(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The bloggers who hated them the most. Here is are Jacob and Bobby from Surly and Scribe, fondly recalling the 2013-14 San Jose Sharks. Again, this was not written by us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don't take it so seriously.)
BY SURLY AND SCRIBE
[It is a crisp Northern California morning. A brisk wind blows a hollow tune past large tech company buildings that employ relatively few people. The fog rolls in slowly, visibility at twenty feet, a clear day in San Jose.
[Fans, in black jackets and dresses, trimmed in teal, file into the church. The Church of Latter Day Sharks, they call it. Inside, the somber crowd takes their seats before the dais. Upon it, the 6 foot 1 inch decomposing body of Owen Nolan (peace be upon him) rests on a cross, made of hockey sticks, affixed at the feet and wrists by a staple gun. Above Owen Nolan’s (pbuh) head and the accompanying frightful expression that still remains on his face, is an inscription: “Jovis Nos Fellatus” which in Latin is loosely translated as “Beat L.A.”
[Before the Great White Hope, as they call him, rests the caskets of Sharks who have perished, each one closed to avoid both the execrable sight and smell in death that accompanied them in life and which still emanates from within.
[Two figures, the only ones void of teal, stand at the podium. The crowd settles, the doors close and Bobby Scribe motions to Surly Jacob to begin the service.]
Surly: “Good evening. We are gathered here today to celebrate the… Celebrate the life of… and mourn the loss…
“We can't do this. We shouldn't do this. We all know why we are here. The San Jose Sharks are dead. You're sad and you should be. They were cut down in their prime. This was their year.
They have all the pieces.
“Or rather, they did.
“See, we are Los Angeles Kings fans. We have no love for the departed Sharks and it is, at its kindest, unseemly for those who, in life, detested the deceased to memorialize their passing from this cold earth.
“But the San Jose Sharks are more than a group of people - players, staff and fans. The San Jose Sharks are an idea and as the great Medger Evers, and I believe someone in a Batman movie, once said, "You can't kill an idea." However, as is often the case, ideas, when put to practice, must change. In that way, the idea of the San Jose Sharks as champions is very much dead and gone, not just from these 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a result of their
historic defeat by the hands of the LA Kings, but from the hearts and minds of their own.
Time for some new ideas.
“So, to eulogize the Sharks, we thought it best to enlist those who knew and loved them most, those who may have some new ideas of what it means to have been a hockey player in San Jose. First up to speak, gentle hockey fans, I give you, Tomas Hertl.”
[With a head hung low, in an ill-fitting suit, the young Shark steps up to the dais. Behind him, the large LCD screen, powered by Hewlett Packard, dissolves from the San Jose Sharks logo to a picture of their most tenured and hallowed member, Patrick Marleau.]
[Tomas reaches into his jacket and pulls out a folded paper. He clears his throat. The vibrations resonate too loudly and the LCD screen, powered by Hewlett Packard, fizzles and fades into abject darkness. Thus is the tone set for Mr. Hertl.]
Hertl: “Thank you. I am Tomas Hertl. I am hockey player. I am here to speak to all of you…”
[He turns the page.]
“I hate Dustin Brown. Dustin Brown injured my knee. Dustin Brown is jerk.
[Bobby Scribe walks up to Hertl.]
Hertl: “Dustin Brown should have been suspended. He-”
Hertl (pounding on the podium): “Dustin Brown is bad, bad guy.”
[Scribe waves his hands in front of Hertl’s face to get his attention, which he finally does.]
Scribe: “Tomas… you are here to talk about Patrick Marleau, not Dustin Brown.”
Hertl: “Patrick Marleau?”
Scribe: “Yes. Your former teammate, Patrick Marleau.”
Hertl: “The one you call Marshmarleau?”
Scribe: “Um. Yes… that one. But, you may want to stay away from that nickname today.”
Hertl: “But I want to talk Dustin Brown. He is jerk. He injured knee.”
[Hertl points to his right knee, then his left, then back to the right. He whispers.]
Hertl: “I cannot remember.”
Scribe: “That’s okay. Let’s first talk about Patrick Marleau and then, some other time, we can talk about Dustin Brown.”
Hertl: “We talk about Brown later?”
