Strong all throughout 2013-14, the San Jose Sharks were one game away from eliminating last year's Stanley Cup champion, the team revered league-wide for winning two of the last three Cups. Then their top defenseman got hurt, they lost the series and suddenly the previous 85 games did not exist.
They responded by stripping the "C" from their captain (again), dropping hints that their last two captains were on the trading block, trading the rights to Dan Boyle to some team that found two better defensemen on Oct. 4 anyway.
Oh, and they signed John Scott. Who scored in his first game of the season because of course he did. Hockey.
The Sharks are still good, should still be good, though their bottom six and particularly bottom three would make even the biggest critics of the Islanders' fourth line say, "Actually I'm fine, thanks!"
The Sharks play -- and do well -- in the West, so they are to be feared by default. But maybe the Islanders are ready and the Sharks are road-weary and...oh hey, Calvin de Haan is back! Looks like he'll ease back in on the third pairing, where he'll have to mind Brian Strait.
"There’s no question, if you ask any management or coach in the league, when you have a young player, if you have healthy bodies or guys that are veteran guys that going to log quite a bit of minutes, you don’t want to have a guy here that is going to be the seventh or eighth defenseman," Capuano said. "You want him playing."
In case that still needs restating.
He’s fit right in.
Oh no, not him too!
From Fear the Fin, the expected:
Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Matt Nieto
Tye McGinn - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels
John Scott - Andrew Desjardins - Adam Burish
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Mirco Mueller - Brent Burns
Matt Irwin - Jason Demers