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Sharks know it ‘sucks’ to open Stanley Cup vs. Warriors’ Game 7

PITTSBURGH – The San Jose Sharks open the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh at against the Penguins at 5 p.m. Pacific.
The Golden State Warriors play Game 7 of their epic Western Conference Final at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder at 6 p.m. Pacific.
“It sucks,” said Sharks winger Joel Ward, hours before Game 1. “I wanted to watch the game. I was hoping it’d be tomorrow.”
It figures that for all the years the San Jose Sharks pushed for the Stanley Cup, the year they break through finds them opening almost in anonymity. The Warriors’ Game 6 rally on Saturday night peaked with an audience of 14.6 million viewers and was the highest rated and most-watched Game 6 of the WCF since Kings/Lakers on NBC in 2002, according to Sports Media Watch. Game 1 of the series posted a massive 23.4 rating in San Francisco.
So the Sharks accept the fact that there’s some local competition against their historic Stanley Cup Final debut.
“It’s a big sports night for the fans, huh?” said defenseman Brent Burns.
“I got enough worries just trying to keep my kids safe and playing hockey,” he said. “It’s always cool when you have local teams winning. I don’t really watch a lot of basketball, but you can’t help but jump on the bandwagon. And Steph Curry’s unbelievable.”
Winger Tomas Hertl said he’s a bigger fan of basketball than baseball or the NFL, but still hoped fans would choose hockey first.
“It’s not my decision, you know?” he saidl. “I want everyone in San Jose watching our game because we need every fan for us.”
Forward Tommy Wingels made his debut as a Shark in the same season Curry debuted for the Warriors.
“There’s a group of fans that are fans of both. But I think your hockey fan is a little bit different than your basketball fan,” he said. “But both teams are making the Bay Area proud, and the Bay Area will support both teams. There’s a reason you have 35 TVs at a sports bar, right?”
Ward said he’s only been to one Warriors game since signing with the Sharks last summer. “Steph was out with an ankle injury. And my girlfriend was not happy about that,” he recalled.
There is a chance Ward and the fans hoping to catch both games can do so thanks to the staggered start times. And, well, the nature of an NBA game.
“Depending on how our game goes, and their game goes, maybe,” said Ward. “The last minute of a basketball game is a little bit longer, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to see a little bit of it.”

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