Friday, April 17, 2009

Who wants it more?

Teemu Selanne (one of my favorite hockey players to interview—ever!), Jean-Sébastien "Jiggy" Giguère and Ryan Getzlaf in the spring of 2008.

You might ask why I have a photo of three Anaheim Duck players up.

Of the three, I have met and spoken to only one—Teemu Selanne. It was my pleasure to interview Teemu several times while he was a San Jose Shark. We'd talk about auto racing; he is an avid rally racer in the offseason and loves following motorsports of all types, and of course he's a passionate car collector. I have three favorite all-time players to interview and Teemu is one of them.

Anyway, who wanted it worse tonight—Anaheim or San Jose? I guess the role of underdog is something Anaheim wears well. Face it, they were on fire at the end of the season, and the Sharks seem to have gone on a misdirected autopilot. Sharks are the ones who are in a do-or-die situation, certainly not Anaheim. 

Personally, I felt tonight's game was boring. Yes, I was watching on television and I am sure it was much more compelling in person. I used to care deeply about getting to attend playoff games, but my heart just hasn't been in it since 2007.

Anaheim's first goal was an honest goal that Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabakov could not have stopped. But the second goal, the one by Ryan Getzlaf, was something that he should have not only stopped, but one of the two defensemen on Ryan should have taken a penalty (trip, hook, slash, whatever) to take Ryan's shot away. Instead, it looked as if Rob Blake and Marc Eduard Vlasic were gobsmacked and ended up skating bystanders.

I admit I can't get into anything the Sharks do because I simply do not have a player who piques my interest. Call me a fanwank girl if you like, that's what I am. If Torrey Mitchell makes it back, I might perk up a bit. But I am really bothered by Sharks' management and the greed they show during this economic downturn we are suffering through. This season they raised the deposit for season tickets price to $350 per seat—and that guarantees you playoff tickets now (what they don't tell you is those guaranteed seats are upper bowl seats!). Hasn't the ownership group been reading about job losses and unemployment and people being taxed to death?

Oh wait, none of that matters if you are a millionaire like everyone in the Sharks' ownership group is. They feel nothing, no pain in the wallet. Do they pay taxes too? Do they feel anything when they hand their money over to the government for ever-expanding programs that fail to help people be self-sufficient?

Probably not. No doubt most gave significant money to the DNC. NOW they want to price the regular fan right out of attending a game. I cannot deal with the upper bowl stairs (too steep, too small and someday I am going to tumble right down them if I force myself up there!) and lower bowl tickets are prohibitively expensive.

I think in my evil little mind I know that Sharks management is going to raise ticket prices this summer anyway, no matter how far the Sharks go into the playoffs, even if they went all of the way. I think the satisfaction of having Sharks' management lose out on all of the potential income by NOT making it through the first round of playoffs might be the ultimate karma for their greed. And ... San Jose does not have a first-round draft pick again this June. That's going to be a big problem very fast ...

Of course my happiness will be short-lived because the ticket price increase will happen anyway, and I'l still be priced out of going to any game. One game this season—that's all I've gone to! Contrast that with 30+ games in 2001–2003, when I was writing for Hockeycorp, or even while I was still attending SJSU, when I'd attended perhaps 20 games and every home playoff game.

There is nothing like a live hockey game. I promise that if you see one live game, you are hooked, and you will be a hockey fan. I hate that Hockeycorp went belly-up, and I hate that I am not employable because of my age and my disability. I miss games, I miss going out, but right now what can I do?

Predictions for this series? Only one—seven games. And the winner of the series will be all beat up.


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