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 the Sharks' 3-2 loss in Game 1 on Monday:
I think excitement would be the biggest word to describe Game 1. It was a lot of firsts for the guys in our locker room. It's crazy to think players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, who have been in the League for 18 years and here I am in my fourth, and for them it is their first opportunity like this.
I think for us young guys, it's realizing the opportunity and the moment we have before us. We've enjoyed getting here, enjoyed every round. Think back five or six weeks ago and that's when the first round series against the Los Angeles Kings started. It's a long time. We have to realize this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that may never come again and we have to bring our best every night.
Getting to Pittsburgh two nights ago, getting off the bus and getting booed, people yelling at you when you are walking for dinner shows you hockey is obviously alive and well here in Pittsburgh. There is a lot of buzz. It's the Stanley Cup Final and we are starting to realize that more and more. Even as cliché as it sounds, we're trying to make it another game, another day. But you can tell by the atmosphere here at Consol Energy Center that it was electric and I think for us going on the road, it is awesome because we feed off that stuff. We're excited to be out there.
The first period was not the game we wanted to play. We knew they were going to come hard, but maybe not that hard. That caught us a little off guard and that is not like us. I think the message in here after the first period was that they haven't seen our best, they haven't seen Sharks hockey. We started to put our game to them in the second and we got rewarded for it. I don't think that was our best 60-minute effort by any means. It was a close game, a tight game. Both teams are in the Stanley Cup Final for a reason and I think that showed tonight. It's going to be a long series and we have to be prepared for that.
Our leadership group delivered the message after the first period, guys that have been here all year for us; Joe Pavelski, Thornton. Those guys were talking and saying that is not us, that is not our identity. Whatever you want to blame it on, the five-hour flight, the time change, we can't use those as excuses. No amount of red bull or coffee could get you as pumped up as the crowd in Game 1 of a Stanley Cup Final.
Once we found a way to get back into the game, it was a really good game. I think that is what every fan wants, that's what every hockey player dreams of, being in this kind of game and this kind of atmosphere. We saw it was as advertised, two good teams playing head-to-head. I think that was being delivered in the second and third periods. One tough little play on the Nick Bonino goal at the end is what kind of decides it.
I think we have to take the positives out of it. When we played to our identity, when we played Sharks hockey, we were getting rewarded for it. When we let our foot off the gas, we were getting burnt. We have some stuff we have to clean up, but there was a bit of a feeling-out process in the beginning. We were in a 2-0 hole and I don't think we want to do that again. Going forward, both teams are going to watch the video and both teams are going to be better, but it was a lot of fun to play in and a lot of fun to watch.