Welcome to the defining moment ladies and gentlemen. We've all been around the block. We've all seen what this team is capable of.
But when you hit the road, things change. And when you play back to backs on the road things really change. Instead of a chorus of boos when Koharski misses another flipping tripping call, you get jeers and cheers. Instead of Sharkie handing out lollipops to children you get drunk yokels screaming about your personal life. It's a vicious world out there, one that isn't going to lie down and take your record for granted. Everyone wants a shot at the big dog. Everyone needs something to take into the tail end of the season. This is the road trip that tells us just how good the San Jose Sharks were, are, and will be.
The next eight days are going to be a doozy.
My father sat me down when I was a kid and said to me, "Son, listen. You'll get a lot of opportunities in this world, some that will come and go without you even batting an eyelash. But remember this- you learn a lot from your time spent on this good Earth. Don't ever pass up an opportunity to listen to one of your elders speak- they've been places and have seen things that make them a valuable resource. Take the time to soak up their knowledge. You won't regret it."
Dave Valentine has been a big proponent all season of the Sharks schedule in the month of February. Now I know we don't pay much attention to that old codger (kidding of course), but he's right on the money. This road trip is a brute.
Tomorrow gets kicked off with Columbus, who has played us well all season long. Boston and Pittsburgh follow on back to backs, teams that are tops in the league and fighting for their playoff lives respectively. Craig Rivet's Sabres (show of hands who hasn't emotionally recovered since the last time we met?) are always a formidable match up when Ryan Miller is on, and a date with the Devils on Sunday ends the East Coast romp.
All of these squads are playoff teams, all are looking to snuff the Sharks. We have to ditch the school books/cut out of work early for that ever glorious live feed, fight through four o'clock starts, deal with mothers and significant others who want the TV turned off when "we're at the dinner table". Whenever you hit the road it's a pain in the ass.
But sometimes, all the distractions make it that much better.