Tougher San Jose goalkeeper: Earthquakes' Pat Onstad (left) or Sharks' Evgeni Nabakov?

Goalkeeper's log 2004-III

I told you I would defend our sport).

Now as difficult as it is to play all these games do not forget about the avid hockey fan -- me. You see, the San Jose Sharks can only play 28 games, but there are a lot more games on television than that. I married a beautiful, intelligent woman from North Carolina; however, I'm not so sure I was completely honest about my passion for the NHL playoffs when I proposed. I think she is still in the house, but this is already the second round of the playoffs, and I probably won't notice her until a few days after the Stanley Cup is raised. My son, on the other hand, is two years old and refuses to go to sleep unless the hockey games are over (let me tell you, triple overtime makes for a cranky child the next day).

Hockey is a sport very much like ours in the sense that it is best watched live. Last year there was no better place to be than Spartan Stadium in early November with the excitement and energy of our playoff run. Although our game against Kansas City was on television, people who attended the match will never forget the dramatic late equalizer and golden goal winner that put us into the highest scoring final in MLS history (I won't even mention the atmosphere at the L.A. game). As a sports fan these are the moments that are never forgotten and turn even the casual fan into a lifelong 'believer' (I told the media staff I'd get our motto in there somewhere).

I have always loved hockey. I grew up watching "Hockey Night" in Canada on CBC every Saturday night, but it was attending a live playoff game at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver that forever got me hooked on hockey. I attended the first game of the Sharks current series against the Colorado Avalanche at the "Shark Tank" and it was an electric atmosphere. Of course, the Sharks will finish the series in four games out of respect for our game against D.C. United on Saturday and the large crowd we expect.

My prediction is the Tampa Bay Lightning will be skating against the Sharks in early June for the Stanley Cup. I'm sure the sunny states can't wait. I know I can't!

-- Pat

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