Scribe: “Yes… I promise.”
[Hertl sighs. Scribe backs away and steps to the side of the stage.]
Hertl: “I miss Patrick Marleau. He my teammate. He disappear and appear and disappear again. When I saw Patrick, I like Patrick. What I like most about Patrick is he not jerk. He not injure my knee like Dustin Brown. I hate Dustin Brown."
[Scribe runs back up and pulls the mic away.]
Hertl (leaning over Scribe into mic): “He should not play hockey. He injures people and I want injure him and-”
Scribe: “Tomas, thank you. Unfortunately, we are short on time so please, if you will, go ahead and have a seat back there and we will get the next Shark player up here.”
Hertl: “Did Tomas say wrong thing?”
Scribe: “No, no, you were great Tomas. Clearly, you don’t like Dustin Brown because he injured your vagina, er, your knee, we all realize that more than ever.”
Hertl: “Dustin Brown is jerk!”
Scribe: “Yes, yes, he is.”
[Scribe motions Surly over.]
Scribe (to Surly): “Who’s next?"
Surly: “Thank you, Scribe. What a tearjerker, ladies and gentlemen. I haven't seen Tomas so upset since Dustin-“
Surly: “Right, next up, to honor the memory of someone dear to all your hearts, joe - with a lower case - Pavelski, is Matthew Nieto. Matthew, if you would.”
[Nieto quickly hops up from his seat and runs past Surly.]
Surly: “Um, Matt, where are you going?”
Nieto (Stopping): “Sorry, you have a big nose and weren't moving, I thought you were Robyn Regehr.”
[Surly curses to himself and steps away. Nieto takes his place at the mic, straightens his bowtie.]
Nieto: “I've been asked today to talk about someone who I only met recently, but has had a big impact on my life as a hockey player, joe Pavelski. joe taught me a great many things about the NHL, like how to find the soft spots in the ice when you don't have the puck and what it takes to cut across the top of the circles with speed down the wing. He also taught me some valuable lessons about what it takes to disappear during big games. If it weren't for him, I would have had only like four other people to learn that from. Carrying the weight of the Sharks' logo on my jersey, I really hope I can live up to his legacy moving forward.
“joe’s wisdom didn't stop at the rink. He also showed me how to handle certain things that you never have to deal with until you become a famous athlete, often showing me how not to do things, so that I could learn the right way to do them. He was very selfless like that. For example, until I met joe, I thought it was good to show a little teeth when posing for a photo.
[Nieto whips out a clicker and presses a button. The LCD screen, suddenly brought to you by SAP, buzzes to life with a new photo.]
Nieto: “Look at that fresh, stupid face, right out of the draft. I'm glad joe showed me how silly I looked.”
[He presses the button again and the picture dissolves to a new one.]
Nieto: “They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to joe Pavelski, his pictures are worth just two: button up.”
[Nieto turns and looks at the photo of Pavelski behind him. A tear comes to his eye and with a fat, quivery upper lip he turns back to the audience.]
Nieto: “You know, looking at that face reminds me of a story. It was earlier this year and we were having a team skate, no coaches, just for fun, you know? Anyway, Joe Thornton scored this really nice goal and then he drops his pants and starts stroking his penis. Well, I was just horrified, I'm from Long Beach, California and thought this was the kind of thing that only happened in San Diego, but there he was, Joe Thornton, getting paid millions of dollars to stroke his penis on the ice. But Pavelski, man, he really knew how to lighten the mood, so he drops his pants and starts stroking his penis too. Well we all just laughed and laughed, except for Brent Burns, who just got really flush... Hah, I swear, that big, bear-like beard of his turned redder than Raffi Torres. Anyway, I thought that was a funny story and a fitting ending to the life of a guy who really took his nickname to heart.
“Goodbye, Little joe, I'll miss you.”
Scribe: “Thank you Matthew for that inspiring obituary on joe Pavelski. Now, Sharks fans and gentlemen, I ask Jason Demers to say a few words about Dan Boyle.”
[Many place teal handkerchiefs over their nose and mouth and offer muffled sounds of grief and tears. One particularly large Asian woman bolts up and starts to tear off her clothes while she wails.]
