Building a new rivalry usually takes time. There’s some kind of major slight involved, or a bunch of smaller slights that add up, or sometimes just a particularly brutal playoff series. For most fans, it takes awhile to definitively say “Yeah, we hate those guys.”
Take Nashville, for example. After the 2015-16 playoff series against them, a good chunk of Sharks fans were dreading their return to San Jose. With the triple overtime game that the Sharks should’ve won, there were some lingering hard feelings.
But with the Sharks out of playoffs and the Predators facing off against the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final this year, plenty of Sharks fans are pushing for Nashville to take out the team that defeated the Sharks last post-season.
Some rivalries are conditional. Most need time to build, something the budding Nashville rivalry didn’t get before playing a team the Sharks fans hate more.
Vegas is going to get a head start with the expansion draft. With the rules of this expansion draft making the Golden Knights more competitive off the bat, the 30 existing teams are being backed into corners to expose valuable players. The Sharks look to be in a position to lose a valuable blueliner, a depth forward, or a backup goalie with an appealing contract.
That leaves a lot of room for us to hate those guys.
Slotting into the Pacific Division also gives the Golden Knights a sort of home ice advantage in earning a Sharks rivalry. Among our current rivalries are the LA Kings, the Anaheim Ducks, and the Vancouver Canucks. Hating the Oilers has always been kind of sad up until now, but after the acquisition of Milan Lucic, this past regular season’s record, and the ‘16-’17 playoff series, they’re also making a strong case for a divisional rival. On the opposite end of that, the rivalries against Dallas and Detroit have died down since getting moved out of the division and conference, respectively. Facing off against each other that frequently gets under your skin.
Here’s the top three ways the Golden Knights can make Sharks fans love or hate them:
Acquire a player we already hate
Just like how acquiring Lucic made everyone like the Oilers infinitely less, getting a guy we don’t like will streamline the process of not liking the Golden Knights. Take your pick of the Los Angeles blueline and it’s almost guaranteed that Sharks fans will already be giving you the side eye.
Take a player we love
No one is going to be happy about Vegas taking one of our guys. But some picks are gonna be easier to deal with than others. Getting over the loss of say, Dylan DeMelo, who hasn’t seen a whole lot of NHL ice time, versus say Chris Tierney or Justin Braun is going to be different. Players like Karlsson and Carpenter are likely going to be up for grabs and seeing them face off against the guys in teal next season won’t be something Sharks fans will take lightly.
Beat us when it counts
Being in the same division means every time these teams see each other is important for the standings. It might not even matter if the Golden Knights make it to playoffs themselves when they can sabotage the Sharks’ chances of making playoffs. Nothing will make a team bitter toward you like taking away an opportunity for those precious two points four or five different times.
Whether we love or hate them, having some fresh blood in the water is going to make the Pacific Division a lot more exciting next season.
Thanks, guys! Looking forward to having some good battles with you.— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) November 23, 2016
We’re looking forward to it, too.
Do you think you’ll love or hate the Vegas Golden Knights?
This poll is closed