For the first time this season, the Sharks will play at the SAP center on Friday, Feb. 13.
It’s been an exhausting long road trip for the Sharks that included a temporary home site in Arizona and a long road trip that took them to St. Louis, Minnesota, Colorado, and Anaheim.
As of last Saturday, team teal was finally able to arrive back in San Jose.
Some of the narratives for current Sharks players are crazy when you think about it. Most notably is the new acquisition of Devan Dubnyk, who had yet to see his new home in Los Gatos even though his family has already moved in because of the extended road trip.
Sharks captain Logan Couture expressed the impact of this homecoming for the team.
“It’s exciting,” Couture said. “I think for everyone with family in San Jose today will be a great day. [Thirty] days away isn’t easy, so very excited to get back home and reset.”
San Jose coach Bob Boughner is just excited for the opportunity to get some much-needed rest in preparation for the coming days.
“After being on the road for 35, some of the guys 40 days,” Boughner said. “I think it’s a good break for us physically, but more important mentally. I think everybody needs to get home and reset.”
Family is everything and only being able to interact with people digitally pales compared to getting to have the real thing. The positive impact it has on mental health does directly benefit players long term. Sharks’ top-six forward Kevin Labanc definitely agrees and emphasizes this.
“It’s good to be with the guys whenever you miss your families and kids,” Labanc said. “It’s hard, and people don’t really see that but we can’t create excuses for ourselves. We got to get the job done.”
Chances are mental health could be a big player in the Sharks’ mediocre start to the season. Featuring several games this season that has gone to a shoot out and back to backs that have primarily split with one win and one loss.
Team teal sits four points back from a top-four spot in the newly formed Honda West division. Over the next two games, the Sharks will be playing the division worst Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center.
After two games in LA, the team will finally make its season debut at the SAP Center this upcoming Saturday against the Vegas Golden Knights. This will be nearly a week after team teal arrived at San Jose Norman Mineta international airport for the first time this season.
Moving forward, this is the Sharks’ first real opportunity for the team to win out in back to back against an inferior Kings team. Should they pull that off, the momentum of consistent winning and having a genuine home game could lead to an impressive victory over the Golden Knights.
One can hope that the mental health benefits of these players being able to see their families would actually help lead to this success. While it is very early in the season, San Jose’s next three games could indicate whether or not the team is capable of making the playoffs.