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The Five Hole - A Sharks Odyssey

By Chris Gift

[This article originally ran in the 2-13-07 issue of St. Louis Game Time.]

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So you consider yourself a fan of the hometown team? You buy Game Time; you can pronounce Woywitka, Dvorak, and Ba-cash-you-a. Â

Bad weather like tonight doesn’t intimidate you, it just makes parking easier. An annual trip to Peoria to see the pups and maybe a weekend getaway to Nashville, Chicago, or Columbus isn’t out of the question either.   Â

If that describes you at all, there is somebody here tonight that will still steal your lunch money and take your girlfriend to homecoming.   Â

And he’ll do it all while wearing teal and booing Chris Pronger.   Â

Somewhere inside Scottrade Center tonight is Jess Knaster.   Â

Knaster is a journalism major at West Valley College in Saratoga, California and for some insane reason, a huge Sharks fan. He says that he’s always wanted to travel.   Â

Knaster is attending his 56th San Jose Sharks game of the season. He also plans on attending the remaining 26 on the Sharks’ schedule, both home and away.    Â

How’s that for travel?Â

While he’ll only visit the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference (thanks again, Gary Bettman), he’ll still see the other 14 Western Conference cities. His longest trip has been 3,016 miles to Miami for the Panthers in October.   Â

Think the Blues have the travel rough? The Sharks play at Dallas, Anaheim, Los Angeles and Phoenix four times each. The farthest the Blues have to go to play a divisional opponent is 550 miles to Detroit.Â
Dallas is more than three times that far for the Sharks, and for Knaster.

    To show that the league either didn’t know about the trip, or has an odd sense of humor, Knaster traveled to Florida in October, which is nice. But it would have been a welcome break from the cold if the Florida trip and the January trip to Vancouver and Edmonton were flip flopped.   Â

This is the second game of an eight game trip, San Jose’s longest of the season. Knaster is logging a little over 10,250 miles on this trip alone.   Â

Yes, the Sharks are also doing this and the point of this column isn’t to talk about how insane the amount of travel that the Western Conference teams have, but for a guy in his early twenties to travel all over God’s green North America, that seems pretty cool.   Â

So tonight, Knaster visits Scottrade for the second and final time this year, and on his blog he’s said how he’ll have “arena scorecards” posted in the next few days.   Â

Scottrade and the entire “Blues experience” will get a once-over compared to 18 of the other 30 teams, and frankly, I’m looking forward to seeing what he has to say.   Â

Just a few questions I hope he answers:Â Â Â Â

How many other arenas have a Towel Man-type travesty that people seem to like about as much as having television shows interrupted to find out that it isn’t snowing yet?   Â

I was lucky enough to go to the Trivia Championship Sunday night, and sure enough right after round two started, in all his mulleted air-brushed glory, Towelie made an appearance and threw out two towels. How cute. If there were any more empty Budweiser bottles in front of me, and if it would have been a Game Time table, Towel Man would have been tripped.   Â

I’d also like to know if there is a place like Top Shelf in any of the other buildings. It is a great place to watch the game, and I wish there was more butt room for more fans to be able to stand and watch the game. Then again, FSN Midwest having a set with the ice as a backdrop inside Top Shelf doesn’t help.  Â

Somebody has to introduce this guy to the Red Berenson Cowboy. It can’t hurt.  Â

I’m hoping that he makes a big deal out of the fact that the Blues are still playing Gary Glitter’s Rock and Roll (Part Two) aka “the Hey Song” after wins. Glitter (real name- Paul Francis Gadd) is currently in jail in Vietnam for the next three years after being found guilty of having sex with two girls under the age of 17. This comes after he was released from a British jail on a 1997 child pornography conviction. After that, he tried to move to Cuba.     Â

Join the Blue Revolution, and if she says she’s 18, that’s good enough, I guess.   Â

Since Bettman doesn’t have any original ideas, he should follow the NFL’s lead and request that teams no longer play that song.   Â

Then again, the way the Blues have been playing lately, Knaster doesn’t have to worry about hearing a victory song.    Â

See Jess Knaster’s blog:     Â