The San Jose Sharks have had a great bounce back season after the black sheep that was last year. They have proven that they can challenge the best clubs in the league by beating Chicago, Washington, LA and Boston. Yet, all those teams still receive boat-loads more coverage from websites and fans. Why is that? What do other teams have that the Sharks don’t? If you look at all the factors, one will notice what teams general websites usually cover, and other things are going on in the Bay Area that are attracting the medias attention.
The Sharks have been one of the NHL’s best teams since January. In fact, “Since Jan. 9.the Sharks’ 24 wins are tied for second in the NHL behind the Anaheim Ducks’ 25… and their 120 goals are first.” per NHL.com. So why aren’t more people tweeting/writing about these guys? Well, if you’re a website, what do you think will get more clicks by the general public, a story on San Jose’s success, or why the Chicago Blackhawks are slumping? On one hand you have a smaller team from NorCal, but on the other, you have an original-six team that’s also one of the most profitable in the league. See, websites that cover a whole plethora of sports usually only report on the teams that a majority of people talk about. Because hockey isn’t nearly as popular as the NFL or NBA, smaller teams get even less coverage. Unless you’re ESPN, in which case you completely ignore that hockey is a sport and cover LeBron James instead. But, most of those websites will stick mainly to the popular and widely known teams, regardless of how those guys are doing. Sure they’ll cover a big event or story, but only so because that is what people want to read about at the moment. In the middle of the season when games are coming and going, a normal website isn’t going to care about the Sharks being one of the best teams since the New Year unless everyone is talking about it. Not a lot of people want to take the time and write a story that most people won’t read. Journalists love exposure and want the most page views. Unfortunately, because of this kind of stuff, smaller teams such as the Sharks don’t get the kind of exposure they deserve and they must truly do something impressive to break through with websites (hopefully in a good way).
But, could the Sharks location also be reason they are frequently forgotten? Normally when people think of a hockey town it’s in Canada or the East coast of America. Few would think of the West coast as a prime location for the game, primarily because of the consistently warm weather. Hockey is associated with the cold because it is played on ice, which makes sense, so places like California and Florida aren’t thought as good hockey states, despite the fact that all five of those teams are in the playoffs this season. But, it’s harder for the Sharks to break out in the news than the other teams because they are in the same jurisdiction as the Golden State Warriors, a.k.a the best NBA team in the league and last years champs. So even when the Sharks do go on a point streak or put together a couple wins at home, the general public could be focused on the big bad Warriors in the area and want to cover them instead. That leaves San Jose in Golden States shadow and they can be forgotten because of it.
With everything the Sharks have been able to accomplish this season, they really do deserve more coverage than everyone is currently giving them. To go from being 18-18-2 before January 9th and having people question whether they will miss the playoffs again, to 42-28-6 is really something. It’s sad that the team can’t seem to reach a wider range of the media, but it appears that only a Stanley Cup will make people recognize San Jose as a serious team and a serious hockey town.
*Header courtesy of wkyc.com