Some Uncharacteristic Sensibility

UPDATE: Take it as you will:


Amid the Heatley, Halak and Plekanec trade rumors, another name is being linked to the Sharks by Eklund. This time it is Kessel. I can’t even comprehend how we would have that type of room if there is any legitimacy to Heatley becoming a Shark (see my screenshot below) unless Kessel is a sign-n-trade. If not, salary-wise we would have to give up Michalek. And in all honesty, I believe Michalek’s style of play is more conducive to the current approach and lineup than Kessel’s (and people who know me know that I am not the biggest Michalek fan). Not to mention we are a team of capable centers (some of whom have been moved to other positions make room — i.e. Marleau).

Now I need to say one thing. Yes, there is abundant disappointment throughout Northern California with the early playoff exit. But why does this merit a complete retooling? The Sharks, while healthy/throughout the majority of the regular season, were the best team in the league. Not only that, it was the best regular season in the franchise’s short history. Nearly every player on this team represents a desired acquisition on another. Even those the fans considered the ‘worst on the team’ have been shown interest—Kaspar was signed by Philadelphia, Moen was immediately picked up by Montreal, and even a Cheechoo trade has been repeatedly inquired about. And if you have paid attention to the recent trades, fans from all over North America (Canada is in the NHL, remember?) have been speculating and hoping for Marleau and JT trades coming their way (even proposing scenarios resulting in their parting with franchisers and best players).

So what does this all mean? The San Jose Sharks unarguably have the talent to be regarded as front runners in the Stanley Cup chase. The real question here isn’t can we do it, it is why didn’t we. Why weren’t our players skating hard until the third game? Why did we drop two at home, in one of the most energetic settings in all of hockey? And why are our best players not performing?

And to this, I can think of only one answer: motivation. Our players did not elevate their play. And yes, maybe Marleau should give up his ‘C,’ but the coaching staff is as much, if not more to blame. They could not adjust to handle the Duck’s fore-check, could not penetrate the zone, even on the power play, and could not inspire their players. I am in no way saying we need a new coach — Todd McLellan, in one year (despite being new to the NHL head coach position), won the Sharks the President’s Trophy and pushed the team to the dominant level. He is undoubtedly qualified and able enough to perform the job. But something needs to be done. Is it hiring the old heart to come in and inspire this team (Ricci doesn’t exactly see the players that much as a scout)? Should we hire a motivational speaker as an assistant? Or maybe the front office should actually communicate to the players what they are playing for — show them that it isn’t the money or fame, but rather the added legitimacy a Cup in the entrance of the Shark Tank would bring to the organization, the twenty years of progressing from the longest losing streak in hockey, and the fans.

Thank’s everyone for still checking the site daily despite my vacation. Take care! -Mitch


~ by mitchsolomon on July 30, 2009.

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