Jan 29, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) reacts between plays against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Observations From a Midwesterner: San Jose Sharks

With my pending visit to the Shark Tank on Tuesday, it was imperative that the next team in this series be the San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks are one of those teams which the city the team is named after is actually near a larger market (in this case the San Francisco Bay Area).  I will admit most people, and myself at one point, are ignorant about where San Jose is actually located in California.  As a child, I had a healthy obsession with Sharks, and naturally gravitated towards the Sharks logo, begging my parents for a Sharks starter jacket.

Of course I was rewarded with a Minnesota Timberwolves coat instead (beats me) and an explanation that the Sharks jackets were gang affiliated in Chicago (apparently West Side Story had infiltrated the south suburbs of Chicago).  This lead to me looking on a map for San Jose, and as a result discovering that the Sharks were basically San Francisco’s team.

The Sharks are a young team in NHL terms, forming in 1990. As a result, they have yet to appear in a Stanley Cup finals, and have a lack of hall-of-fame caliber franchise players who spent their best years with the team.

Polling casual NHL fans, it would be challenging finding anyone that can name a Sharks player before 2005. The Sharks do have some current top NHL talent including “Jumbo” Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. They have perennially been near the top of the Western Conference for the last couple years, even winning the President’s Cup for best record, and with the resurgence of the LA Kings and the always frustrating Vancouver Canucks there should be some bright hockey and fun rivalries in the Sharks future.

History:  The Sharks are a young team, with one President’s Cup but no conference championships.  Recent success has made them a perennial playoff team.  Unfortunately no older or “legendary” players to combine with playoff success to develop history and tradition.

Players: Current players including Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Martin Havlat provide the star power while recent Stanley Cup winners Adam Burish and Antti Niemi provide playoff experience.  As mentioned previously, the longest tenured Hall of Famer was Igor Larionov for 2 years back in 1993 and as such there is a lack of historical player star power.

Stadium: The HP Pavillion is also known as the Shark Tank, which is an awesome nickname for a hockey arena. The team supposedly has a unique entrance to the ice, but the stadium is located in San Jose, which according to my local sources, is more of a suburban area as opposed to San Francisco or the East Bay.

Ease of Adoption: With a lack of history and tradition, no mainstream NHL stars (think Crosby Ovechkin, Toews, etc), and in my opinion a less desirable stadium location, the Sharks get a 3 out of 5 for ease of adoption.

Note: I will be attending my first Bay Area game, a Sharks game, on Tuesday.  I will post my experience and hope to update my rating after that time.

Tags: Adam Burish Antti Niemi Joe Thornton Patrick Marleau San Jose Sharks

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