Team Teal opens their home preseason schedule tonight at HP Pavilion against Vancouver and for several on the roster, it will be their first time wearing the teal at HP Pavilion.
Newcomers Mark Bell and Mike Grier will be in the lineup on Thursday, and while they have played against the Sharks, they have never had the Tank cheering for them.
“It should be fun tonight,” said Grier. “It’s always a good building and a fun environment and we like hearing the crowd cheering for us.”
Due to the labor situation in 2004-05, and the change in scheduling that only sends clubs to the opposite conference once every three yeas, Grier hasn’t played at HP Pavilion in three years.
One player making his HP Pavilion debut is Marc-Edouard Vlasic
, who spent the past season shining with Quebec of the QMJHL in their drive to the Memorial Cup.
The Canadian World Junior team hopeful was at camp last year, but is looking forward to playing a game in San Jose.
“I’m looking forward to my first game here,” said Vlasic. “I hear they have good fans.”
Vlasic has played before large crowds before as his Quebec club averages 8,000 per game in the regular season and sells out their 15,000 seat building in the playoffs.
“We get big crowds for the playoffs,” said Vlasic.
Blueliner Dan Spang spent four years at Boston University and could never even attend camp do to his class commitments.
“I was here in the playoffs,” said Spang. “It may not be quite like that tonight, but it should be loud. It will be a little different than Cleveland (where he played when he finished his eligibility).”
Spang has played in front of a sold out NHL building before.
“The finals of the Beanpot are always sold out and it’s loud because of all the college fans,” said Spang.
Spang did enjoy playing his first NHL exhibition on the road in Southern California.
“I thought it went really well,” said Spang. “The first period was a big adjustment, but as the game went on, I became more confident. I just tried to get the puck out and to keep it simple.
Evgeni Nabokov is expected to get his first preseason action tonight against the Canucks, with Nolan Schaefer playing as well.
On the other side, Roberto Luongo, who Vancouver acquired in a big summer trade, is on the trip, but his fellow netminder may bring back some memories for Sharks fans. Wade Flaherty, at 38-years-old, is still in the league and Sharks fans will remember is double-overtime heroics in 1995 that propelled the Sharks to a Game 7 victory in Calgary.