What is quickly becoming one of the NHL’s premiere rivalries will be on display tonight for all to see, as the San Jose Sharks play the Vegas Golden Knights for the first of four times in the next three weeks. The first two of those contests are preseason games, so it may take until the season opening home-and-home series for the bad blood to boil over, but considering how fluidly the Evander Kane - Ryan Reaves feud bled into the off-season, it may not take long for these two clubs to reacquaint.
With what happened the last time these two teams played each other (it was pretty important, as far as sports go) in mind, the Knights could have some traumatic memories of our lovely SAP Center. They’ll have to push those aside and focus on easing their prospects into what will probably be a less than welcoming building.
The Sharks’ roster is slowly starting to take shape as we approach opening night, and after cutting two players from development camp on Thursday, we should expect to see another pass-through either tomorrow or Monday. It follows, then, that tonight’s tilt could be the last chance for some of these kids to impress the Sharks’ brass before next September.
One name that is still conspicuously missing from the roster is Radim Simek’s. Simek has not played since undergoing surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his right knee back in March, and may not be ready to start the season in Vegas on October 2. If that is the case, it could open the door for Tim Heed to sneak onto the third pair with newcomer Dalton Prout. Not tonight, though, since Heed doesn’t appear on the evening’s roster, but it’s something to monitor over the course of the next few weeks.
Players whose roster spots are the least secure are usually the most interesting to see in the preseason, and with that in mind, Antti Suomela is a player to watch. Both head coach Peter DeBoer and Suomela himself have made recent statements about the 25-year-old Finn’s consistency, and he should be excited to showcase some grind tonight in hopes of impressing Papa Pete and drawing into the Sharks’ regular season line up.
Who the Golden Knights are bringing to San Jose. Should be an interesting game. pic.twitter.com/B83Xpo4uQl— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) September 21, 2019
The name that jumps off of the page here is Cody Glass. The former sixth overall pick has obliterated the poor WHL in service of the glory of the Portland Winterhawks, to the tune of 69 points in 38 games in 2018-19 (and 102 (!) in 64 in 2017-18). How much of Glass’ success is due to the keen snap shot of frequent Hawks linemate Joachim Blichfeld and how much of Blichfeld’s is due to the vision and play-making ability of Glass is debatable, but the Vegas prospect is a true talent, and a threat to make the Knights’ roster. The Knights are deep at center, so watch for Glass to take some shifts on the wing tonight to see if that position fits him for the coming season.
Where to watch
Barring technical difficulties, NBC Sports California subscribers should be able to stream the game through the Sharks’ NBCSCA website, as promised by the powers that be themselves. If you’re not in the Bay Area proper, and happen to be in Las Vegas, KNTV will be broadcasting the game there. If you just can’t bear to watch, though, audio will stream through the Sharks +SAP Center app and at sjsharks.com.