[This is the second of an intermittent collection of reports from from our unofficial road correspondent.]
By JD Spillage
Reporting to you hung over from shark invested waters, it is I, JD Spillage, here to bring you sights, sounds and smells from Thursday night's game on the road. When I say smells, please, don't get too excited. I'm not talking about the sweet smell of man sweat or the pungent, yet fresh, fragrance of eau de glove hand. I'm talking about the refs. Pure, unabashed stink last night, folks. The refs stunk worse than skunk shit. Logically, I have to believe that skunk shit is in fact the worst smelling of all shit.
But enough about the shitty refs...It's not my job to get into game details about the shitty calls. If you saw the game Thursday night, you know what I'm talking about. No need to beat a dead, shitty ref.
Let's talk fish.
Venue - HP Pavillion, San Jose, CA
- The Sharks moved to HP Pavillion, AKA, "The Tank," to begin play for the 93/94 season, their third year in the league. Prior to that, home ice was the Cow Palace in Daly City, just outside San Francisco.
- About three blocks east of The Tank on Santa Clara, you'll find San Pedro Square. This is where all the teal minnows gather to eat bait and drink salt water. The Tide House was mentioned to be a fan favorite by several. As one guy put it, "It's some kind of brewery I think." I also noticed a place called "Amici's East Coast Pizzaria." What the hell? East meets West? What's next? Dogs and Cats living together? Not in my America...
- Parking was actually very reasonable. I thought we'd get screwed. After all, it is a little too close to San Francisco for the comfort of this pure, manly, full-blooded heterosexual. Not that there's anything wrong with that... Twenty bucks was the highest price to pay. We parked on the cheap for $7, close to San Pedro Square in a covered and secured lot. Sure, the walk was longer, but not bad.
- Better fill up with on soy protein and a lettuce wraps with spring water before entering The Tank. Those crazy health-conscious Californians...the first thing you'll do at The Tank is go up a flight of stairs. If you're in the lower bowl, where I normally sit, (as to why I wasn't for this game, we'll get to that later) you go right back down the stairs. For fans above, more steps up to the nose bleeds.
- Concourse concessions...Sloooowwww. Better bring a copy of "War and Peace" to keep you awake while you wait in line. I've had more fun waiting to pass a kidney stone. When I finally got to the front of the line, I couldn't get what I wanted. The concessions were connected and I could see my tasty brat and nachos right there along with my soon-to-be frosty Bud. But nooooo, I was one register to the left in some Mexican restaurant section. Jerks. Back in line for another long wait.
- 16 oz. of golden draft juice will cost you $7.75.
- The only vendor I saw come by was peddling cotton candy. Not for one second do I believe that I actually missed the beer guy. I bet they have some fruit laws in California that prevents the sale of beer to hockey fans.
- The concourse is narrower than other venues and the fans really fill it up during intermission, making it difficult to move around. I only found one small gift shop. They make you stand in line to get in and meter the number of people that can go in at a time. It's very similar to the way they meter traffic merging onto the highways here in Cali. Jerks.
- I wanted to lay low in Cali. Didn't want the local authorities to know that I was the Meth King of Fenton, so I carried small bills. And since I bought seats for seven that night, I wanted to keep it real and hang with the unrefined in the upper deck for a change.
- The confines are cozy in the tank. Not a bad seat in the house. It is the very loudest arena that I've ever been in to see a hockey game. You can thank the low ceilings for that. If I would have put my mullet up into a faux-hawk, I bet it would have touched the rafters.
- Last and most importantly, proximity of adult entertainment. You'll be best served at AJ's about a mile away on Lincoln. But, one fan suggested The Pink Poodle and went on to say, "if your goal is to get an STD, that's where you want to go." Awesome! I'll see you at The Pink Poodle!
- OK, sit down and brace yourselves, folks. The sooner I say this, the sooner you'll get over it. San Jose fans are awesome. They are loyal. They are passionate. They are smart. They love their team. I know...I know. I hate to say it. My fingers are trembling as I type. I'm sure that at any moment, a lightening bolt is going to strike me dead from the sky. Hopefully, it will be a lightening bolt from Tampa Bay. What's the worst that could happen in that case? I get a tingly feeling all over my body?
- Attendance was 17,496. A sellout on a Thursday night to see a team ranked 23rd out of 30.
