Sharks Roundup

•August 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So it’s been a slow couple of days in regards to Sharks news and any trade progress, so here is a little roundup of some interesting/fun links.

Looks like the Sharks are already ranked #10 in the league (courtesy of yahoo sports).

10. San Jose Sharks – No big moves yet. Rob Blake(notes) is back for another year and restricted free agent Ryane Clowe(notes) gets a new contract. Fourth-line center Scott Nichol(notes) comes over from Nashville, but the rest of the moves are all departures – Marcel Goc(notes), Mike Grier(notes), Brian Boucher(notes), Claude Lemieux and Jeremy Roenick(notes). More moves must be coming.

Remember when Joe had heart and passion? It’s hard, especially if you have only followed his tenure in San Jose. But Hockeybuzz blogger Jesse Connolly does.

Joe Thornton, in his rookie season during which he averaged in the neighborhood of 8-10 mins/game, got so sick of taking crap from Dave Scatchard that he decided to drop the gloves and partake in his first NHL fight. The crowd went insane, absolutely nuts. As Joe’s long curly blonde hair flung back and forth, the crowd’s intensity grew louder and louder after every jab Jumbo Joe, the 18-year-old rookie, landed. Every newspaper the next day noted that the Fleet Center, as it was known in those days, reached it’s highest volume in quite some time when the highly touted #1 pick threw down.

Here is a nice article that has already been posted here at Crash the Crease, but I still like to hear that the Sharks are in the first tier:

Tier 1: The Favorites

1. Detroit 2. Pittsburgh 3. San Jose 4. Chicago 5. Boston

No surprises here as the top group consists of the Stanley Cup winner, runner-up, conference semi-finalists, and two regular season powerhouses that struggled in the post-season.

Eklund is claiming that the Sharks are no longer active in the pursuit for Heatley, and instead are shifting their focus to Kessel (which honestly makes less sense in terms of the current Sharks roster). There are currently a few rumors floating around about other teams interested (the most comfirmed I can find being New York) but none of them make much sense. And as Spector hasn’t decided to address any of them, I find little significance. Maybe the Sharks could still get lucky with some sale shopping come the trade deadline. We’ll see what happens. Regardless of that, ESPN Rumors has chimed in about the progress (you can’t see this unless you are an insider, so I’ll post it here):

TRADES: For Heatley deal to work, this needs to happen
Dany Heatley | Senators
Every possible option of Dany Heatley heading out of Ottawa has been squashed.

To Edmonton? Heatley doesn’t want to go. To San Jose? The Sharks can’t offer the right package. A three-way deal with the Habs? Patrick Marleau won’t waive his no-trade clause. To the KHL? Heatley doesn’t want to go.

So what’s going to happen? Fox Sports’ Spector says the only way he’ll be dealt is if the Shark improve their offer or another team jumps in with an “incredible offer” — both unlikely.

So perhaps the Heatley saga will be at intermission until next offseason — or the one after that, or after that.

A nice little piece over at Sports Illustrated about goalie masks. Ex-Shark Brian Hayward too number one. Mask pictured below.

brian-hayward[1]

For now this is about it. I will continue to research and post everything I find.

Feel free to read this over at my page on Crash the Crease!

Sharks Sign Greiss and Karlsson

•August 12, 2009 • 12 Comments

UPDATE: Apparently Greiss was signed at a bargain. According to Capgeek he is now under a two-way contract making $550,000 per year for two years.

http://www.crashthecrease.com/?p=6288

The Sharks signed a couple of goalies today. With the return of Greiss I can’t help but believe the Halak rumors will be coming to an end. His two year deal solidifies his backup role for the next two years (when he will either be replaced by one of the many goalie prospects in the system or actually prove himself as a starter).

The Sharks also made a surprise move in signing goalie Henrik Karlsson. He has been looked at by Shark’s scout Shin Larsson for a while now, and there was an unconvincing rumor that both the Stars and Sharks were interested. Due to his lack of experience at higher levels (25 and just cracking SEL rosters may not be a good sign) any analysis of his stats would be premature. However, at a towering 6’6”, he has an extremely large frame (resembling that of Luongo) and has shown strong positional awareness. His main criticisms have been concerned with his stick handling and rebound control (sounds reminiscent of a second stringer). It currently appears as if he will likely play his next season in the SEL to further develop before making the transition stateside.

If he does happen to play in the Sharks organization this coming season, then his signing could represent an entirely different purpose. San Jose’s goalie prospects in Worcester have not only received criticism from their teammates (see Sexsmith), but reports of their progress and potential have been very mixed. Some have called Sexsmith and Stalock potential journeymen number ones, and others have pegged them as undesirable backups. Karlsson playing in Worcester could light the necessary flame of competition under the three, as the loser would be assigned to the ECHL, and miss out on the opportunity to move up once Nabakov’s contract is up next offseason.

Essentially, Karlsson represents a huge, young and unproven goaltender who has managed to generate buzz throughout the NHL. Sound familiar? I can’t help but think his signing is the Gustavvson consolation prize. I guess the worst case scenario is we give him D-man pads, a real stick, and a league minimum salary and let the 6’6” monster on the ice for two minutes a game to replace Murray as a cheaper enforcer.

