SAN JOSE- Thursday night in San Jose marks not only the regular season opener but also the home opener for the Sharks. Each and every year Sharks players in the home opening lineup get introduced one-by-one out on the ice before puck drop. This special time to be recognized is obviously big for rookies (whom the Sharks will feature two of in Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto), but don’t think for a second that the veterans overlook this annual moment in the spotlight.
“It’s fun, the crowd’s excited to be back, we’re excited to be back. Had a pretty good offseason and you’re waiting to get through the preseason and now you got something meaningful” chimed center Joe Pavelski—whom I was only able to catch for just a moment before he headed for the showers.
Thankfully I caught the rest of the veterans with extra time to kill in the dressing room. San Jose’s elder statesmen in Dan Boyle still appreciates everyday in the NHL after going undrafted.
I asked No. 22 if the opening night introductions are still special after all these years.
“Yeah [it is], it’s a privilege to be playing in the NHL. I have never have once taken it for granted. I’m thankful everyday that I get to do this” confirmed the aging but still gifted blue-liner. “Opening night is obviously very special, it’s just another reminder of what I’ve accomplished and where I’m at in my life. It’s going to be special every time.”
“It’s exciting every year” added the now veteran fourth line center Andrew Desjardins. “You never really lose that excitement for the opener. Just pumped up.”
“It definitely is [special]” confirmed Tommy Wingels. “Every year is exciting and it’s a long summer and you want to get back to playing games. The first one, the fact we can do it at home tonight is pretty special. We have the best fans in the league, one of the best atmospheres, and like you said the introductions, having your name called and the fans cheer, it’s exciting for us players.”
The Sharks host the Vancouver Canucks tonight at the newly re-named SAP Center for Game 1 of 82 in the regular season.
Should be a doozy.
Puck drop at 7 PM.
And as always for more San Jose Sharks insights follow Andrew on twitter: @ViewFromBensch