It’s been a long week since the San Jose Sharks opened up their season in Sweden, splitting a pair of games with the Columbus Blue Jackets while serving as world ambassadors in the NHL’s latest outreach attempt to bring the game of ice hockey to…Sweden. Having done their duty for Bettman and country, our boys return from the Land of Forsberg to the warm embrace of the sunny South Bay and the even warmer and raucous HP Pavilion. No more answering Swedish queries of where exactly San Jose is and nary a tin of fermented herring in sight–that is, unless you’re scooting up the 101 to IKEA with Doug Murray and you mistakenly let him buy the road snacks.
Nope, home cooking! First up on the Shark Tank menu is some southern fried Atlanta Thrashers…it’s their State bird, and yeah I have to wiki it every year. This Atlanta team is struggling for an identity after losing the truly irreplaceable Ilya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils. They have a few bland new signings, a couple of retreads, a couple young guys and a certain human kettlebell named Dustin Byfuglien. Oh yeahhhh…that guy. Buffy and the Thrashers have been doing a bang up job of playing possum so far this year, dropping all six of their preseason games and losing two of their first three regular season tilts, meaning this game should be one the Sharks take in runaway fashion.
Led by our favorite surfer and puck hogging sniper, Joe Thornton, San Jose will look to Jumbo to continue his early, odd and most welcome goal scoring prowess against either Atlanta goalie Chris Mason or some guy they have named Pete up from the minors. Either way, Thornton, Dany Heatley, Ryane Clowe and squad will not be facing Terry Sawchuk. Although, if Mason does get the nod, don’t be surprised by some early stops by the former Blues goalie as his recent play has been solid. That said, the Sharks can’t lose to these guys and must push through any Thrasher optimism and insolence with a heavy hand and nail down the home win, hopefully the first of many more at HP Pavilion this season.
Honestly, I’m going to try to just get through this one and keep last year’s painful Stanley Cup Playoff flashbacks at bay…the ones that surface each time Dustin Byfuglien skulks over and posts up in front of our net, yet again.
Somebody please move. that. guy.