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 following practice Saturday on eve of Game 6:
SAN JOSE -- It's another day, another morning you get to wake up and play hockey. You couldn't ask for a better opportunity.
That seems to be the general mindset of us as a group as we get ready for Game 6 on Sunday. Most of our NHL friends are already four or five weeks into training or just getting back from vacation and whatnot, and here we are still in this grind of a playoff. It's been amazing.
You think about it, getting on that plane yesterday and how different the flight would have been if we were on the other end of things in Game 5. It was a five-hour flight to begin with, and then couple that with the thought of, 'Hey, we are no longer in this.' It would have been devastating. I don't think one guy in our group had a thought like that though before the game.
We had it around the room that we weren't going to let it happen Thursday night, and we found a way to get it done. A lot of the questions from the media today were about how we played so much better in Game 4 but lost and then we give up twice as many shots in Game 5 and win that game and how does that happen. I think, at the end of the day, finding a way to get the win, finding a way to get things done, is what we need to do. But we know that we have to be better in Game 6.
We flew out Friday and got back at like 1 o'clock in the afternoon Pacific time. I'd imagine guys went home and hopped right into bed for a quick little nap and then got some dinner. Now here we are back at the rink, which almost feels like our primary home with the amount of time we spend here.
Video: Practice 6/11: DeBoer
Everybody talks about the amount of travel we do and how it affects us. I guess there's pluses and minuses to the travel when you are based here. You can argue that when you play out East that maybe you are fresher during the year, but you could say for us that we have gotten used to getting in late at night, we've gotten used to the time change. Look, yesterday we're eating a six o'clock dinner and that is really 3 o'clock snack time when we were in Pittsburgh. It's something we are going to have to take as an advantage for us because we have been through this before and we have been able to manage those long road trips, those grueling five, six, seven days on the road, city to city.
So here we are, Game 6, our last game at home at the very least, and we want to be able to bring our best effort. The Shark Tank will be buzzing. The roof might pop off with how exciting it is going to be in there. We have to feed off that and get a big Game 6 win, hopefully.
Nobody wants this to end. We don't know what is in the future and what the team will be next season. It'd be interesting to see how many different teammates a guy like Patrick Marleau has had in his 19 or 20 years here. All the guys that have been in this locker room with him. You think about 25 years and this is the first team to be able to get to this point. You know, we have people coming up to us at dinner and stuff and thanking us. They say stuff like that they have been season ticket holders for 25 years and they want to thank this group for finally getting us here.
Video: Martin Jones talks with NHL Network's Jamie Hersch
For us, as a group, we still don't think we have gotten to where we want to go. We have 120 minutes of hard, grinding play here that we are going to have start playing tomorrow.
The continuous theme of this team has been writing our own story. We've been counted out a lot. In the first round, a lot of people had the Los Angeles Kings moving on. In the second round, Nashville was too fast for us. In the third round, St. Louis was too deep for us, up front and on the blue line. Now, here we were behind the 8-ball, down three games to one. I don't know what the exact stats are, but it is hard to come back from that deficit. We were able to get past stage one of that and now stage two come Sunday in Game 6. We want to win another game and earn a Game 7. It is not going to be easy, but we are going to bring our best.
I don't know if people really know the San Jose market, but there is a lot of passion for the sports teams here. There's a lot of sporting teams around here that have done well. The San Francisco Giants have won three of the past five or six World Series, the Golden State Warriors won last year and are in the NBA Finals again this year. The Raiders have a passionate fan base obviously and the 49ers too. Plus you have Stanford too. I mean, there are a lot of good teams in this area. With San Jose not having won it all yet, some people might think that the Sharks have been overlooked, but the fan base is alive and well. I think that says something right there.
People will come up to me while I eating lunch and they don't want to bug you, but they just want to say thank you for the hard work and for being part of something as a city and as an area that we can come together on and people can share with their kids and across generations.
This 25th year, we were hoping it was going to be a special year and so far it has lived up to expectations, but we have another big test on Sunday.