SAN JOSE, CALIF – After one and a half years of waiting, the National Hockey League will finally return to its normal schedule of 82 games per team.
Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the U.S., the NHL created new, temporary divisions based on relative distances between cities. This created an imbalance among the teams, since inter-divisional games were cancelled . Powerhouse teams like the Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche were put in the same division, while other teams like the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs virtually had no competition within their division.
For the San Jose Sharks, the new divisions proved to be a grave disadvantage. In their division of eight teams, they finished 7th, with just under 50 points. Their failure can be most likely attributed to the difficulty level their divisional competitors posed.
Once the 2021 season finished, the Sharks prepared for a busy offseason. Despite moving around many players, most of the transactions were relatively insignificant. The major offseason news included the buyout of longtime goalie Martin Jones’ contract and an undecided statement for fan-favorite, Patrick Marleau’s contract.
Shortly after the offseason, San Jose received shocking news that top-forward, Evander Kane allegedly gambled on games. After an intensive, two month investigation, the NHL cleared Kane from the false allegations. Despite this, more investigations on Kane have opened up, this time around domestic abuse. With investigations till pending, he has been listed as a non-roster player by the NHL. Kane has remained a dominant figure in the NHL BLM movement since May 2020.
With the season rapidly approaching, the Sharks fans anticipate the Sharks will have a bounce back season this year. A Silver Creek fan, who has requested to be called Alex said, “I feel that this year is the year the Sharks can break the barrier. Since the season will be normal, they can dominate the Pacific Division once again.”
Alex’s claims are supported by most students in Silver Creek. However, if the Sharks want to recover their first place position they were in 2018-19, they will have to adjust with their young roster. They are a team that has great potential to win a Stanley Cup in the foreseeable future, if they can effectively use their roster.