Petshark: Talking Stick
You know how those stories about Greek gods always involve or imply the torment and suffering of mortals? That’s what being a fan is like sometimes. Even though the players are doing the hard work, the bleeding and breaking and rushing about, we spectators watch and hope our fragile little village will be spared by the storm. So it has to be a good thing to have a guy named Zus on the team. No way your church tower gets blown over by the western wind storm of the century, not with Zus on your side.
I heard a lot about those perilous high winds, but they never came to my neighborhood. If I really thought this was connected to my NHL team allegiance, I would have to build a shrine or something. Surely it isn’t just Michal Handzus making things happen or not happen. Surely he must have some help.
Oh what a difference a week can make. A diligent fan should follow her team wherever they go, even off the rails. So here I go.
A week ago tomorrow, I was at The Tank watching the Sharks tear a win from the Blackhawks, a win as indisputable as any rope pulling contest between my two Labs. But they did win. Since then, they lost two, Marleau moved back to the top line where it is rumored he will never score again. Dan Boyle’s age has come up, and by association, Douglas Murray has aged half a dozen years in three days, revealing that he is, in fact, the portrait of Dan Boyle, doomed to age in his partner’s place. Boyle feels badly about that so his mojo is off, but he still doesn’t want to share the puck or the PIMs. With anyone.
On the flip side of that we have Mitchell, who was told by a woman in white that his hair and teeth will fall out if he shoots the puck, so he passes it whenever possible. Havlat has a horror of the number three ever since seeing Seven, so being moved to the third line rendered him pale to the point of invisibility. Niemi has contracted sloth syndrome (not the sinful mess kind, the cute but slow-moving furry tree-hugging kind).
To go to sleep angry is something you shouldn’t do. So I was glad that CSN showed the new Shark Byte right after that appalling game in LA. It was chock full of fun and cute things and happy cheerful banter. Something other than what was probably going on in the Sharks dressing room and on the plane home tonight. I hope, but that’s because I’m still a little mad. Maybe I should watch it again. The Shark Byte, not the game. That wallaroo was adorable.
I thought the Sharks would give a few strong performances here, since they were facing teams they should take seriously. The Canucks game was depressing but McLellan said it was a good effort. He’s the expert, so I’ll just believe him. But this game in LA was painful to watch. The team could not have been more disjointed if they had itching powder in their gloves and helmets. They were so very much out of sync, it was hard to tell who wasn’t making hasty wrong decisions and bizarre choices.
Well that was demoralizing. I’ll just open another beer and try not to think too hard about the Canucks winning twice in a row, in my sight, this time against the Sharks. Booooo.
In less than a minute, the Canucks @ Sharks game went from wonderfully tied with a goal from the Sharks’ 4th line to a stifling 2 goal lead for the Canucks. In such cases, a fan should close her eyes and think of… somewhere else.
I started the night with my ear to a horse’s stomach, listening for sounds. I could hear sounds, I didn’t need a stethoscope. There were lots of gurgles and bubbling sounds in there. Stethoscopes don’t help. I can hear all the good sounds with my bare ear, stethoscopes amplify extra noise that is hardly ever what I need to hear.
Wednesday, I went with a friend to watch the Sharks beat the Blackhawks. I imagine a loss must be in the cards for me one day this season, but so far so good. My friend (who had not been to a game for a very long time) commented that I did not have enough fan gear on. I did not understand how he could miss the loud teal eyeshadow, teal shirt and Sharks scarf, but I guess he expected a fan to wear a jersey. He had good reason: a whole lot of people wear jerseys to games. Our colors are how we know each other, they create an inflated sense of kinship that, for the evening, goes well beyond a common rooting interest. To me, it feels like religion. This isn’t a novel concept, I know, but it’s a new feeling for me, since I’m not religious.
Before leaving Vancouver, I wanted to go to a Canucks game. But when Sunday night came, I almost had to blindfold and sedate myself to get out of the hotel. I was reluctant to leave my laptop, my only sure connection to the imminent Sharks game. Kicking and screaming on the inside and reminding myself I could watch the Sharks game when I got home, I dragged myself down the street until I fell in with a bunch of Canucks fans.
