Half the league (editor’s note: 46.67 percent, technically) goes through this every year: your team didn't make playoffs. Now what?
Have no fear (of the Fin), friends. The San Jose Sharks might be your solution. If you're a fan of any of the fourteen eliminated teams, I've got a reason why you should jump to Team Teal for the post-season. Find your team below and get your playoff beard going.
We gave you Matt Nieto for free and as a Long Beach Native, Nieto wants you to support the San Jose Sharks. If you're somehow unaware of his history with the Sharks, he's responsible for what is easily our best Christmas video:
If the brilliant lyrics of one Nieto don't make you at least a little bit soft for his former team, I'm not sure what will.
If you can ignore this season's record and also that we stuck you with Nikolay Goldobin, who is probably not going to be a great fit for your system anytime soon, why not bandwagon the Sharks? We're in your timezone, which means you won't have to work around your daytime schedule for our games. We have Jannik Hansen and y'all still like him, right? The Czech Your Danes line has been fun to watch and childhood buddies Mikkel Boedker and Hansen have been adorable together.
And hey, don’t you want our first round draft pick this year? Sharks gotta go all the way.
We have former Arizona Coyotes, Boedker and David Schlemko and you probably want good things for them. Y'all always go hard against us in the regular season, so it might be a little weird rooting for a team that you have a decent record of winning against. Still, hasn't this season made you tired? Does it really matter either way if you bandwagon the Sharks? Just enjoy yourselves finally.
New Jersey Devils
Stop me if you've heard this story before. Pete DeBoer saves your team, takes you all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, and nothing good happens after that.
On one hand, you feel sorry for us. You know that a first round exit is all too likely and certainly all too familiar. On the other, maybe you want the Sharks to succeed. Why not? It's easier if the Sharks stay good under DeBoer because then you don't have to justify why you kept him for two and a half garbage seasons.
Detroit Red Wings
This is gonna be hard for older Red Wings fans, because committing to bandwagoning the Sharks means committing to seeing Jamie Baker's face. And after this 1994 upset, it's understandable if older Wings fans have a hard time coming around:
But hey, the Wings are no longer conference rivals and that takes a lot of pressure off. If you can get over the Sharks beating the truly great 2011 Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinal, then the Sharks are still a viable bandwagon option. Y'all like old guys, yeah? We've got plenty of old guys! Part of you wants to see Joe Thornton finally raise the Stanley Cup on that basis alone.
If you're missing the bearded Benn, the combination of facial hair on Brent Burns and Thornton should tug on your heartstrings. Dubbing them “lifestyle beards,” these bad boys aren't going anywhere anytime soon and playoffs are guaranteed to increase their fullness. Jamie Benn's sadness beard is just a cheap imitation.
Even though he's been a Shark for two and a half seasons, maybe there's still a chance that you want to see Brenden Dillon happy. Or maybe you don't, but you're grateful we took him off your hands for an obvious upgrade in Jason Demers. Sure, there's a history of a rivalry of some sort, but don't we think that's fizzled out by now? To top it off, the Allen Americans, our ECHL affiliate, reside in your neck of the woods. You can support the Sharks from top to bottom and hardly even leave your backyard.
Let's just be honest: signing Demers was the best thing y'all did in the offseason. Doug Wilson ultimately made that possible by sending him to Dallas, who would then be unable to pay him what he’s worth.
@Logancouture in English please my couture is a lil rusty— jason demers (@jasondemers5) January 24, 2016
Jason Demers still loves Logan Couture and you should, too.
Sharks fans have plenty of reasons to not like the Sabres. We can never seem to win against y'all and this season, we're left hoping that we've maybe seen the end of the curse of the Sabres.
So do you hate us after that? Doubtful. We split the regular season match up and losing one game against us isn't what killed your season.
Something about the difference in these teams' styles tends to favor Buffalo. We're probably not going to be the kind of hockey you're used to, but change can be fun! Your regular season record against us will keep you from getting too attached, and our eventual playoff exit won't break your heart.
Los Angeles Kings
There's no way we can get a Kings fan to bandwagon the Sharks, right? There's the whole rivalry thing and how we snaked Martin Jones out from under you with a little help from Boston. No love lost here. I'm sure you're ready for a first round match up against the Sharks with a roster that includes Former Kings Goon Milan Lucic.
Remember how that worked out for you last year? Jump ship now. We'll understand.
Half of our radio broadcast team should look familiar to you. Bret Hedican and Dan Rusanowsky are the voices of Sharks Radio.
Hedican should have an interesting perspective on the first round, given that he was part of the 2006 Canes team that beat Edmonton in the Stanley Cup Final.
The real question here is not “Should I bandwagon the Sharks?” but rather, “Do I hate the Sharks more than I hate the Oilers?” Team Anyone-Who-Can-Beat-Edmonton is always accepting new fans. We'll get tee shirts made.
Do you hate Pittsburgh? We also hate Pittsburgh! Do you hate the LA Kings? We hate the LA Kings! Do you have sick jerseys? We have sick jerseys! Did we just become best friends? Yep. Do you wanna do karate in the garage? YEP.
New York Islanders
Stay ahead of the curve and get to know John Tavares' future home before he officially dips out of New York. The Couture-Tavares narrative might not be as good as Marleau-Thornton, but their juniors history is still pretty entertaining.
Sorry, y'all. He'll look good in teal.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Sharks have been nothing but good to you in the past. The domino effect of us picking up Dan Boyle from you resulted in your eventual acquisition of Andrei Vasilevskiy and that turned out pretty well, don't you think? And since Burns is going to beat out Hedman for the Norris, you might as well enjoy his hockey for awhile.
When Jonathan Drouin left the Halifax Mooseheads in 2014, Timo Meier slotted into the top line in his place. If you can't see Drouin light up playoffs this year, seeing Meier might feel just as good.
That's all, folks! Let's paint the town teal and #WreckTheRig, starting Wednesday at 7pm EST in Edmonton.