Sharks Gameday: Everything In Its Right Place
|9-5-3, 21 points||9-7-0, 18 points |
|6th in Western Conference ||12th in Western Conference |
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There's a special place in my cold and callous heart for the Dallas Stars. Avid readers know the story by now, and for the sake of avoiding sounding like a relative who has had three too many glasses of Charles Shaw at the Thanksgiving table, I'll keep it short and sweet-- they're the bane of my existence.
Thanksgiving is the great American pastime. Astonishing amounts of high-fat high-calorie high-cholesterol food shot into the gullet with three sides of carbs, washed down with about a bucket of wine and a coffee or two for the precarious drive home. You've got your football, oversized troglodytes bashing each others brains in for five minutes during the course of sixty minutes of clock time, and your extended family, the people that you forget about during the year except when you have to get together to celebrate the fact you share a last name. It's a chore, but one you put up with because every once in awhile you get a moment together that makes you realize what life is all about.
Meeting up with Dallas is kind of like Thanksgiving. It's a train wreck. You want nothing to do with each other for the majority of the year but you get together anyways because that's just what you do. And great moments are born because of it. When we watched Marty Turco give up a weak goal in the dying seconds of the third period it was like watching your grandmother wrestle away the carving knife from your uncle as he tried to cut the bird after sucking down Coors Light's since 10 AM. It's significant because it's brutally honest, a time in your life where things all come together. Seeing Brenden Morrow hit the ice for a great shift is like witnessing one of your aunt's terrible puns-- it makes you shake your head in feigned disgust, but goddammit, you have to respect the effort. And you admire that.
Make no mistake, there's a mutual admiration here between both these teams. Not because they like each other, but because each game between them has that edge which breeds begrudging respect. That zip, that heart, that soul, that intangible feeling you get when Ryane Clowe meets Steve Ott at center ice. Although they just passed each other by this time, the promise of fireworks later in the tilt is there. You can feel it in your bones.
I don't think there is anything more beautiful than the Sharks and Stars uniforms colliding like comets above a sheet of serene white ice.
And I think we tend to forget that. Being a Sharks fan means being on edge twenty four hours a day, breaking down each component of the team and seeing if a little armchair roleplay can get the squad over the hump. We live vicariously through their triumphs and tribulations because that's what we were born to do.
There's a time and place for it of course-- Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Vancouver are those games where you put your thinking cap on and really pay attention to every single detail surrounding the tilt, from the pre-game to the on-ice action to the postgame analysis. That magnifying glass gets so hot sometimes you end up roasting the object of your observation, all because you forgot about the sun. All that matters is what you're looking at. The elements around you don't matter.
Too often we forget about the games that really do mean something special. The games that got us hooked on the sport in the first place. The games with a riveting amount of history, players that get under your skin, uniforms that make your blood curl, and arenas that make you want to land a jumbo jet in the parking lot and just start throwing around karate kicks like they were charity donations.
Too often we forget that the great sport of hockey, and the reason we follow this team, is because it is supposed to entertain us. Provide something to believe in. To give us something to cherish, an aspect of our lives that makes us feel like we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.
When you walk down the streets of your hometown, and you see some thirty five year old mowing his lawn in nothing but a Pavelski jersey and some raggedy jeans, it elicits a reaction. You feel a kinship that transcends discussion. Words aren't spoken because they aren't necessary. You both just know.
And when you walk down the streets of your hometown only to see someone strutting along like they own the place in a Steve Ott jersey, that also elicits a feeling you can't describe. You feel a distrust for the individual that transcends discussion. Words aren't spoken because they aren't necessary. You both just know.
Because these are the games that speak to us every single year. To forget that is to forget why we get up every game day with a hop in our step.
The Dallas Stars are the worst team in the entire league. But they are also the team I enjoy watching the Sharks play the most.
Prediction: Sharks win 3-2. Goals by McGinn, Boyle, and Marleau. Marty Turco gives up a weak goal a thousand miles away.