The San Jose Sharks were formed in 1991, but are really the spiritual successors to the California Golden Seals. The Blues and the Seals are both classmates from the 1967 expansion that doubled the size of the league. At the same time as ice hockey was being introduced to the Bay Area, a local musical act called the Warlocks added a member and changed their name to avoid confusion with another band of the same name. For the Blues, the Seals/Sharks, and the Grateful Dead it has most certainly been a long, strange trip since then. The most recent leg of that journey is now happening in San Jose at SAP Center.
Judging by the quotes and storylines coming out of the dressing rooms, the Blues are fully aware of the mess they made on the ice in Games 1 and 2. The Blues were lucky to win Game 1, and it is no surprise that playing with that fire a second time left them burnt. Home games have been a little tougher for the Blues this postseason, even when they stay in a downtown hotel instead of their own beds. For some strange reason, they've been able to play their game a little better on the road, so this change of venue to California could be just what the doctor ordered. The golden road opportunity to plug the holes in their game and take it to the Sharks should not be difficult to seize.
There's not much to "preview" per se, as we're already 2 games deep into this series. This is the latest info and talking points at least:
- Between the positivity of some writers and the panic of some Blues fans, it would seem that the Sharks have a commanding lead. While it might seem that the Sharks are sitting on top of the world, this is merely a tied series shifting to a new location. The Blues were 1-1 in each of the previous two rounds as well. Those turned out OK, and there's nothing about that record that keeps us from winning this one also. Most predictions were calling for a 7 game series, and we're not going to get there without a few losses along the way.
- Both teams are continuing to stay healthy, which is pretty amazing considering this is no cream puff war. These are two heavy teams (almost identical in height and weight) that can use that physicality as part of their game. Where the Blues may have had an edge in that aspect of the game in previous rounds, the San Jose squad are our equals. Our friend Patrik Berglund was banged up in Game 2, but made it back onto the ice later on. No news is
good newspretty typical this time of year. For the Sharks, forward Matt Nieto has yet to appear in this round, and is listed as day-to-day. Joe Thornton took a slash from Jay Bouwmeester in Game 2 and may have a bum hand, which would go with the rest of the look he's been shooting for lately. Nothing official has been announced for him.
- Blues Twitter was doing a good job of devouring itself since the last game. There's a lot of painting with broad strokes that doesn't help anybody. A word of caution - it's OK to be critical of the team (hell, it is almost reflexive for us by now). But please understand the distinction between "this team is playing like shit" and "This is a shitty team". That is a subtle difference, but one that is lost online quite frequently. The first is being reasonably critical and providing the appropriate feedback. The second is flat-out pig ignorant and immediately puts other fans on the defensive. The first can be the beginning of a dialogue, where the latter is practically inviting a flame war. Pick your words and tone carefully, and we can all get along out here. Similarly, if someone needs to vent.... let 'em. Don't jump someone's case just because they react differently than you. The last thing people need to be doing is trying to define what a "real fan" is. I haven't met one yet, and don't expect to. Besides, save the vitriol for the asshole wearing Hawks gear to a Blues/NotChicago game.
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Final Verse: The puck drops at 8:00 PM St Louis time, and the GDT should drop shortly beforehand. The TV broadcast is on NBCSN and the radio call will be on Y98 FM. Come join us for the game, won't you? We can all have a good laugh together when Milbury or Roenick says the next idiotic thing. Because, that IS going to happen.
On the podcast preview for this round, I said that I was pretty OK with being the Empire analog. Here is why: