Tuesday, December 05, 2006

12/4 DALLAS 1, sharks 0

Despite its common use, the scoreboard told two separate tales last night. The shots read 25-13 in the Sharks favor. If the game was based on that alone, then I could be talking about the Sharks sixth consecutive victory, and a perfect 4-0 road trip through cold weather and hostile buildings. Instead, the goal count read the lowest it could read, 1-0 in the Stars favor.

It's true what they say about Texas, that everything is bigger. Unfortunately for the Sharks, on this night, Marty Turco was one of those things. Just as the Sharks have done a couple of nights before, more shots doesn't always equal more goals, and when you face a goaltender who comes up huge like Turco did, then it doesn't necessarily matter how many shots you take.

Turco made 25 saves for his third career shutout of the Teal and Mike Modano recorded his 495th career goal in a game that saw very little offense, and very little of anything else really. Turco made a few big saves on shots that, had they been taken on a different net minder, or even been taken on a different night, may well have otherwise gone in.

The other giant on this night, and always giant for that matter, is the monster that sits right off the highway in downtown Dallas that goes by the name of the American Airlines Center. The largest building in the history of the universe, American Airlines, outside and in, looks like a high-scale mansion.

Upon entering the AA Center, one might say, as did I, "Where the hell am I? This can't be right." with the faux marble floors, high ceilings, wall-mounted sconces, hidden walkways. But right it was, as the sexily placed AA logos and the occasional Stars or Mavericks (basketball) logo reassured me that I was in the right place.

The concourses are pretty narrow, and they look more like hallways in a trendy hotel than they do walkways to a sporting arena. Decorated fancily, it is quite easy to get lost in this monstrous building.

The concessions are pretty basic. Downstairs has vastly larger options than upstairs, as Pizza Hut and Subway are the resident chain concession stands.

The seating area is quite large, as the AA Center holds 20,000, when everybody decides to show up (no more than 12 or 13,000 on this night). However, as high as the seats go, the rafters and ceiling go much higher, making the building look that much more massive from the outside. The lower level is obviously tailored for basketball, as the corners are rotated rectangularly, rather than the bend or curves found in most other arenas.

On this night, as I hope there will be for other Sharks/Stars contests, there was plenty of teal in the stands, cheering for the Teal on the ice. One of these was a friend of the blog, Josh, a reader and former Bay Area resident still cheering for the Sharks out of the Dallas area. Even though they are young, his kids are already becoming fans of the Fin. Josh is in charge of the North Texas-based Sharks fan club, aptly named DFW Sharks. Visit the MySpace for DFW Sharks at www.myspace.com/dfwsharks

The Sharks return home for a 3-game stand that begins Thursday when the Colorado Avalanche roll into town for a 7:30 contest. Nashville comes in on Saturday, and the Phoenix Coyotes stroll in on Monday, the first night of a back-to-back that sees the Sharks in L.A. on Tuesday, ending a stretch of 4 games in 6 days.

Go Sharks (go see a hockey game at the reasonably-sized Shark Tank)

The Sharks skate out of a Shark, the Stars skate out of a ____ (what do you think?)


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