Hate Blogging and A Few Opinions

UPDATE #2: Nichol’s contract is for one year, $750,000. Definitely a better investment than Goc, but it’s still a lot to pay for a guy who is a little too small for his role and will likely end up injured by mid season…

UPDATE #1: The signing of 34 year old Scott Nichol (see post below:  The Most Substantiated Rumor Yet) is finally official after being announced by trusted blogger/Sharks reporter David Pollack a week or so ago. He brings some grit and a little experience to our roster (despite being undersized). But this could also foreshadow an imminent goodbye to one of the big four. Nichol is prone to concussions (missed much of last year with one) and other injuries, meaning the Sharks will need to hit the twenty-three man roster for a potential long-term injury scenario.

Generally, I like to read pretty much everything I can that hints at what the Sharks are planning. However, during today’s search I came upon this entry from a PAID blogger on Hockeybuzz (in case you can’t tell, it’s a hockey website. It has some intelligent fans/bloggers and one of the better hockey forums out there. Read this article by Ryan Garner before you continue: How the Boyle and Blake Acquisitions Wrecked the Sharks. If you have no interest in that, scroll down to the bullets labeled irrelevant.

Now this absolutely infuriated me. Especially when you look at the stats and productivity of last year: Rivet’s was injured most of last season, Campbell has been a complete flop since the bidding war that won him away from us, and McLaren even spent a portion of last season on the IR after breaking his hand. Not too mention Carle was shaky at best the majority of the year (although he seemed to settle himself in with the Flyers at the end), Ozo is in Russia, and Sem improved quite a bit. When you compare those two groupings of defenders keeping in mind the last season, I will stick with ours every time.

First, I realistically see Boyle as the future captain of the team, and believe he has done more for our ability to move the puck through the zones than Campbell, one of the best handlers in the league. I also believe Blake has played very well. Not $3.5 million well (DW could have gotten him for $2.5 for sure) but keeping him out of LA is priceless. Last year, as the stars faded towards the end of the year (you can see Joe’s and Paddy’s production slump), these two continued to power the offense and allowed the Sharks to finish with the President’s Trophy parting gift rather than just the sting of a quick elimination in the first round.

The real reason for the cap problems is entirely due to non-producing players having too large of contracts. Ehrhoff, Cheechoo and Michalek are my key three examples. Between their salaries (nearly $12 million), the Sharks could field a third and fourth line, a six and seven D, a backup goalie and even have a little room at the end to allow us a few of those players be of a higher skill. Not to mention each of these guys will undoubtedly benefit from a change of scenery. Essentially, they could add general depth to the roster, which would neutralize the effect of match ups against the 1 and 2 lines (allowing Joe and Patrick a little more room to make something happen) while essentially doing a good deed by granting the ‘wash-ups’ a fresh start.

If this cap dump were to come to fruition, I would be more than happy to see Joslin and McGinn fill the 22 and 23 spots on the roster (total salary hit $1.5 million), thus allowing the Sharks some healthy scratches and room for brief injuries/fatigue. This would also alleviate the cap constraints for next year, enabling them to resign Pavelski, Setoguchi, and even Marleau if he makes it through this summer.

Now to defend the farm system. Despite the lack of draft picks in recent years and the continual shifting of prospects for talent, one needs to examine the trades for minors. We have actually picked up a few sought after junior UFAs who along with the other Woostah guys should statistically be able to shift over during the next three years—the only worry being the harsh words of teammates about their skill (Google Sexsmith).

So Ryan Garner, and I know you will never read this (I’m a random college student after all), but I agree with you—there are many moves to criticize. The signing of Claude Lemieux that resulted in one more bonus being paid out this year, giving Clowe and Blake $3.5 and Huskins nearly $2, and even Murray at $2.5 is quite a bit (although statistically he is our best defensive defender). But every bit counts. You reduce each salary by the appropriate amount and you just purchased a solid backup goaltender or a four to nine wing. Or you are able to get slightly better players to fill out our lines.

But no matter how you look at it, you cannot legitimately claim that Boyle and Blake haven’t helped the team. How you could possibly prefer the old set up after observing their current ability is absurd, more so than giving Cheechoo a higher contract because he won the Rocket however many years ago. It is easy for anyone to say ‘what if’ retrospectively. But you have attacked the organization, albeit it was useless and incorrect, and it has offended me enough to speak for all faithful Sharks fans looking for hope for next season. So please, help me comprehend this: how can you claim be a fan despite your blatant ‘hate blogging?’

I can nearly guarantee that one day you will be raving about the great captain Boyle has made. And under his leadership, if DW is somehow able to salvage the core through the end of this season, the Shark’s best bet at a cup will be under his Nolan/Ricci style passion, willingness to attack on offense and any semblance of a heart that he has managed to reinstate in this organization. Whatever you say about Blake is debatable (probably could have been as successful with Rivet with a smaller salary), but Boyle is the first player I have seen in San Jose during my however many years of being aware of the sport of hockey that has both his unmatchable skill as well as a commitment to the team and its success.

Notes:

Relevant:

  • There are plenty of teams who want Ehrhoff.
  • Michalek and Cheechoo would probably have to be packaged (Cheech needs an established center to make him a desired acquisition, something many teams do not have two of).
  • McLaren was acquired by Philly, but was waved as he failed the physical. I do not know his current status.
  • Why is no one discussing Joe’s lack of conditioning. Maybe give him less playing time during the year? He hasn’t been in peak condition since his first two years here (when he got Cheechoo the Rocket).

Irrelevant:

  • Nolan has one year left on his contract and has expressed his desire season after season to return to the organization. If the situation cannot be rectified this season, DW might as well send $2.75 his way and bring him back. Give us fans something to cheer for.
  • I saw something that I at first chalked off to being ridiculous, but I have pondered since—supposedly a trade that was ‘leaked’ by an inside source at Toronto. Any thoughts? Definitely not a good call in terms of talent. But it rests on what you think Joe can really do.

Rumour from my friend who works in MLSE head office:
To SJ: Matt Stajan, Toronto’s 3rd Round in 2010, Phil Kessel
To BOS: Tomas Kaberle, Ian White
To TOR: Joe Thornton, Aaron Ward and Boston’s 4th Round in 2010

SJ picks up a utility 2nd line centre, and a good winger for Marleau with a lot of cap relief.
Boston picks up a third top-line D while off-loading a potentially huge contract in Kessel.
Toronto picks up Thornton, but eats Ward’s salary.

Right now SJ is on board but they’re still talking to Boston.” – danfromwaterloo on Hockeybuzz

(another note, his favorite team is Toronto. Just one more reason to doubt its reliability)

  • Apparently Edmonton is optimistic about Heatley agreeing to wave his NMC clause tonight and be traded over. One thing I just can’t quite comprehend: why pay $7.5 million for someone who doesn’t even want to play for you?
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~ by mitchsolomon on July 14, 2009.

One Response to “Hate Blogging and A Few Opinions”

  1. Right!
    Right-minded with a view you beloved!

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