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Stanley Cup Final

Dillon says Sharks find confidence heading home

In blog, defenseman talks card games on flight and comfort of playing at SAP Center

by Brenden Dillon / Special to

San Jose defenseman Brenden Dillon will be keeping his own blog throughout the course of the Stanley Cup Final. Dillon will check in after games and on some of the off days in between games.

Here is Dillon's blog from Friday, the day before Game 3:

It's a little out of the ordinary to have a five-hour flight between games like yesterday. There's a lot of time to think about Game 3, to unwind. I think it is beneficial for both of those things. If things don't go your way like they didn't in Games 1 and 2, you can forget about those and move on during the flight. A seven-game series, as we have learned in the past five or six weeks, there are going to be highs and lows. You have to remember that it doesn't matter if you win 11-0 or 1-0, it is still a win or a loss either way.

I think getting back into San Jose on Friday, getting into your own bed, your own place, own comfortability, getting on the ice back in our facility, there is a sense that you are home and you are in a place where you have some confidence playing in.

On the plane, I am a big cards guy. We have one card table in the back of the plane and we get five or six guys that are on there. Joe Thornton has the cards dealing before you are even out of your suit and into your comfortable sweats. It makes time go by really quickly. You are able to get your mind on something else. Some guys will be watching TV shows, movies, playing games on their phones. We are pretty lucky in the NHL to travel the way we do and are fortunate to be able to share with your teammates and kind of get away from hockey for a bit when you are on those flights, especially here in San Jose where we fly so much. We play 7 up, 7 down, which is like a trump game and then we also play Shnarps, which is a pretty popular game with hockey players. It's basically five cards and you are trying to guess the suit. Jumbo is religiously the scorekeeper; he's kind of the leader of the pack. It's me, Logan Couture, Jumbo, Martin Jones and Nick Spaling; those are the guys that are usually back there. There is usually a couple of different games going on across the plane and you can hear the hooting and hollering and know who is winning the games. It's pretty fun and they are a great group of guys. A great travel group.

The atmosphere around the Stanley Cup Final is amazing. You need to walk through a maze to find your stall because there are so many reporters. It's something where you understand the magnitude of where you are at, which can get lost in the shuffle. We're trying to treat it like another game, but it is the Stanley Cup Final. There are two teams left. I know if I was at home right now, I'd probably be watching these games.

I've never had that many people watching our practices here in San Jose. It's obviously a brand new experience for the Sharks organization. Having this much media, seeing the Don Cherry's around, you know that means its business here. It's crazy to think that here we are playing hockey in June, but it is the goal of every training camp. Maybe, being down two games is not the ideal spot, but we have a great opportunity ahead of us.

I can't imagine what the "Shark Tank" will be like for Game 3. I can't even put into words how loud it is going to be Saturday. It's known around the League as one of the loudest buildings. Every player that comes in here, it's the same message; the first five minutes, the first five or 10 minutes we have to weather the storm. We don't even realize we are coming as hard as we are in those first five or 10 minutes. We are so jacked up from skating out from the Shark head, the unbelievable pre-game show. We don't get to see that stuff, but we hear about it from our friends and family. You are sitting there in the dressing room trying to get ready for the game and all you hear is the loud clapping and screaming. When you get out there, that's the only thing that matters in life. When you are out there and it's your shift, it's a tough feeling to really describe. There is no other place you would rather be.

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