New 'lively' boards at HP to benefit Sharks?

New 'lively' boards at HP to benefit Sharks?
September 23, 2011, 6:07 pm
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Ever since the Sharks moved to HP Pavilion in 1993, there have been constant improvements to the building. New scoreboard, new video screens, and a new sound system... all to enhance the experience of the fan. However, this summer the biggest upgrade might go to the players, with the first brand-new installation of hockey boards and glass since the arena opened 18 years ago. And with change... well... comes change.
"They are more lively," Sharks captain Joe Thornton told me. "It will be a nice home ice advantage, you know we'll get used to those boards. It's going to be good for us.Good for the Sharks, as soon as they can get accustomed to longer rebounds, and play them to an advantage."The boards are a little bit faster," said Joe Pavelski. "It's fun when the puck comes off faster and ends up in the middle of the rink quicker, that's where a lot of the goals are scored from. Things just happen faster."Another benefit of the new system is the glass; which actually has built-in flex and improved 'give' in its connection to the walls... giving players a little more cushion when dishing and receiving body checks. Pavelski went on to call the new glass "friendly."Friendly, is also what the new glass will be for fans, for several reasons. First, the stanchions between panes are now clear instead of metal, causing less of an obstruction. Secondly, the panes are much bigger in proportion, generating less of those obstructions. And lastly, the clarity of the glass is noticeably good with its young age. All of this comes in the same Summer that many other rinks around the NHL with 'seamless' glass systems have been removed. Their construction required too much rigidity with almost no 'give' or flexibility, and although fans preferred them, they were not safe enough for the Players Association. From what I heard, players were never fond of them.Head Coach Todd McLellan says even after just one scrimmage on the new system, he's got reaction from his players, mixed in with his own impressions."You could see the boards are a lot more lively. Coming off the end wall, I think our goaltenders and our defensemen have to experience that a little bit and get used to it," said McLellan. In order to grow more familiar, the Sharks will do something a little unconventional before their home opener on October 8th.According to the Head Coach: "We'll look at practicing in this building a few times before we play some home games. It's our home rink, our home ice surface. We should know it better than anybody."