The schedule is officially out and we as Sharks fans are all pouring over it. Given the games are all in-conference, every point counts, but here’re some that I can’t wait to get to at the tank.
1) March 14th, Los Angeles Kings – First game against the Kings, unexpectedly late in the season. You could say this would extend to all the division rivals but let’s face it: we all want to see how the squad does against the team that lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup last season. I’m particularly curious to see a few things: Will Quick have a hot or cold start? Do we get turnover-machine Drew Doughty or slick-with-the-puck Drew Doughty? Will I ever get over seeing Jarrett Stoll do this? Does Dustin Penner still love pancakes? Is Dustin Brown the NHL’s most well-rounded player? Will they sign more guys named Dustin?
2) February 11-23rd – The massive SAP road trip. I hate the fact that the team’s on the road this long, particularly in a shortened schedule. It means they’ll play 6 road games in 12 days. It will, however, help us figure out where this team stands.
3) February 28th, Detroit Red Wings. Those names make any good Sharks fan’s ears perk up. There’re three great story lines. New captain Hank Zetterberg transitioning the team into a new era. Datsuyk is still scary. Brad Stuart will be playing tough against his old squad. Should be interesting.
4) February 2nd, Nashville Predators. The day before the Superbowl. I think the most underrated of the Sharks games are always the ones vs. the Preds. They’re always chippy and are usually very close. Plus I’m curious to see if Rinne holds up without Suter back on D. Also, knowing that Shea Weber basically gave up on the franchise publicly before they brought him back on a technicality, amazing.
5) January 24th, Phoenix Coyotes. An obvious one, the home opener. I’m actually excited for the Sharks to play in Calgary on the 20th, I remember the 2004 playoffs like they were last season…but I can’t wait to hear the roar of the crowd fill up HP again. Let’s Go Sharks!
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