Ah, the preseason. The nights are balmy, the weather is clear, the calendar claims it's fall, even if the forecast disagrees, and hockey is once again near.
I figured, despite it being a game against the Ducks, that this game wouldn't get that big of a draw. I was wrong. 15,500ish came downtown for a preseason game on a lovely, warm, Friday night. I know some of you are scoffing at the number, but considering capacity is 17,562, that's a damn good draw for a game that doesn't mean a thing. That's a helluva testament to the popularity of Sharks hockey in this area. It was as loud and rowdy as you'd expect a regular season game between the Sharks and Ducks to be.
Let me tell you, the people of San Jose are happy to have their hockey back.
Now the one problem with preseason games is that they tend to bring out the nubs, so there's more leaning, more loudly not understanding the game and more general surprise at it being cold in a building housing a large sheet of ice. I'm all for new fans getting into the game, I was a new fan myself once, but the people behind us needed a guide book. I'm pretty sure one of their two daughters had a basic grasp of the game, at least enough to have a raging crush on Seto, (who they kept referring to as "the cute Asian one". It became rather clear they didn't really know his name, or the names of anyone on the team for that matter), but mom and dad had NOOO idea what was going on. It was at once amusing and disheartening, but hopefully they'll continue to come back and learn more.
It felt sooo good to be back watching the Sharks. I can't even describe it. It felt a lot like a continuation of last season. There was just something in the air. It was exciting. It was apparently also violent because there were 5 fights in like 2 minutes, which was GREAT, aside from the fact that I really had to use the bathroom and all those fights significantly extended the length of the period. Not good.
My favorite fight of the night was Jamie McGinn smashing Vorros's face in. I was like YUS! GET HIM JAMIE! RAWR!!!
This is when I realized I'm a violent lass. SMASH HIS FACE IN!
I loved all the fights last night. They really got the crowd going. The team too, as after pretty much everyone had had a go with everyone else, the Sharks were able to rally back from being down two to eventually tie the game at 4 a piece. The people behind us were confused by the fights, but I think it was a nice way to send the message that the days of being able to push the Sharks around are truly over. We can, and will, kick your feathered ass.
Corey Perry is a goal scoring douche. I had a conversation with him at one point while he was in the box, but I had to cut it short as I felt my words might not be the best for mixed company. The people in front of us lol'd. We'll be here all season, folks!
Don't remember who "Maven" (Mayers) fought, but I'm pretty sure it was Leach or Nichol who chose someone twice their size to rumble with at some point. That wasn't so much a win, but the Sharks did a pretty good job of coming out on top, at least as far as the fights were concerned.
I didn't see much worth worrying about in terms of playing. There was some sloppy passes, lazy stick work and, at times, an utter lack of communication, but nothing that couldn't be explained by normal preseason rust.
Patty looked FAST. He also was sporting an A.
So was Heatley.
I wouldn't drawn any conclusions from that, but I'm sure some folks will.
Don't remember who rumbled with "El Chupacabra", (Kyle Chipchura) but someone did.
Nichol and an unnamed Duck landed themselves game misconducts and were gone for the night before the 1st was done.
I kept wanting to yell at Hiller to put the force field DOWN, but it was actually "Not Craig" (McElhinney) in net for the first half of the game. (he's Not Craig because I couldn't remember his name, only that it started with a C and was "not Craig") The Sharks had a lot of really good chances and amazing near misses, but that damn force field was up and shots were just not going in.
The Ducks then allowed Pielmeier to take the reigns in net, I think largely to remind us that was gave him up for Moen and Huskins, and oh, by the way, he's really good.
Kent Huskins will take a cross checking penalty for you. That's the kind of guy he is.
During the anthem, Patty attended a dance, Mike Moore became the new Tom Preissing, and JoePa stood heroically at center ice. He looked like a superhero, half silhouetted against the ice.
The Sharks rallied late and nearly tied it, but ended up fallin 5-4 to the Ducks, who suffered more than just a few bumps and bruises in return for a preseason win. Despite the score it was a great game, very entertaining and fun to watch, with a nice tempo to it. It's a damn shame these two teams aren't playing each other opening night again.