First, A Lesson in Sharks History, Or Why We Boo Brian Campbell:
I noticed a decent number of confused tweets today regarding the issue of Campbell and the bevy of boos being thrown his way. I thought it might be helpful to provide a little explaination into the history of this strange, yet hilarious, habit of ours.
As you all probably already know, Campbell was a Shark for a short time in 2008. He won us over quickly with his spin o rama moves and his Thornton like smile, then left us at a critical moment in an epic game 6 against the Stars in round 2. Here we all are in a 4OT game that if the Sharks win, forces a game 7, making them the first team in 33 years to come back from being down 3-0 in series to tie. If they lose, season's over. And there's Soupy, in the box. You can guess what happens next. Well, actually you don't have to guess because you already know. The Sharks give up a PP goal to Dallas and lose the series. We'd be willing to forgive such transgressions, after all sports are nothing more than a highly choreographed game of chance, but alas, Campbell decides to further toy with our emotions.
He spends much of the off season claiming to like San Jose, but wishing to be closer to his family. For sure he'd stay but, oh, it is so very far away. We respect this, and because we're generally decent folk, we believe it. We have no reason not to. (we like it here, how could he not?! It's a good hockey town. Seriously.) Then he goes and signs with Chicago for a bazillion dollars.
So you mean this was about the money the whole time?!
We gave up Bernier and a first rounder for you, and you go leaving us for fame and fortune?! (ok, maybe just fortune) People are pissed. While we later get Dan Boyle in what is considered to be one of the best moves the Sharks ever made, the fact that we had to put up with half a summer worth Campbell's drama left a lot of lingering bitterness.
The booing started mostly as a way to show our displeasure at his decision to sign elsewhere AFTER stringing Sharks fans along. If he'd just said he wanted more money, no one would have made a big deal out of it. So the first chance we get, we boo him. Campbell takes offense and actually says it hurt him to hear us booing. Oh, sir, now you've done it.You've told the world it bothers you. And the world is one big jerk. Bad idea.
So we kept booing.
More people heard about Campbell disliking the boos, found it funny and joined in. And the word spread, and soon it became Tank wide. Boo Campbell because it's ridiculous and hilarious, not because you actually bear him any ill will. No one is seriously booing the man. It's one giant 17,562 person sarcastic slow clap for that buddy of yours at the bar who just failed miserably at something that doesn't actually matter in the grand scheme of things but it funny to bug him about.
Besides, now that Pronger has moved East, we needed SOMEONE to filled the void. We chose Brian Campbell.
(Don't believe me? We don't boo other former Sharks. Ok MAYBE Teemu, but that's a totally different story. Grier, Rivet, Ehrhoff, Goc, Michalek etc, all get great cheers when they come back. We loved those guys when they were here and we're not going to hate them just because they got traded or signed elsewhere. But don't BS us. That's just wrong.)
(Mina edit: For the record I am pissed that the pick that was used on a rental player was eventually used to draft Tyler Ennis. In my mind, since he and I shared the same last name, I was going to be able to talk my way into the locker room to meet the players when he made the team. But that dream is shattered and I choose to blame Campbell for it. Cause I can.)
Onto the Recap:
Ah game 1. A fickle mistress in any round.
First of all it was just ODD to be downtown around 10:30 and ready for a game. We're just not used to these early starts out here, but we made do.
3 floating fins in the Guadalupe River. Love it. (for those who don't know the Tank sits very close to the river. You have to cross it heading to the Tank from downtown. See the helpful handy map I have included below!) One for each round! A post season tradition.
Personally, I was a tad surprised to see so many people drinking once we got inside. It wasn't even noon yet. Way too early for a brewski. Or in some cases, wine, mixed drinks, and the extraordinarily popular Bloody Mary. (strictly speaking, it wasn't too early for those) I figured by the second people would be into the beer but at like 10:45am? It's just not how I roll. (Mina pointed out that it was 5 o'clock somewhere. This is true but it's still too early for me. Too each their own though)
Rally towels. Hmmm. Sometimes these are good, sometimes their bad. What will Lady Luck make them today?
People showed up early, which means a)they heard about the metal detectors and possibility of slow lines and or b) they were downtown or nearby for breakfast. I can't guess what the folks at every Starbucks and Peet's nearby would say.
I saw Darth Vader. He had a black fin on his helmet. He's much shorter than I thought he'd be.
The first period was good. The Sharks came out strong and had a decent number of scoring chances. The first was also the start of what would be a game long pattern of ZOMG SO CLOSE shots that would some how manage to stay just this side of the goal line.
It was LOUD!
The Sharks scored in the first. First goal of the game. The Tank explodes. zjdkdjaskdjskfjaslfiosfslf
Sadly for those of us in attendance and NOT in Hawks gear, the second started out alright, but after about 10 minutes everything that could disconnect for the Sharks DID and it stayed that way for the rest of the game.
Joe Thornton, sir, might I offer a suggestion? I know that dude just slashed the stick out of your hands, and I get that you want a call, but the puck is going the other way and the whistle is not blowing. Could you maybe not skate over to the bench in such a leisurely manner? Thank you.
What is it with the people behind us hating on Patty? SERIOUSLY. Look at that man's beard. How can you hate on anyone wearing that type of chin covering?
The mood in the building changed after the tying goal in the second by Chicago in the second. Hello people, it's playoff hockey. Those other guys, yeah, they're pretty good. The opposing team will score. It happens. It sucks, but again, it happens.
That weird vibe seemed to permanent throughout the building and settle in for good when the Sharks didn't come out swinging in the third. I honestly expected they would because, well, why wouldn't they?! But whatever wasn't working kept right on not working and the Sharks kept right on JUST missing each other, and the net.
All and all, despite some lackluster play, the Sharks still held their own fairly well. If they turn their game back on, they will be more than the Hawks can handle. Especially if they start playing more physically. Murray had some good hits but so did Byfuglien. If just a few of those rogue pucks had gone IN the net behind Niemi, we'd be discussing a Sharks win. But sometimes pucks just bounce, and not where you want them too.
Both Niemi and Nabby played well and both got stars after the game. Well deserved.
Never have I heard the Tank so quiet after a game and I've been to game where the Sharks were eliminated. It was just eerie after.
As fans spilled out into the sunlight of a warm San Jose afternoon, voices could be heard reminding the disgruntled amongst us that it was just game 1, and they've lost game 1s before. Don't give up, don't give in. Get ready for game 2. The world hasn't ended yet.
Not that you would know from the reaction of the gentlemen next to me when the Hawks scored their second goal. It was scary, honestly. He ripped his hat off, slammed it down on his knew and proceeded to drop a veritable barrage of eff bombs while repeated slamming his hat on his leg. He then threw himself back into his seat and uttered the once sentence I hate more than any other in reference to the Sharks. "Here we go again."
EXCUSE ME, WHAT?!
If he hadn't been so obviously pissed (and so obviously bigger than me), I'd have laid into him. "What do you mean, 'here we go again?!' This is the third round, jackass. ROUND 3. Did you expect this would be easy?! Did you expect to win just because we won game 1 last round?! It takes FOUR GAMES to advance. FOUR. Don't you dare 'Here we go again' them. WTF have you been the rest of the season?! Did they win all 82 games? Did they win the last two series in four straight?! STFU and sit back down. This is going to be a helluva ride and if you can't handle it you best just GTFO right now."
And that's how I feel about that.