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Enjoy the Ride
Who knows where it will end
10/13/16 - By Ryan Hall -

Well here we are. With their season opening victory over the Los Angeles Kings, the San Jose Sharks kicked off their first ever defense of the Western Conference. It might not mean as much as defending Lord Stanley's mug, but let's take a moment to appreciate just how far this club has come. It isn't easy to win the West, and in doing so the Sharks have placed a large bullseye on their backs for the 2016-17 season, which means every win will be hard fought, and none should be taken fro granted.

Still, despite their success last playoffs, San Jose comes into this season with unfinished business. The sour taste of playing 'runner up' to the Pens in the Finals hasn't gone away due to the passage of time, which is exactly as it should be. Coming so close, and falling just short, is supposed to be a motivating factor, and I anticipate that it will be for the newest edition of the Sharks.

The question is, will that be enough? Does this team have what it takes to climb the mountain one more time, and finally reach the summit?

I could write an entire article on why I think this edition will achieve that goal, however in the end it isn't something that can quantified by stats, analytics, or even the 'eye-ball' test. Looking at any club in October, and predicting where they will end up is a fool's errand, as any gambler or poolie out there can tell you. For all the advances in breaking down the game, there remains one variable that just can't be measured: chance.

Some people call it puck luck. Others say its 'getting the bounces'. Both of those terms sell short the sheer unpredictability of what can happen during 60 minutes, let alone over 1,230 games. For proof, take a look at what happened to Jonathan Quick on Wednesday, and you begin to understand the futility of trying to guess what will happen.

Which brings me to the crux of things: why we watch and cheer. At the core, we want to be entertained, and nothing is more entertaining that watching your chosen team win. Still, we want to make sure we are wisely investing ourselves, which is why we try to rationalize that victory should occur. Or, why we brace ourselves by listing all the reasons they'll lose.

And of course, we all want to say we were 'right'.

What does any of this have to do with the Sharks, you ask? The answer is simply this: We don't know what the 2016-17 season is going to bring. On paper, this is a club that should compete for the Cup, and if you asked my opinion I'd say I have a very good feeling they'll be hoisting it come June. But none of that really matters.

In the end, what we should all be doing is simply enjoying what we have in front of us. If you're a long time reader of this site, then you know that I am a glass-half full person who says 'hope is better than despair'. With that in mind, I urge everyone to take a deep breath and savour this season, and to believe in the San Jose Sharks. Celebrate every win. Agonize over the losses. Most of all though, enjoy the ride.

After all, who knows where it'll end up?

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