Sharks vs. Stars: I kind of don't hate the Stars anymore
The Sharks look to start 7-0 for the second year in a row tonight against their former Pacific Division rivals, the Dallas Stars.
I always loved to hate the Dallas Stars. It was just so darn easy. And it led to some great rivalry games with the Sharks. Despite how painful the 4-OT playoff loss was, you're lying to yourself if you say that wasn't one of the best hockey games you've ever seen.
But, in recent times, it seems like the Stars have done everything they could to be less evil. (Disclaimer: If I'm too persuasive, but you still want to hate them, Megalodon from Battle of California will convince you).
Personnel-wise, I don't think it's hard to argue the Stars have gotten immensely less hate-worthy. Marty Turco, Steve Ott, Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro and Adam Burish have all spread out across the league - like a plague. And they were replaced with relatively harmless players. Not to mention that they got rid of Dave Tippett and his boring trap-hockey.
"But Jon," you say, "the Stars didn't have any of those players or coaches last year!" And you're absolutely right. Last year, it was a bit harder to hate the Stars. But now, they're dressing the part as well. Literally.
Since the first lockout, the Stars had worn what was arguably the worst jerseys in the NHL. They had an awesome and completely unique green and gold color palette yet decided to wear solid black. Great branding, guys. And to make matters worse, they didn't even put a logo on it, they just wrote "Dallas" across the front.
But now, they've finally embraced the green. Whether or not you like their new logo, or their bright green jerseys that are obviously just extra St. Patrick's Day Blackhawk jerseys ('meh' and 'absolutely!' are the correct answers), they're a hell of a lot better than what they had.
When you add in the fact that the Texas team finally left the Pacific Division, it's kind of hard to find a good reason to still hate them. After all the history these teams share, that's a bit frustrating. Really frustrating. I hate them. I hate them for being so unhateable now.
|6-0-0, 12 points ||2-3-0, 4 points|
|1st in Pacific ||7th in Central |
5:30PM PST | American Airlines Center | Dallas, Texas
TV: CSN-CA | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: Defending Big D
Projected Sharks Lineup
Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tyler Kennedy
Matt Nieto - Joe Pavelski - Tommy Wingels
James Sheppard - Andrew Desjardins - Bracken Kearns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Projected Stars Lineup
Jamie Benn - Rich Peverley - Tyler Seguin
Erik Cole - Shawn Horcoff - Antoine Roussel
Ray Whitney - Cody Eakin - Alex Chiasson
Vernon Fiddler - Ryan Garbutt - Lane MacDermid
Alex Goligoski - Sergei Gonchar
Stephane Robidas - Brenden Dillon
Prediction: Sharks win 5-1. Goals by Couture, Nieto, Pavelski (x2) and Sheppard. Meanwhile, the Sharks will find something else interesting to do to get league-wide media attention. Maybe Tommy Wingels will reveal some type of superpower.