Sharks Gameday: Ch-ch-ch-changes



7:30 PST
25-26-7, 57 points 32-21-6, 70 points
14th in Western Conference
5th in Western Conference

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Mile High Hockey
The Denver Post

Injury/Roster Move Update: Ian White will dress for the Sharks tonight against Colorado. Marc-Edouard Vlasic will not dress tonight due to an upper body injury. Jason Demers has been recalled to San Jose from Stockton of the ECHL. Justin Braun has been recalled from Worcester of the AHL. Matt Irwin and Benn Ferriero have been sent down to Worcester of the AHL.

I'm not going to pretend that I have a vested interest in the fortunes of the San Jose Sharks. Still, there's something about writing this gameday that comes with a sense of accomplishment. It's silly and perhaps a bit stupid, but I honestly feel as if something has changed.

As Fear the Fin has evolved into more of a professional outlet, both Plank and I have had to step back from being the prototypical fans we once were. We've traded our jerseys in for suits and ties, silenced our cheers for quiet admiration and analysis, and poured out our draft beers in favor of some earl grey tea. Well, maybe not that far, but you get the idea.

It's a change that we've welcomed with open arms, but also one that comes with a price. You'd be surprised how often we have to contain our excitement when Couture wrists one from the circles; at the beginning, we looked like we were constantly fighting off uncontrollable spasms of fist pumping and high fiving. Plank and I are still as diehard as they get... we've just had to tone it down a little bit when we find ourselves in certain settings.

Yesterday, though, gave me an opportunity to be a pure, uncensored fan. If you are someone who has been reading this blog for any part of the last two years, you're familiar with the common consensus of "OMFG GET A DEFENSEMAN ALREADY." It's a topic that's consumed the site almost since it's inception, and I'll admit that it had been getting a bit stale. I assume that we talked about almost every defenseman on every team at least once, be it formally or in casual conversation. We've devoted thousands upon thousands of words to something that felt like it would never come to fruition.

On February 18th, it happened. And I was excited. I was more excited than I had been in a long time about Sharks hockey. That's not to say that the last few months have been boring, not at all. There was just something so, amazing about what had happened. At lunch, checking Twitter, I literally spit out my water and yelled. Round of Bloody Mary's for everyone, it's a party now.

Is Ian White a savior? Probably not. He's a good defenseman that will fit in well with the current mix of players on the roster, and help to compete for a playoff spot. He may end up being more, he may end up being less. But none of that really matters. He's the answer to the question we've been asking for what seems like an eternity. Relief is really the best way to describe the current state of mind.

There are other moves that will happen over the next few days, but for now, Ian White is a Shark. And for that I am thankful. I have to say that I didn't expect White to be the guy, but I couldn't be happier with the move. Might just be because we've been waiting for so long. Doesn't matter.

Tonight's game is an exciting one, and I consider myself lucky and privileged to be able to attend. We'll get to see first hand what White will bring to this team, find out if our speculation and purposed knowledge of what it would take to push this team over the hump was right.

I don't know if Vlasic will be back tonight, but it appears as if Demers will be. I would love to see how the roster shakes out completely, but right now I'll just thank my lucky stars that something actually happened.

The Sharks won't be the only team on the ice who just went through some changes, though. The Avalanche, fresh off a spirited playoff round against San Jose last postseason, Colorado has plummeted into near last-place in the Western Conference. Feeling their roster wasn't sufficient, they made a major overhaul, trading playoff hero goaltender Craig Anderson for Brian Elliot of the Ottawa Senators before completing a blockbuster late Friday night. The second deal will send the young and talented duo of forward Chris Stewart and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk for 2006 first overall pick Eric Johnson and Jay McClement. It's an interesting deal for both Colorado and St. Louis; you don't see so many young and talented players moved in one year, let alone in the same package.

The moves by the Sharks and Avalanche were performed for completely different reasons: the Sharks supplemented their already talented core to make a run at the prize which has eluded them for so long, while the Avalanche built for the future. I, for one, am glad to be following a team with San Jose's problems. Even if the GM makes me scratch my head sometimes, you can't fault him for much.

In fact, I might sneak in some applause for him tonight.

Prediction: Sharks win 4-1. Goals by Petrecki, Wingels, Demers and Antero Niittymaki.