700 Miles For A Goal
You want me to talk about the game last night, or my trip to San Jose?
I kind of don’t feel like talking about either.
I kind of feel like talking about the Denny’s I stupidly and drunkenly wandered into at 1:30am. San Jose is a sleepy town, very dull, but for the most part well kept. However some areas, like by our hotel near the airport, are… Erm… Less so. I saw an interesting group of humans, I believe they were. People living at the Motel 6. People with face tattoos, and in pluralizing that I mean both that several people had a tattoo on their face and that several of those people had multiple tattoos on their face. There was also the distinguished sir sitting to my left at the bar, who seemed to find it very important that I know he thought- no, knew, that I was a “fucking faggot ass faggot, fucking bitch faggot ass bitch.” At least I think that was the direct quote.
Now that we’re discussing people’s whose minds have been absconded, I suppose that’s as good of a segue-way as any into my experience at the game itself.
I’ve long said the San Jose Shark fanbase achieves it’s high volume more by means of an insulated building than by way of particularly loud fans. Once again, the sonorous echoes of “Beat LA” cascading over my ears, absent of distinctive decibels issuing from the lips of any individual near me, confirmed this assessment.
But San Jose fans are intense, we must grant them that compliment. Knowledgable, we do not. While they cheer loud and often, one can’t help but notice that they are mostly quiet during play, the bulk of the cheering coming between whistles, when they bombard you, incessantly, with “Make Some Noise” demands through various lame-duck After Effects animations. They cheer then, because what they don’t do is show replays; ever. Outside of goals, I think I saw maybe one or two replays on the jumbotron. Highly frustrating and almost assuredly contributes to the Sharks fan general lack of hockey aptitude. The other tip off is that you don’t hear Sharks fans commenting on the play while it’s happening. Outside of a “Ooooh!” any time the Sharks shoot the puck in the general vicinity of the net, I had a hard time telling if many of the 16,000 people in attendance knew what it was they were watching.
Luckily, for the most part we had a friendly experience. The woman behind me loved to shriek her shrill hoots and hollers at me, though her lips did quiver once or twice when I turned around a gave her the ol’ Surly Smile. That was a hate fuck waiting to happen.
Speaking of hate, there was a handful of folks who definitely hated us. And by hated, I mean HATED. No fewer than three semi-tough looking fleshy dildos tried to pick legitimate fights after the game. Had we been looking for one, an extra word would have granted that wish. Instead I merely said “nice neck vein”, gave them the Surly Smile and walked on my merry way.
And now we come to the game. I met many great Kings fans last night and part of what made them so great was their attitude after the loss. No one was dour. Bummed, yes, but still all smiles.
The Kings did not play a very good game. They improved as it wore on and had a reasonably strong third period, but the first two were full of sloppy passing and a lack of drive to the net. Credit the Sharks where you will, they defended the middle very well and did not give the Kings much room at all to make plays. What I felt was lacking the most for the Kings was the poise to skate the extra two strides with the puck to beat encroaching Sharks one-on-one to create the space needed to make the plays.
I don’t really care to talk about the penalties. I still haven’t seen replays so I just know what the twitterverse told me about them as the Regehr hook was on the far end of the rink and I couldn’t see it very well and I was watching Richards with the puck when Lewis bowled over Niemi. Oh well. The Kings were fantastic on the 5-on-3 but flustered when Regehr was forced to fill in a forward position after coming out of the box.
I may go back on Tuesday night, if anything just because I’m not sure two screaming matches about Torres was enough.
Also because we are winning that game.
The Kings have pulled out some great wins in the last 6 games before this one, in many of which they were outplayed. Now that a less than dominant effort has resulted in a loss, the Kings can finally make the adjustments needed to put in that dominant performance. There is always a slight mental block, it is human nature, that precludes us from improving as much as we can when the effort you are giving turns in the required results. Only once it does not can you transition into the next gear.
And so we shall.
As Sharks fans jumped up and down all around me, pointing and jeering at me in victory, I smiled.
I smiled then. I smile now.