficit again (1-2), a tie (2-2), a lead (3-2), a ref gets a puck in the face, a tie (3-3), a broken glass support, a lead (4?-3), wait, no goal, still a tie (3-3), a hole in the boards!?, a real goal and lead this time (4-3), an extra attacker goal with 5 seconds left (4-4), and a Curtis Brown OT rebound to send the fans home happy.

CuBro said during his post game interview tonight when asked if the Sharks can be successful all year, that the season would be full of ups and downs, and hopefully more ups. Tonight's game seemed to chronicle that theory perfectly.

Tonight, the Sharks introduced their new goal song, "Holiday" by Green Day. Not the best goal song (RRP2 we miss you), but also not the worst. Give it a few games, it'll grow on the the Finheads. Tonight gave the Sharks their fourth ever opening night victory, and easily the most exciting opening night game in their 15 opening nights.

Saturday brings the New York Islandahs to town. The Isle come to town after a loss tonight in Phoenix to the Coyotes, look for them to be angry. However, the Sharks no longer have jitters, and were able to succeed on what has historically been their worst game night ever.

Record: 1-0-0 2pts 5 GF 4 GA 1st Pacific
Next game: Saturday October 7th, 2006 7:30 pm PDT NYI @ SJ

Listen for me and my recovering raspy voice on the radio tomorrow at 6:15 on KFOG.

Go Sharks

Sunday, October 01, 2006

9/30 SHARKS 5, calgary 1

First an apology as this recap is a bit late. Don't worry, it won't happen again.

As bad as the Sharks were against the Kings, they were that dominant last night against the Flames. Power play looked strong, with solid puck movement around the perimeter and reckless abandon as far as shots were concerned. The defense was stellar in front of Toskala, who didn't play too shabby himself.

Thank god it's the end of pre-season. With the Sharks finishing the games that don't count on a high note, those rooting for teal town this year can't wait for the games to start counting. Michalek finished the pre-season leading the league in goals, a new flashy young defenseman in Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and two strong goaltenders in Vesa Toskala and Evgeni Nabokov, Sharks players and fans alike are hungry for some success this season. As I write this just days before starting the Odyssey, I'm both excited and proud to say that I will be there for any and all success this season. I hope those of you out there in Webland stick around for awhile, as stuff will undoubtedly become more interesting once the season starts.

As a side note, today the Sharks made a bit of a minor deal, trading Jim Fahey and the rights to Alexander Korolyuk to the New Jersey Devils for Vladimir Malakhov and a conditional 1st round draft pick.

Analysis: Malakhov is all but retired, Korolyuk is probably not ever going to play in the NHL again, and Fahey is a #8/9 defenseman who could quite possibly see no time in New Jersey, so basically this trade boils down to a simple trade: Sharks eat 3.6 mil in cap space (Malakhov doesn't get paid actual money if he doesn't play, it's just a cap number because of his valid contract) for a conditional 1st rounder, and New Jersey probably doesn't have to trade Gomez or Gionta to get under the cap. Useful deal for both clubs.

Next game: 10/5 vs. St. Louis Blues 7:30 pm PDT

4/3 days.
-Hungry Jess