It took me a lot longer than I expected to get back online after the trip to Vancouver. The access was there (even at the Vancouver airport, so very nice of them!), but I couldn’t think clearly at all. I was distracted by things like what it means that I’m watching a hockey game on my phone in an airport waiting room while a young man in hiking boots across from me is knitting. Am I sexist for noticing that? Was that legitimately unusual or am I an old fuddy-duddy? In any case, the whole moving from place to place left me disoriented and I’m still a little fuzzy.
The Sharks have announced their Black Friday sale. That would be coming up on Black Friday, which is Friday. Everything except jerseys will be marked down 30%, and jersey customization will be available on site for $65.
I don’t know exactly what a red card is but I suspect it has to do with misbehaving in a soccer game. So I think it’s kind of ironic that I watched the Sharks @ Stars game at a sports bar called Red Card. I usually lean toward older, danker places where the wood (there’s got to be lots of wood) was steeped for years in cigar smoke and the leather upholstery is a bit alive with the scent of many bodies.
Red Card isn’t like that. It’s got shiny metal highlights and a lit bar that changes colors. It also has exposed brick walls and black and red leather upholstery. You know it’s a pub, even if the chairs and bar stools are of a distinctly modern design. It also has a bunch of satellite feeds so it gets pretty much any sports event you need to see.
I order soup and beer and watch the Sharks game begin.
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Tags: antti+niemi, brad+winchester, brent+burns, jamie+mcginn, jason+demers, jim+vandermeer, red+card, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan, travel
I was surprised by how difficult it was to find a place to watch Sharks or Flyers games the first day I was here. I spoke to bartenders, hostesses, a hotel concierge and one bar-restaurant manager, and none could answer me the simple question: where can I watch a Sharks/Flyers game?
Answers I received:
-“We might show that if it’s on CBC and nothing else is on. But I can’t promise anything.”
-“Right upstairs”, to which upstairs responded “what channel is it on? Oh, no, we only show Canadian teams.” To which downstairs retorted “I used to work upstairs, I know they have a lot more hockey channels than we do down here.”
I did not go back upstairs to pursue this matter.
Filed in: hockey, , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
Tags: andrew+desjardins, andrew+murray, antti+niemi, brad+winchester, colin+white, jason+demers, marc-edouard+vlasic, todd+mclellan, travel
Sharks fans thought we had it bad when the Sharks embarrassed themselves and us by losing 3-0 to the Coyotes. That was bad, but it could have been worse. Coyotes do stuff like that all the time, sneak up on you and steal your chickens (or your cats, or your toy dogs) when you’re not looking. Imagine being a Wings fan and watching the Blues… oh. Right, done that too. Some Wings fans are pretty mad about that. Like, really pissed off. I wonder if Mr. Babcock is also pissed off.
Ok, well, what about Stars fans, however many there are? They have to be pretty angry about a 6-0 loss to the Panthers. Sure, the Panthers are on a streak of road wins but still, it’s the Panthers, and Dallas has forgotten they were doing amazingly well. They’ve started dropping games like pennies in a wishing well. So it could be worse.
I did harp on how important the third period would be in last night’s Coyotes @ Sharks game. I’d like to start with how obvious it was that the Sharks took the third period very seriously, worked hard and had their heads in the game, even if the first and the second periods slipped through the cracks.
I’d like to, but I have to settle for giving the team the benefit of the doubt and supposing they were trying really hard to get their act together, in some subtle way I just couldn’t see. They were more frantic but no more effective. After all, Thornton was bleeding from his face. He must have been trying to do something.
The Sharks again outshot their opponent, in the second 2 periods by 11-5 and 13-7. So they were doing something.
About Petshark: Talking Stick
Native of Northern California. Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.
I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle. I watch, I react, I write it down.
My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked. I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind. When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom. It hasn't, I don't think it will. At all.
Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.
I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.
I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org