- Upon driving up to arena, the first person I saw as we rounded the corner was wearing a Blues practice sweater. I thought there might be hope. In all, I saw maybe six Blues fans sporting the colors. I was sporting the sweet Sasha Khavanov game worn. One Blues fan had the nerve to make fun of me. Something about Sasha being one of our worst defensemen ever. Pffff...whatever.
- Sharks Power Play - Crowd fires up to the theme from Jaws and everyone starts doing "The Chomp." I could only sit in jealously, wishing I had teeth.
- After every Sharks goal, everyone sings along to the way out-dated "Hey" song. Admit it; you know the one I'm talking about from the early 90's. Does it have a real name? Or, is it in fact just the "Hey" song.
- You know that one fan that is always yelling something stupid in a voice that stands out from all the others? It's a voice that makes you just want to punch the guy right in the throat. Yeah. He was behind me. Jerk. He even heckled the cotton candy guy. C'mon! Who doesn't like cotton candy? Hmmm...well, apparently my cousin Torrie, as she informs me with a punch and funny look.
I had questions for the fans...
- What team to you do you consider your biggest rival? Ninety percent mentioned both Detroit and Anaheim. I told them about the Game Time mantra of "Fuck Detroit." They loved it! That's why I do this folks...to make friends.
- How much do you hate Chris Pronger? I got a lot of great responses to this question. I wish I had the time and space to quote them all. Probably best that I paraphrase though: #%$@ that @#$Q@ piece of #%$$ *&^% ass $#@&!
- Is there anybody in the NHL with a funnier name than Cheechoo? I expected more from the fans of San Jose. Everyone I asked responded with another player on their team...Setoguchi. Lame. I was hoping that at least one person would have said Bettman.
- Who is your all-time favorite Sharks player? Players ranged from old to new...Arturs Irbe to Jeremy Roenick. Most responded with household names like Owen Nolan, Patrick Marleau and the ugliest of all uglies, Mike Ricci. Nobody mentioned Pat Falloon, the very first person ever selected in the draft by the Sharks back in the Spring of '91. Go figure.
- Remember the shitty refs? Well, they were shitty for both teams. At one point, the fans pulled out a good ol' fashioned chant of "Bull Shit." I haven't heard one of those since 1989.
I gotta be honest, I expected more California hotness in the crowd. Only three Flashes. And two of those went out to my cousins. They're hot. You know what they say: "In Fenton, In Family!"
I love family and I love animals. Mascots fall into the animal category. Yes, even Sharks. San Jose's mascot is Sharkie. Brace yourselves once again folks. Sharkie... is a shark. Brilliant in its simplicity, its correlation, its relevance to a team. Fuzzy, no-pant wearing bear? Yeah...I still don't get it.
No, it wasn't STD night at The Tank. We're going to the Pink Poodle for that, remember? Sharkie is just sporting some man hands to join in with the clap.
- Kids love Sharkie. One kid, and I quote, exclaimed, "Sharkie is awesome!" Brilliant kid. Nice to see Cali keeping up with the stereotype. Your parents must be proud. See me after the game, I've got a job waiting for you down highway 44. You like to buy cold medicine, right?
- I didn't see a lucky puck shuffle. But, what I did see left me scratching...my head. Animated Zamboni Races.
- Zamboni No. 1 - Comerica Bank
- Zamboni No. 2 - Brocade
- Not sure I got that right. Sounds like a sports drink for gay athletes. How far are we from San Francisco again?
- Zamboni No. 3 - "The Evil Pirate Zamboni"
- You read that right folks. So, who do you think won the race? The Evil Pirate Zamboni? The Zamboni powered by a gay sports drink? Or, the Zamboni named after a company that's putting signage on your dashers and pumping your bottom line with fistfuls of marketing cash? South County, please explain to your friends from Granite City who won the race and why.
- Intermission No. 1. I have just witnessed the lamest form of break time entertainment...Waiter Races. Two people race from the goal to the blue line. At the blue line, they pick up...A Tray! Eewwwwwww. At the red line, they place wine glasses, on The Tray! Ahhhhhhhh. You know what, I had to sit through it. I'm not going to subject you to the same torture. Screw it, and trust me, it was lame. If you really want to know how it ends, give me a call, and I'll put a bullet in your head.
- Intermission No. 2. Section Dance Off! Section 113 squared off against 202. The nose bleeders totally kicked ass. But have no fear, Dancin' Steve Wagner, me and all the others cool kids that kick it at DJ King's condo parties have nothing to worry about.