The Aug. 6 announcement that the San Jose Sharks would host a game in the NHL Coors Light Stadium Series continued to reverberate through the Bay Area. Even the Business Journal talked about it Thursday, Aug. 7.
The economic impact of hosting their first outdoor game Feb. 21 is just one of the pictured news summaries not already examined in the previous column here. On San Jose's website Friday, chief operating officer John Tortora spoke of the team's desired halo effect from hosting this game.
The event will deepen interest in the game, with fans attending having a memorable experience to more casual fans taking interest. While there is no extra money going initially to the Sharks, hosting increases the team brand internationally and reaps financial benefits for years to come.
They may get another chance soon. In his Working the Corners blog Wednesday, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News passed on word of a possible second game in the Bay Area. After explaining why Levi's Stadium was chosen to host the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, NHL senior vice president Don Renzulli said AT&T Park could get its chance to host another very soon:
My guess is that we will, in the next few years, be back and we’ll probably be up at AT&T (Park). What we’re trying to do ultimately with this game is get more people into hockey and the more people that can see it, the better. If we can show Santa Clara and that area what we have to offer outdoors and then bring it up to San Francisco in a few years, it’s a win-win for everybody.
Devoting Wednesday to San Jose, Pro Hockey Talk (PHT) had some coverage that amounted to nothing but debate fodder: Joe Thornton was voted the greatest player in franchise history and there was a piece promoting a poll about how the team will bounce back from its 2014 Stanley Cup playoff choke.
That Patrick Marleau lost by two votes (477-475, with Owen Nolan getting 352 of the other 747 votes) for the greatest player in franchise history is ridiculous. Thornton is a better player and has been with the Sharks for more than half his career, but not as important to this franchise as the entire career of a multiple-time All-Star forward.
As for the article asking how San Jose will bounce back, it is brief and did not focus on how it would happen but what the final results would be. The poll question it features is terrible. For the 90-plus percent of respondents not foolish enough to think a team this talented would miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2003, it leaves only all-or-nothing options.
Thanks to a disproportionate number of often optimistic fans tuning in for the subject matter, nearly a quarter of respondents see the Sharks winning the 2015 Stanley Cup. About one in 14 sees them winning the Western Conference.
For the 60-plus percent that understand reality should be somewhere between those choices, "gag in the playoffs" is the only option. So San Jose loses a Western Conference final in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup champion and that is a gag?
The reality is that a team turned over to its youth could lose in seven games in the first round without it being rightly called a gag. That word was partially chosen because the Sharks gagged in 2014, but they already had that label despite winning seven of nine first-round series to start general manager Doug Wilson's tenure.
The good news is that PHT was much better on the topics of substance. They dealt very succinctly with the pending goalie battle and were thorough covering how the pressure is on coach Todd McLellan to get a good performance in the Stanley Cup playoffs from this team.
Of course, that pressure also rests on McLellan's players and Wilson. If San Jose cannot put up a better fight in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, a new general manager might follow through better on some already-promised changes next summer.