San Jose Sharks: ‘Playoffs?! Playoffs? Did You Say Playoffs!’
Over this past summer I had an opportunity to take over ownership of a pair of full season tickets. They’re probably the least expensive seats in the building but my section, plus the adjoining sections, are all long-time season ticket holders. There’s a great sense of community up there. It’s a really fun and safe place to watch a game, and it is often referred to the ‘trailer park’ section of HP Pavilion.
One of the primary reasons I wanted the seats was access to inexpensive playoff tickets. Last year I went to Round 2 Game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings, sitting right where my current seats are, for about $50 a ticket. I was easily spending over $100 a ticket for first round games through Ticketmaster, so I jumped on the chance to have that kind of access.
But I knew the chances of going to a third consecutive Western Conference Finals, let alone get past that round, was going to be highly unlikely. The physical toll had to be mounting, and emotionally I can imagine it would be tough to push through another the regular season.
The evidence on the ice suggests I may have been right.
The Sharks have just come off their worst ‘SAP Open’ Road Trip in several years. Although a long trip the players have always said road trips allow them to ‘bond’ as a team. If they’re bonding it doesn’t seem to help the way they play. Now the Sharks are staring at that 17 game March leading right up to the playoffs. How are they going to get to get their new teammates acclimated, fix their penalty kill, heal up, rest guys for ‘the grind’ AND squeeze at least 34 points out of their next 21 games?
Speaking of new teammates, the only way I feel about the team’s trades is ‘depleted’. Back when we acquired Dany Heatley the talk on NHL Home Ice was that the Sharks farm system was being depleted from all the high draft picks we’d been giving. They said at some point it would all catch up with us. Is that time now? This season and last the Sharks tried to rely on their prospects to fill the lower lines and both times they’ve failed. Help had to be brought in at the cost of more picks and personnel.
I was explaining to someone that in sports there are ‘buyers’ and ‘seller’ and it all depends upon what you’re trying to do with your team that season. The Sharks have been buyers for years, but anyone with a budget knows you can’t keep buying without eventually going broke.
As I understand it a team like the Sharks plays poorly partly due to mental fatigue. A hockey season can get really routine and really boring and you have to find ways to get yourself mentally ‘up’ for each night’s game. If you can’t find a way to get up for a game you’ll get run over by a better prepared opponent. Maybe with the playoff door visible on the horizon the Sharks will find something to latch on to and start playing the way we all know they’re capable of playing. I just hope it’s enough to overcome the physical fatigue.
Otherwise I’m REALLY going to save a lot on playoff tickets this year.