The San Jose Sharks, already two-fifths of the way through their road trip this month against Eastern Conference teams, are going to have to get used to playing away from home, at least for the next few weeks.
The Sharks’ five-game road trip continues Tuesday night in Detroit against the Red Wings and ends with stops in Carolina on Friday and Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The Sharks’ last home game was Jan. 18 against the Dallas Stars, and their next home game isn’t until Feb. 14 when they host the Penguins.
Why so long away from home for the Sharks?
Part of it has to do with the rescheduled U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which San Jose was originally supposed to host in 2021. However, in Nov. 2020, eight months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Figure Skating made the decision to relocate the 2021 championships to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, and make SAP Center the host of the 2023 event.
The weeklong championships occupy the downtown arena every day this week until Sunday night.
After this week, following the NHL All-Star Game festivities in Sunrise, Florida from Feb 3-4, the Sharks’ next game isn’t until Feb. 7 in Tampa Bay. That’s followed by games on Feb. 9 in Florida and Feb. 12 – Super Bowl Sunday – in Washington.
After the figure skating championships conclude, SAP Center hosts concerts by Los Temerarios and JJ Lin on Feb. 3 and 7, respectively, before Disney on Ice moves in for shows from Feb. 9-12.
A Sharks spokesman said the team didn’t request to start its post-all-star break schedule on the road. However, the NHL usually tries to wrap up all of the Sharks’ road games against Eastern Conference teams by the end of February.
Only 11 of the Sharks’ final 28 games will be on the road.
Being away from home this long isn’t completely unusual for the Sharks. Last season, the Sharks had a four-game road trip prior to the all-star break and after a bye week, they went 22 days between games in San Jose.
The season before, the Sharks, due to Santa Clara County’s ban on contact sports, began the year with 12 straight road games and didn’t at home until a month after the season began.
The one good thing about this year’s schedule for the Sharks? Only 11 of their final 28 games will be on the road.
Besides, maybe being away from home isn’t such a bad thing for the Sharks, who are 5-12-7 at SAP Center this season.