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Your Stanley Cup Bandwagon Cheat Sheet: How to Sound Like a Knowledgeable Sharks Fan

A glossary of terms.

This is Sharkie, the mascot of your new favorite team.


What a time for Bay Area sports. Even with the Golden State Warriors giving their fans a heart attack every other night, we’ve got a local rooting interest in at least one finals matchup: the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks. So whether you’re a lifelong puckhead or just a fair-weather fan, it’s finally time to jump aboard the Sharkies’ bandwagon. 

With that in mind, it’s important to at least sound like you know what you’re talking about. We’ve come up with a few terms you’ll want to be sure you know while watching the boys lace ’em up in the Stanley Cup finals, beginning Monday night in Pittsburgh against the Eastern Conference champion Penguins.

Barn: Shorthand for any hockey arena. In this context, the SAP Center in San Jose (originally built for $163 million) can be referred to as “our barn.”

Bucket: A helmet.

Captain America: Unofficial nickname of Sharks captain and US Olympic team center Joe Pavelski, who, if you haven’t been paying attention lately, is San Jose’s—and possibly the United States’—best player. Pavelski is one of two finalists to be featured on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 17 video game; the other is St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko, who San Jose just vanquished in the semifinals. Feel free calling him Pavs, The Big Pavelski, or Little Joe, as well. 

The Cow Palace: The Sharks called the old barn in Daly City home for their first two seasons, back when the team really sucked. To sound like a real fan, claim to have gone to a game there. Make reference to players like Kelly Kisio, Pat Falloon, or Arturs Irbe.

Dangle: A hockey move in which a player displays some fancy stickhandling with the puck. Brent Burns has sick dangle, you should say as he dip-si-doo’s around some poor defender.

The greatest tradition in sport: At the conclusion of every hockey series, players on the two teams line up for the ceremonial handshake, just like you did in Little League. Hockey fans take inordinate pride in this tradition.

Hoser: A Canadian euphemism for “loser.” Traditionally, the losing team in a pond hockey game (or, more realistically, a game played on a flooded and frozen surface) was responsible for hosing down the ice so it’d be smooth for the next day’s games. Go wild calling people hoser in your best Canadian accent. 

Patty’s: The bar two blocks away from the SAP Center and traditional pregame watering hole for Sharks fans. Mention how you slammed two sausages and a Molson there before footing it back to the Tank in time for puck drop.

Playoff beards: Another hockey-only tradition, players grow out their beards for as long as their playoff run lasts. Joe Thornton and Brent Burns have taken this to new extremes this season, as both are sporting caveman beards that’d put former Giants closer Brian Wilson to shame.

Power play: The two minutes of ice-time when the opposing team has had a player sent off for a penalty. Describe the Sharks’ power play as the key to the entire series. You can’t go wrong here: The power play is always the key to the entire series. 

Ray Bourque: Refer liberally to former Boston Bruins great Ray Bourque, who, in his 22nd pro season finally won his first Stanley Cup. Bourque has become shorthand for any long-suffering veteran gunning for his first Stanley Cup championship. The Sharks have two such players in Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, the two longest-tenured (and objectively the greatest) players in Sharks history, neither of whom has ever hoisted the Cup.

Salad: A player’s hair. This is what’s under a player’s bucket.

Sid the Kid: Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, hockey’s heir apparent to Wayne Gretzky. Acknowledge his greatness—he’s a Stanley Cup winner, MVP, and Olympic gold medalist—but be prepared to hate his guts.

-sy: To sound like a real hockey fan, be sure to add –sy to any player’s name. See: Burnsy, Jonesy, Braunsy, Dillsy, et al. For names that don’t lend themselves to this treatment, simply abbreviate as you see fit: Cootch (Logan Couture), Pickles (Mark-Edouard Vlasic), Patty (Patrick Marleau), and so on.

There’s something different about these Sharks: A common utterance among Sharks fans, typically voiced around January every year, as the pain of last season’s playoff flameout has finally subsided and you’ve talked yourself into once again believing in their chances this year. (This inevitably proves false.) Maybe this is the season, though? 

This is dream: The surprisingly poetic line spoken by Czech forward Tomas Hertl (the Teenage Mutant Ninja Hertl) after scoring four goals in a game his rookie season, with his mother in the crowd. No, Tomas: This is dream.


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