Enormous woman: “Dan cannot be gone! He is alive, he is with us! Dan would never leave us!”
[Large, sloppy breasts collide with one another as the woman goes into hysterics. She proudly sports a giant “22” on her belly.]
[Surly and Scribe stare in disbelief.]
Scribe: “Jacob, you wanna get this one?”
Surly: “&!%& you! You see the size of that mammal? Call security.”
[The woman makes a b-line for Dan Boyle’s casket. Before Scribe makes the call, security arrives, lead by Greg Wyshynski who tackles the woman, grabs her by the breasts and pulls her toward the back and into a different room.
[Jason Demers walks up and points to himself, as if to ask if he is now up. Scribe nods his head and Jason takes his place at the podium.]
Demers: “Yit’gadal v’yit’kadash sh’mei raba. B’al’ma di v’ra khir’utei v’yam’likh mal’khutei b’chayeikhon-”
Scribe: “What the &!%& did he say?
Surly: (to Scribe) “He is part Jewish. ” (then, to Demers) “I got you, but dude, it’s San Jose. They can’t even get their pastrami right at SAP Center.”
[Demers gives Surly a big thumbs up and finally speaks some English.]
Demers: “I am here to talk about our dearly departed, Dan Boyle-”
[A scream comes from a back room, followed by Wyshynski yelling for a harpoon.]
Demers: “Those who know Dan Boyle well know that the dark and angry ending is not who he is and was to all of us. Yes, he was paid nearly $7 million dollars per year to not rise to the level of Drew Doughty’s jock… a fine jock that it is… but we knew Dan for his intangibles, those that didn’t appear on the score sheet, stats, or anytime a game was on the line.”
[Sounds of weeping come from the audience.]
Demers: “Although Dan is no longer with us and we will miss him, at least he left us with a Cup to his name… with the Tampa Bay Lightning… And let us not forget to THANK Owen Nolan…”
Audience: “PEACE BE UPON HIM!”
Demers: “…that Dan is an unrestricted free agent and thus, his resurrection will be outside of San Jose, where he shall be loved, cherished and forgotten as he was here. Thank you.”
[Scribe walks up to Jason and shakes his hand for a fine eulogy.]
Surly: “Oh boy, this goodbye is going to be a tough one. To eulogize your captain, Joe Thornton, please welcome to the stage, Logan Cou-
[A random voice cries out from the audience.]
[Surly: “Who said that? Look, there are a lot of Jewish stereotypes that may have some truth to them, but calling us rats is just plain mean.]
Voice: “No, look, a rat!”
Surly: “Ah, of course. Mr. Couture?”
[Logan Couture sniffs around and finds his way to the microphone.]
Couture: “I feel like my heart has been ripped out. As a center myself, Joe… Thornton, the one with the big… well, Joe, you know, he was… such a great… brought home the gold… all the assists, such passing and…”
[Couture stops and stares - well, squints really - into the crowd with a long, lost look. Perhaps he had a seizure, some in the crowd wonder. Others, who know him best, realize he is paying his respects to Joe Thornton. Mimicry is after all, the highest form of flattery.]
[The silence lasts what feels like forever. The onlookers start to get restless. Surly uneasily walks up to Logan and whispers something in his ear.
[Logan snaps out of it and nearly bites Surly’s nose off. Surly backs away slowly.]
Couture: “Surly’s right, people. We don’t have to let Joe’s lack of killer instinct, his weak words as a captain, his taking cues from the Raffi Torres’ and Matt Cooke’s of the world get our spirits down. We are proud Sharks, and there are a lot of winners on this team. And dammit, Drew Doughty is my friend and that ought to count for something!”
[Couture grabs the mic and tries to drop it, but, being fixed to the podium, his hand just slides off it. So he tries again. And again. And it’s starting to look like a Sharks playoff powerplay, though to the crowd, it just looks like he is stroking the microphone - a final tribute to the man they called “Jumbo”.
[When Couture breaks into hysterical tears, creating a veritable waterfall dripping from his front teeth, Surly escorts the broken young man off the stage.]
Scribe: “Last and certainly, as on ice performance goes, least, come some words about Antti Niemi or as his teammates affectionately called him, ‘Nemo’… after a small, helpless fish who got lost in the ocean and made a friend with another fish who suffered from post concussion syndrome… Alex, can you come up and say some words about Nemo?”
