Tonight’s game: San Jose at Bruins 7 p.m.

sanjose_sharks_logoBOSTON — San Jose’s visit to TD Banknorth Garden for tonight’s clash with the Boston Bruins is going to inspire a lot of people to look back at what was and what could’ve been in terms of the trade of Joe Thornton and the road both franchises have traveled since.

But I’m here to tell you that those thoughts are just a waste of brain cells. This game is all about what is and what will be. The Bruins and Sharks are 1-2 in the NHL overall standings, respectively. They could meet in the 2009 Stanley Cup final. Both clubs have reached this point via different routes, but that’s what this game is all about. It’s not about the struggles the Bruins had to finally emerge from their post-Thornton doldrums or the postseason failures San Jose has endured even with Thornton centering their top line.

How will each team fine tune at the trade deadline? How healthy will both teams be heading into the postseason? Which will win the Presidents’ Trophy and can both hang onto the top spot in their respective conferences? Who’s the better team right now? Those are the only questions that should be asked when the Sharks and Bruins take the ice. One of them (which team is better?) will be determined tonight. It’s 2009 and talking about the Thornton trade and what the Bruins got in return and how the superstar went on to win the Hart Trophy is so 2005 is just so 2006.

So focus on the here and now, and enjoy what should be the best game of the ’08-09 regular season to date. Leave the history to the historians.

Season series: This is the one and only meeting scheduled for the regular season between the Bruins and Sharks. The last time the Sharks visited Boston they thumped the Bruins, 6-2, in 2006. Boston won at San Jose in the lone meeting between the clubs last season, 2-1, at HP Pavilion.

What they’re writing: David Pollak of the Mercury News reports that the Bruins and Sharks have been keeping tabs on each other. Sharks radio play-by-play man Dan Rusanowsky blogs about the huge game.

San Jose Player to Watch: The heck with “Jumbo Joe.” The most exciting forward in the Sharks’ line-up is second-year winger Devin Setoguchi. He’s third on the team behind his linemates Thornton and Patrick Marleau with 22-24-46 totals. He’s been a force on the power play with six goals and made sure that the Sharks have had one of the best top lines in the league almost from Day One of the season. With only four goals in his last 13 games, Setoguchi is obviously looking to break out and do it soon.

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