Praise be to Jebus, the NHL regular season is upon us. And based on all of the fan feedback I've seen, San Jose Sharks fans may be waving the teal middle finger at Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr but they're still acting like the Nintendo 64 kid about seeing their home team.
But before we return to the ice for an abbreviated regular season, let's all bow our heads and remember the lessons of the Great Lockout Of 2012 (and a few days of 2013). Dr. Phil always talks about how horrible events can be teaching moments, and the lockout has proven so. Yes, let's review just what important lessons we've learned -- just so you can steel yourself for the next lockout in eight years or so.
The Cow Palace Still Exists
Way, way, way back when -- back in the days of Jeff Hackett in net and Drew Remenda on the bench -- the Sharks played at the old Cow Palace in Daly City. Since the Sharks moved into their proper home, there's been the occasional concert and the Exotic Erotic Ball (which moved to Richmond a few years back; that's pretty bad when the annual Halloween kinky expo ditches your venue for one of the most crime-plagued cities in the US). With the San Francisco Bulls now playing in the ECHL, the old barn is finally getting some regular events there outside of gun shows (free for children under 12!) and stunt bikes.
Dan Boyle, Voice Of Reason
Not only is Dan Boyle a workhorse defenseman and all-around handsome fellow, he's incredibly honest in a culture of guarded generic answers. During the lockout, Boyle's frustrations often seemed like a bit of sanity in a swirling toilet of stupidity, and he was realistic enough to note that simple comparisons don't often work in those types of situations. (He also noted that his salary pales compared to Tom Cruise's, but Boyle's not bat shit crazy, so I think #22 wins there.)
However, towards the end of the lockout, Boyle had this lovely quote about one of the final sticking points:
"They (the owners) are saying five or six years, right? Maybe we're not OK with five, but maybe there is a number we can live with. Maybe it's seven. I don't know."
Seven isn't just the name of George Costanza's unborn child, it's also the final number the NHL and NHLPA settled on. Folks, if we could all just shut the hell up and listen to Dan Boyle, the world would be a much better place.
Jeremy Roenick Shows Up Uninvited
Lesson #1: Never cross Jeremy Roenick because the dude holds grudges forever, then writes books about it.
Lesson #2: Never give Jeremy Roenick your home address because he'll come to your doorstep to ramble about what a terrible person you are.
Five years from now, if Patrick Marleau's house gets toilet papered, there's a good chance JR might be lingering behind a bush around the corner. And then he'll write a chapter in his book called "The Top 3 Former Teammates I Totally TP'd."
About That Rick Nash Possibility
Before Rick Nash got traded to the New York Rangers, the Sharks were rumored to be at the top of his Christmas list -- and for good reason too, since the possibility of Nash's chemistry with Joe Thornton already had a successful test run with HC Davos back in 2004. During the lockout, both Nash and Thornton headed back to yee old Davos, and while Nash left in early December due to an injury, the results themselves were mixed. In 17 games for Davos, Nash had 12 goals and Thornton assisted on six of them. However, three of those six assists came in an early hat-trick blitz for Nash, which means that the Sharks captain only assisted on three more Nash goals in 16 games.
For comparison, during Jonathan Cheechoo's 56-goal campaign, 49 of those came after Thornton landed in san Jose; of those 49 goals, 38 came off of Thornton's stick.
You're Not Changing Seats
The numbers have been pretty solid for season ticket retention rates around the NHL despite the lockout. For the Sharks, only around 100 people have dropped -- which isn't that significant since you see a small amount of turnover each season regardless (or "irregardless" as Todd McLellan likes to say). Following the 2004-05 lockout, I moved my season tickets from section 228 to 205 where my friend sits, and during the seat selection event, there were many options available. From a business perspective, that's the difference between a full season and 34 games of stupidity.
The Sharks Penalty Kill Was Still Awful
From October 2012 to January 2013, the Sharks managed to kill zero penalties. Glad to see some things never change.