[Alex Stalock steps to the podium and, with a big, goofy smile on his face breaks into the Cabbage Patch.] Scribe leans over to him.]
Scribe: “Psst. Hey, it’s probably best to limit the enthusiasm. Some may be offended.”
[Stalock pulls a Quennville and grabs his crotch.]
Stalock: “Don’t worry, I got this.”
[Scribe walks away and joins Surly.
[Stalock pauses and looks around. He suddenly belts out.]
Stalock: “WHAT’S UP SHARKS NATION!?!?”
[Dead silence in the crowd. Some look around in confusion.]
Stalock: “As your new number one goaltender, I just want to say what an HONOR it is to FINALLY have an opportunity to lead this team to great things.”
[Stone-faced expressions linger.]
Stalock: “Yes, I know you placed your hope on Nemo but that fish is wrapped in day old newspaper, stinks to all hell and has been tossed in the can! It’s time for something new, something different, something… NEW! Like, winning in the post season! WOOT WOOT! YOU EXCITED!?!?”
[Nothing from the crowd.]
Stalock: “Okay, okay, I could sit here and talk about Nemo but is that really what he would want? Would he want us to fawn over him, give him unmerited praise, NO I SAY! I think Nemo would have liked us to remember him, as others have… to call onto him, wherever he may be, in the manner he is most accustomed.
Scribe: “What the %^%$ is he doing?
Surly: “Don’t know but let him go… this could get interesting.”
Stalock: “Antti! Wherever you now may be! We miss you our brother. And we honor you with…
Scribe: “Holy s*!& he went there!”
Surly: “Hooollllyyyy s*!&, he %*&!%$# went there!”
A few from the crowd join in: “Nieeeemmmmiiii…”
Surly joins in: “NIEEEEEMMMMIIII”
Stalock: THAT’S THE SPIRIT! NIEEEEMMMMIIIII!!”
[Soon, the entire place erupts into that which defines Antti’s career with the Sharks.]
[Suddenly the doors of the church open and bright, white light shines upon the chanting masses. A hush falls and the church takes on the uncomfortable quality of a Shark Tank. A silhouetted figure stands in the threshold
[It steps forwards.
[As it moves down the aisle, murmurs cascade throughout the stunned group.]
“Can it be?”
“They said he was dead."
“No, I don’t believe it.”
[Todd McLellan walks up to the dais. His finely tailored suit glistens and sparkles along with his salt and pepper hair. He looks over the crowd with a benevolent smirk. He turns to the corpse of Nolan and, with a hand over his heart, bows his head in respect.
[The crowd whispers.]
Crowd: “Peace be upon him."
McLellan: “Peace be upon him.”
[The Shark coach turns back to the crowd. Everyone listens with the utmost of attention. You could hear Raffi Torres’ head drop.]
McLellan: “It would seem, my dear congregation, that the report of my death was an exaggeration. As you can see, I stand before you now, not dead, but risen, like the Phoenix, from the ashes of fire I have wrought. I have been to the other side, my friends, my fans, my players, and I bring you now a message which I hope shall bring you comfort in this time of pain.
[McLellan straightens his posture, shrugs his shoulders and removes his jacket. The crowd audibly gasps.
[There stands McLellan in a Vancouver Canucks jersey.]
McLellan: “GO CANUCKS!”
[The crowd comes to life. Rage and bile and vitriol spew fluently from the mouths of the forlorn San Jose fan base. They storm the stage. McLellan runs for the back exit. Surly and Scribe yell for order! But no one will listen. The caskets are turned over. The bodies of Marleau, Thornton, Boyle, Niemi and Pavelski splay out and are trampled. The scene is chaos. Surly and Scribe are knocked out.
[Later they would come to in a Denny’s on 1st Street with a hell of a headache, next to a snoring San Jose denizen with more tattoos on his face than hair on his head.
[Meanwhile, back at the church, the dust settles.
[A few dead bodies lay strewn about. One man rises from the rumble.
[Doug Wilson looks around and says to no one in particular.]
Wilson: “So. It’s left to me to clean this s*!& up.”