The San Jose Sharks play host to their second consecutive Pacific Division rival to start the 2013-14 NHL season Saturday, October 5. In direct contrast to the Vancouver Canucks, the Phoenix Coyotes are a long-time member of the division and turned their losing standard in this rivalry into a winning one.
The reversals of fortune are not as extreme because the Coyotes are not of the equal resources of the other two and simply cannot amass as much talent. They simply cannot become as dominant over another team as the Sharks can.
Always a team on the brink of bankruptcy, they now have stable ownership and will not be relocating anytime soon. They still have terrible, discounted attendance and little advertising or television revenue to compete with traditional hockey markets.
Every year, their requisite salary dump will do them in...except that 2013 was one of the few times it did. They rebounded to start this season, dominating the often-touted New York Rangers Thursday.
Thus, in a technical sense this is a chance for one of the teams to grab the early lead in the 2013-14 Pacific Division standings. More deeply, beating the irrefutable regular season alpha since before the full season lost to a lockout (San Jose has five division titles in those 10 seasons) in their building that they have been the best in the NHL at defending this calendar year makes a statement.
For the Sharks, it brings a chance to wrap up about seven percent of the Pacific Division schedule with the best possible result—two regulation wins to start the 2013-14 season. Winning at the expense of a rival has all the more weight.
The photos list the comparison for each team in five areas.