By Surly Jacob.

The season starts today.  We can pretend.

Everything is fresh. The team is pumped. This is going to be the year.

Right?  Good.

The San Jose Sharks paddle into town tonight, minus Joe Pavelski, who is out for a few weeks with a foot injury. They will however boast the talented Ottawa Senators’ offseason malcontent, Dany Heatley, who has played on the West Coast only a handful times in his career. In all, the Sharks have 13 new faces on the team.

The Kings have made slight adjustments to their lineup. Peter Harrold will play in the place of Alec Martinez, who is out with the ever specific “lower-body injury”. Martinez is taking a “therapy day”, the new buzz word for a day “off”.  He will be paired with Jack Johnson. Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi will play alongside Matt Greene, presumably to shut down San Jose’s top line of Heatley, Thornton and rookie Benn Ferriero. Drew Doughty will continue to play with Davis Drewiske. Terry Murray hopes to correct the poor passing and soft breakouts of which the Kings suffered in the forgettable game against the Coyotes on Saturday.

Tonight’s game against the best pre-playoff team in hockey has evoked its share of naysayers about projected results.  The ever confident and inspired Kings fans would cite however that a Kings team with fire in their belly and system on the brain can and has beat any team in the NHL. What we all can agree on is that the Kings must conquer whatever nerves handicapped their performance on Saturday. Dustin Brown must show on the ice why he is the rightful captain of this team. Each of our players must play to win, no exceptions. Facing off against the newly appointed captain of the Sharks and the former of ours, Rob Blake, holds an opportunity to show the NHL that those who believe in the Kings do so for good reason. Think of it as a shot at redemption. After all, we only have so many opening night “do overs” before others start to notice.

Go Kings Go!