For 82 games a year, the San Jose Sharks are bitter enemies with the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. While the Sharks are still a relatively young franchise in the NHL, they have developed quite a rivalry with Anaheim, and in recent years, Los Angeles.
But every four years, for three weeks during the Winter Olympics, those rivalries disappear. Suddenly, those bitter enemies become teammates, playing for their country and the gold.
This year in Sochi is no exception. The Sharks have four Olympians competing in the Winter Games — Joe Pavelski (United States), Patrick Marleau (Canada), Marc-Eduoard Vlasic (Canada) and Antti Niemi (Finland) — and they will find themselves in awkward situations on the ice at one point or another.
1. During the Team Canada practice session, Marleau was working on a forward line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks.
2. Pavelski’s roommate in the Team USA quarters is defenseman Cam Fowler of … that’s correct, the same Anaheim Ducks.
3. Vlasic’s defensive partner in the Canadian drills was Drew Doughty of … oh, my, the Los Angeles Kings.
Yikes. Marleau playing on a line with Getzlaf and Perry, two players who have terrorized the Sharks over the years and earned the hatred of Sharks fans? Pavelski sharing a room with a Duck? Vlasic potentially being a defensive partner with a King?
Putting NHL allegiances aside, those combos look lethal. But for Sharks fans, Patrick Marleau scoring a goal off of a nifty pass from Ryan Getzlaf instead of Joe Thornton just doesn’t sound right.