Devin Cooley

Cooley achieves ‘special' NHL dream in Sharks debut vs. Blackhawks

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Editor's Note: Sheng Peng will be a regular contributor to NBC Sports California’s Sharks coverage. You can read more of his coverage on San Jose Hockey Now, listen to him on the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast, and follow him on Twitter at @Sheng_Peng

CHICAGO – There is no doubt, the San Jose Sharks fanbase needs to be re-energized.

For the fifth straight year, the Sharks will miss the playoffs. For the second straight season, they’ll be the only team drawing less than 80 percent capacity at home.

And as tonight’s opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks, just showed, what simpler shot in the arm for a struggling franchise than to get the No. 1 pick?

I couldn’t help but think that as the Sharks jumped out to a 2-0 lead against the Blackhawks, off goals from Ryan Carpenter and Klim Kostin. San Jose and Chicago are vying for the best Draft lottery odds once again.

Of course, presumed 2024 first-overall pick Macklin Celebrini is no Connor Bedard, selected first in the 2023 Draft.

Generational talent Bedard, more than anybody, is responsible for taking the Hawks from 83.7 percent capacity at United Center in 2022-23 to 95.3 this season.

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