Just for the record, tickets are NOT available for any games in San Jose in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. None whatsoever. Don’t ask. Don’t bother.
And why? Because they are never coming home, ever again. They are at their best in white, at their best in hotels, at their best when they don’t have to jerk around with getting tickets for the in-laws. Best, finally, when they’re free to be booed by the customers for beating rather than being the home team.
After proton-packing the ghosts of 2014 to death Friday night in a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings, the Sharks now await their next base of operations –- either Anaheim or Nashville. Joonas Donskoi became a verb (as in, “The Kings just got Donskoi’d”), Martin Jones became the new Jonathan Quick, and Joe Pavelski was Joe Pavelski.
More than that, though, the Sharks did something far more important. After blowing a 3-0, they performed their own in-the-field tracheotomy, steeling their own nerves and prying their window back open for at least another fortnight through the force of their own oft-criticized wills. They became the second team to advance to the round of eight after Tampa Bay, and the first to do so on the road.
Which brings us back to why you shouldn’t be able to get tickets for any more home games. If head coach Peter DeBoer has anything to say about it, it won’t be permitted, and is willing to punch out Doug Wilson and Hasso Plattner to get his way.
The Sharks just nabbed their 31st win in 44 road games, an improbable enough number but particularly absurd given how puffy and weak they have been described as being in big moments.
That reputation has taken a good hard jolt in this series, and not least because they do the thing that is so hard for others to do -– win away from the comforts and worship of home.
Which is why, if DeBoer is on his game, he walks into Plattner and says, “We’re not coming back. We don’t need to and we don’t want to. We’ll be the Washington Generals, only with the Harlem Globetrotters results. You’re a billionaire. You can afford a little lost revenue in exchange for a new reputation.”
That is, a new reputation and an increased chance of drinking massive quantities of Celebrator Doppelbock out of a gigantic silver bucket with names on the outside.
True, this is a pretty lofty promise for a team that’s never gotten past the conference final level, but the Sharks screwed all those up playing home games thinking that being at home actually helped.
Now we know it doesn’t, and this is the team that proved it.
Maybe it’s the now-moderately-conditional love of a once-slavish fan base. Maybe there is asbestos in the shark head they skate beneath when entering the ice. Maybe it’s fretting over the real estate prices, or the drought, or the traffic. Maybe the locker room is too lavish, or doesn’t smell quite enough like a mildew farm.
Whatever the reason, these Sharks have come to love the road in the most tangible way of all –- by not losing there. Thus, the simplest thing to do is to stop playing at home altogether.
I grant you, this does seem to screw a few season ticket holders, but tell me, screwees – would you rather end up feeling like an idiot seven or eight more times by showing up in a cold, empty building, or standing on a hot street once and waiting for the parade to roll by?
True, you might not get either, but at this point, what have you got to lose? These fascinating new Sharks, the ones who deliver the last blow rather than accepting it, have shown you the way to their glory, and all it requires of you is that you keep paying your cable and internet bills. Because when Peter DeBoer says, “We’re never coming back unless you want to fight me and drag my unconscious body onto the plane,” I’d take him seriously. He looks the type to pick a fight when he needs to, and get his players to fight just as hard.