Sharks early schedule will be road-heavy; Wilson apologizes

Sharks early schedule will be road-heavy; Wilson apologizes
January 8, 2013, 9:00 am
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"We have friends at restaurants, people that work in the building. There’s been a real impact. That’s beyond unfortunate. It’s sad and it’s been real." -- Sharks GM Doug Wilson

The NHL has yet to reveal its 48-game shortened schedule, but some details are starting to emerge about what the Sharks could be looking at, at least early on.

In the original 82-game slate, San Jose was set to visit Dallas on Jan. 19, the date that most feel will be the NHL’s opening night. It’s a very strong possibility the schedule makers leave that one alone, for simplicity’s sake.

A source has told CSNCalifornia.com that the Sharks have been told to prepare for a home opener on Jan. 24.

The HP Pavilion is booked on Jan. 20-21 with Harlem Globetrotters and WWE events, so expect the Sharks’ second game to be on the road, too. Originally, the team planned to visit St. Louis on Jan. 22, and with that being a short flight from Dallas, it might make sense to leave that one on the calendar, too. The Blues would have been wrapping up a three-game homestand with that game against the Sharks, so with the Scottrade Center open, it wouldn’t be surprising if that game was moved up a day to Jan. 21. That would leave time for the Sharks to possibly squeeze in one more road game before returning home.

[RELATED: How a shortened NHL season changes the game]

The Sharks had wildly different results against Dallas and St. Louis last season. Against the Stars, San Jose was 5-0-1, with the lone defeat coming in a shootout. Against the Blues, the Sharks lost all four regular season matchups and then four out of five in a first round playoff loss.

The Sharks will also vacate the building for the SAP Open for the final time from Feb. 11-17. That event will move to Rio de Janeiro starting in 2014.

Of course, there’s still a chance the whole schedule gets blown up and rewritten in its entirety, and the full schedule isn’t expected to be released until the end of the week. It will also certainly feature games within the Western Conference only.

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Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, a copy of the new CBA in his right hand, spoke with the media on Monday and offered an apology on behalf of everyone involved with the NHL’s embarrassing four-month shutdown.

[RELATED: Sharks fans remain faithful during lockout]

“It’s important, and it’s a sincere apology, too,” Wilson said. “Our players, staff, all of our people – we care about our community, and it’s had an impact.”

“I think people know that our feelings are sincere when it comes to that. But I also know the impact it’s had on the community. We have friends at restaurants, people that work in the building. There’s been a real impact. That’s beyond unfortunate. It’s sad and it’s been real. All of us included in this game, and this is speaking for the game, do owe an apology that our fans had to go through this and the people that were impacted by it. It’s the truth.”