Sharks flameout hits home

I was rooting for the San Jose Sharks. Not just because they were playing the Red Wings, but for a number of personal selfish reasons. The bay area sports dynamics are kind of strange. There are 3 major metropolitan areas withing a 45 minute drive of each other, but strangely all very different places. San Francisco is the large, East coast style big city. San Jose (and Silicon Valley) is basically a hodgepodge of suburbs, with San Jose being the biggest 'burb. Oakland actually reminds me of a Midwestern rust belt town, like Detroit or Cleveland (but with much much better weather). Why do you people (hockey and Avs fans) care about this?

Well here's the point. Each city has it's own identity, and each one relishes that identity. That's why the Oakland Raiders take such pleasure in looking like lunatic fans, because they are they crazy, little (very) disturbed brother of the bay area. Well the only major sports team in the area that Silicon Valley has to call it's own is the San Jose Sharks. It's their team, and they are very proud of that. It has formed the valley's identity. (notice I'm not saying our... I am born and bred in Denver and haven't lived here very long. Just long enough to appreciate the relationship between the Sharks and their team).

The Sharks are very well-liked here, but they aren't unconditionally loved yet. They are well on their way, but they haven't had that post season run that captivates the entire town yet. Think of teams that are universally loved in their towns. The Avalanche, the Red Wings, the Dallas Stars, the Buffalo Sabres etc. All those teams have made deep runs through the playoffs, and more importantly they took the entire city along for the ride.

The most frustrating thing about the Sharks run here is that the Sharks were poised for that kind of emotional ride here. There was a buzz starting to develop around town, and the magic was there. and emotional conference finals with their in-state nemesis from the south (The Ducks) would have captivated the city, and put the city into a frenzy. Thronton's name would be overheard on bus rides, Sharks flags would have been on nearly every car window and kids would have been begging their mom's for Sharks gear from the Grocery store. I am convinced a battle of California would have gotten San Jose's fans over-the-hump, from knowledgable and smart, to unhealthily obsessive.

Now that they are out, sports talk around the city will subside, and more importantly, and tragically, the hockey-talk around the office will subside. People will turn their attention to the Warriors improbable playoff run, but only mildly, since that's Oaklands team. Luckily I was able to get soem co-workers in a hockey playoff contest so some talk will still be there, but the talk won't be the same. It will be a mild passing interest, instead of a fervent fandom. They didn't even have the heart-breaking loss that fans can say "Wait-until-next-year." Instead they flamed out, squelching two 2-goal leads and then fading quitely into the monday night. No last gasp, no epic battle, no last second fights. A quiet 2-0 shutout to an efficient Red Wings team.

San Jose is primed to be a hockey town. It only needs one more very deep postseason run to make it there.It made a run to the conference finals once, and lost to the Flames, and then the lockout happened. It's ready to explode, all they need is a team to latch onto.



  1. I can understand your sentiment. I'm a Wings fan so I was happy with the series outcome. Living in Denver, it has been hard that the Avs are not in the playoffs. It is hard to find any hockey talk (most people look at me like I'm crazy). It is not quite the same because the Avs have been quite successful in the past and San Jose has not quite gotten there yet. All the same, thank goodness for the internet and blogs, otherwise I'd really be struggling for hockey talk.

  2. No kidding. My forray into the blogosphere has really helped me talk about hockey with people who like it as much as I do. Even if I end up talking about the Sharks, I'm still talking about hockey most of the time.

    Aw well