If last night's game between San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings was any indication, the series may be longer than most expect. Whatever the outcome, it's much more interesting to watch the games when we know the opponent better. To do that, I spent some time researching their players and compiled a list of curious facts about each player that appeared in the game yesterday. Here they are for your consideration as we try to kill the time before Game 2.
Jonathan Bernier, G - one of the star prospects in Canada, Bernier won the gold medal at 2008 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship. He played two games at the tournament while being a backup of Steve Mason, who is now the starter for Columbus Blue Jackets. Drew Doughty and Wayne Simmonds were his teammates on that team.
Dustin Brown, C - drafted 13th overall in 2003. The Sharks drafted Milan Michalek ahead of him. His career NHL career didn't fully take off until Anze Kopitar arrived in 2006. Brown is the youngest captain in the Kings history.
Kyle Clifford, LW - a new fan favorite in LA, the rookie was not expected to make the team this year. His willingness to drop the gloves and work hard in the dirty areas of the ice changed the mind of the coaches, and he remained with the team.
Drew Doughty, D - was the 2nd youngest Norris trophy nominee in NHL's history when he was nominated last year at the age of 20 (second only to Bobby Orr). Doughty was also the youngest player to represent Canada at the Olympics where NHL players participated.
Matt Greene, D - in 2004/5 Green was the captain of University of Dakota Fighting Sioux and lead them to the final of the NCAA tournament, where they lost to University of Denver Pioneers, led by Matt Carle.
Michal Handzus, C - born in what is now Slovakia. In 2002 he became just the second NHL player to ever score on a penalty shot in overtime.
Jack Johnson, D - his real name is John Joseph Louis Johnson III. If I was Randy Hanh, I'd start referring to him by that name each time he touches the puck.
Trevor Lewis, C - drafted 17th overall by the Kings in 2006, one spot behind Ty Wishart, who would later be traded to Tampa Bay in Dan Boyle trade. Wishart is now with Islanders, and played 20 games for them this season.
Alec Martinez, D - can't verify it on the internets, but as mentioned on yesterday's CSN broadcast, played for Junior Sharks growing up, when his family lived in Danville.
Willie Mitchell, D - what have we not written about him last summer? Oh.. He was married in Napa Valley in 2006 to his American wife.
Dustin Penner, LW - part of "the Kid line" for the Stanley Cup winning Anaheim Ducks, where he played with Ryan Getzlaf and Correy Perry. Haven't really lived up to the hype of those days.
Alexei Ponikarovsky, LW - started his career playing for Dinamo Moscow - same club as Evgeni Nabokov, although after Nabby moved to North America. A rare Ukrainian hockey player.
Jonathan Quick, G - played for University of Massachusets and led them to their first ever appearance in the NCAA championship game.
Brad Richardson, C - 5th round draft selection in 2003 by Colorado Avalanche. Sharks waited two rounds and selected Joe Pavelski in the 7th.
Rob Scuderi, D - played all of four years of college for Boston College. Stanley Cup champion with Pittsburgh Penguins.
Wayne Simmonds, RW - his dad's name is Cyrol and his mom is Wanda. Led the Kings in +/- in 2009/10 regular season.
Ryane Smyth, LW - as a young player for Edmonton Oilers, broke two of Gretzky's team records by scoring 20 PP goals in just his second season in the league, and scoring the fastest hat trick in Oilers history in 2:01.
Jarett Stoll, C - was drafted twice - in 2000 by Calgary Flames and in 2002 by Edmonton Oilers.
Kevin Westgarth, LW - played for Princeton during his college days, where he established his reputation as a bruiser.
Justin Williams, RW - the villain in the Unbreakable movie, only had two seasons in his 12-year NHL career when he played all of 82 games.