Sharks Gameday: The Undertaker's Thirst For Revenge Is Unquenchable



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Anaheim Calling

All the world's a stage, and San Jose is no exception apparently.

With the Sharks headed into Anaheim tonight for their first regular season meeting since last year's playoff exit, Todd McLellan shook up the roster by sending Jamie McGinn to Worcester and bringing up Frazer McLaren in his place. He didn't stop there either- per David Pollak of Working The Corners (who, I must add, is a pleasure to see around full-time once again):

Maybe it’s only one loss, but how’s this for a response:

Benn Ferriero has gone from unheralded rookie to right wing on the Sharks’ nominally top line with Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley.

Devin Setoguchi? He’s on the third line with Manny Malhotra and Frazer McLaren.

And so the obligatory early season over-analyzation of the San Jose Sharks begins.

In the October Month on Tap piece yesterday, the aspect of utilizing two-way contracts during the East Coast road trip was brought up as a good place to re-evaluate the roster. It gives you enough time until then to see some areas of improvement that can be explored, and with Worcester only a stone's throw away from the majority of those locations, makes travel a non-issue. So why send McGinn down after the first game?

Can't really tell you. A month of preseason observation provided enough time for the coaching staff to determine that McGinn was the third line winger coming out of camp, or at least the one that earned his opportunity to defend said spot. McLellan states that, "This’ll give him the opportunity to go down and find his game and then come back and apply it. He’s got to make a difference in games." That leads to a trifecta of conclusions- either a) McGinn hadn't found his game going into last night and had "one last shot" to prove he was ready, which makes giving him a start in the season opener strange, b) one game is enough for McLellan to conclude that a middling outing in game one deserves immediate reprimand, in which case Worcester will be sending five blueliners to Anaheim for tonight's game, or c) the organization is still on pins and needles from last season and feel like they need to make an example of someone after a porous season opener against Colorado. I'm leaning towards the latter option.

Obviously I'm a big McGinn fan, and while it's readily apparent that he will be back with the club by the end of October, it seems like a premature decision with the season this young; nonetheless, it's time to step off the soapbox. I must sound like an absolute quack.

Speaking of which, a brief look at the Ducks follows the jump.

From early September, as part of the 2009-2010 Rivalry Depth Chart rankings (Anaheim came in at number two behind Dallas):

Synopsis: My psychiatrist says it's too early to talk about these things.

To Sum It Up: Okay, fuck it. You know what bothers me the most about Anaheim more than anything? Their success. This is a team that came into the league after San Jose and yet has managed to win a Cup, lose another Finals in a seventh game, make the Conference Finals three times (including both SCF appearances), and beat the Sharks in the only playoff series they played. I mean, shit. What else can you say?*

*An acceptable response would be, "Plank, these last two entries are pretty depressing. You may need help."

Public Enemy Number One: Anyone who is balding, a crybaby, plays goaltender, stomps on children, or just wears that jersey.

So what's changed since then? Nothing. Anaheim is still a despicable team who's had a lot of success, and we're still the big brother who was a perennial Honor Roll student in high school but dropped out of college because he couldn't handle the workload. Does that make sense? I don't even give a shit if it does, because it does. What? Whatever.

I'm not going to pussyfoot around it- the pain of last year is still there, and it will always remain there until San Jose either knocks Anaheim or Pronger out of the postseason (which, admittedly, would be much more fulfilling considering the implications). Does that mean a win tonight in front of their honeybaked ham tanned fans wouldn't provide a little solace for my soul? Ha! If I had the option of picking one game for San Jose to win this season, and one game only, it would be tonight. Season opener, home opener, Corey Perry playing to the crowd and doing pirouettes at center ice while everyone sits smugly in their seats, fat and content after a series victory last year.

Don't call it revenge just yet. Call it the first step.

As for me, I'll be in Row B behind the penalty box with cult hero Earl Sleek of BOC. Here's to avoiding another new couch for the guy- those "accidents" only seem to happen when the Sharks lose.

Prediction: Sharks win 5-4. Goals by Heatley (x2), Setoguchi, Blake, and Clowe. Marchant Manhunter and The Wonder Finn's (who curiously resemble the Ambiguously Gay Duo of SNL fame) inexplicably fail to make it out of the locker room for the first period. Hiyo!

Go Sharks.