BIG News and a Recap

•August 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Well it is official, this blog will be up in two places, and this site might actually go down (don’t worry, not for a while). I have been in contact with www.crashthecrease.com and will serve as their heavily-trafficked site’s San Jose Sharks Blogger. This will also set more binding blog requirements, and you can look forward to at least two, likely more, blogs each week. This also means that you, as readers, have a more public forum for anything you would like posted, any opinions you have, etc., and I encourage comments and discussion over there. I will post the link once the page is up, as I am currently in the process of archiving my old posts over there.

Now for the routine Heatley update that is becoming more of an annoyance than anything else. Last I posted, the Heatley saga was coming to a close. Four days ago (according to Mark Christopher), talks reopened between the Sharks and Ottawa. These resulted in an offer presented to the Senators that did not include Cheechoo, leaving me skeptical in regards to how any possible trade could be fit under the cap. The specific players involved are still unknown, but I cannot imagine how additional trades involving Cheechoo would not have already been in the works and waiting only for Heatley to board the west-bound plane. This offer undoubtedly interested Murray, as it remained on the table until late Saturday before being rejected.

This rejection began two days of silence, leaving many (including myself) to believe the talks had ended. However, late last night, DW presented the Senators with a new, currently on the table offer that included Cheechoo, Vlasic, and two prospects, one of which is most assuredly Coulture, and the other is rumored to be Samuel Groulx. The idea that Vlasic would be involved is interesting, as early in his career he was considered the ‘future of the organization,’ but since has fallen into a role as a solid top four defenseman. As a fan, I am worried by the most recent offers, as they clearly show DW is no longer waiting for a lopsided deal to fall into his lap out of the Senator’s necessity to move an unhappy player, but rather is trying to accommodate Murray (although you cannot be too surprised, as DW often offers too much in trades and signs players to larger salaries than make sense—i.e. Huskins, Clowe). Regardless, it appears as if the Sharks are no longer in the driver’s seat of the negotiations. I will continue to update as more unfolds.

Ehrhoff’s name being left off of the trade proposition is another surprising development. However, at a measly three million dollars per season, it could be in the Shark’s best interest to keep him. He has undoubtedly been credited for more defensive errors than anyone else on the current roster. But one must realize that many of these giveaways and mistakes resulted from other players’ blunders putting him in near-impossible situations. I am by no means an Ehrhoff fan-boy and would much rather see him go over Vlasic, but there are other circumstances that need to be factored in, especially regarding the Shark’s future.

Blake’s body will give out; it is only a matter of time. Sure he looks poised to play at least two more seasons, but he is aging, and a bad hit could end everything. Ehrhoff’s shot and above average skating ability mark him as the clear replacement. Granted, his accuracy, weak passes and inability to get the puck through traffic leaves a lot to be desired, but that can be taught with proper coaching. His awful +/- can easily be attributed to defensive pairings (he spent most of the season with Murray and Seminov), and when he was paired with Vlasic (under Wilson’s coaching) he lead the team in shots and had a high positive rating. What really needs to happen this season (assuming Ehrhoff remains a Shark) is Blake taking Ehrhoff under his wing and teaching him the proper times to be aggressive and how to get a shot through traffic. Once his offensive skills are honed, he will be one of the few offensive defenders in the league whose style of play does not sacrifice defense.

Finally, as I am sure you all know by now, Grier has found himself a new home. On Monday, he agreed to a one-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres (where he played before becoming a Shark).  This is not their first time attempting to reclaim him, as in 2006 he rejected an offer in favor of remaining a Shark. Hopefully, under a different team’s style of play, he can find a way to begin capitalizing on the countless breakaways he is able to generate, and his signing will not be overshadowed in New York newspapers by the Buffalo-native Kane being arrested for his assault and robbery on a taxi driver.

Sharks and Heatley, Kessel and The Real Problem According to JR

•August 7, 2009 • 2 Comments

First, I would like to tell readers to read the comments on the last post between Easy and myself—a very good wrap up/analysis on the current state of the Sharks. I am also looking for anyone who would be interested in contributing to the blog with analysis, updates, etc. Not that I don’t have the time, but I would love to get other viewpoints on here (and encourage debate among the many readers). The blog could also move in the near future (or be hosted on two separate servers–potentially becoming a Sharks blog on a general hockey site).

Now for Heatley. This is according to Eklund (rumor). I personally am happy with the news if it is true, and would love to see Kessel on the second line, thus delegating established scoring talent to the lower lines while instigating competition (think production) in those lower lines/AHL. Once again, this is discussed in more depth in the comments on the last blog, and is one of the keys to Stanley Cup success.

“*The Sharks have been unable to make the one deal that was needed to get this done and I am told are shifting their focus to Phil Kessel and the deal that has been reportedly waiting in the wings since last week.. (However, I am not ready to write off the Sharks yet for Heatley)

Meanwhile, the two original favorites, The Wild and the Rangers are once again leading a charge. The Wild would need to make another deal (reportedly with St Louis or Colorado), and the Rangers would have to be willing to give up Dubinsky…or so we are told. (I still believe the Rangers may be wise to wait this out and still hold a chance of getting Heatley without giving up Dubinsky)

The Wild really like Heatley and are believed to be offering more if the deal with the Blues can be swung. And that deal would likely send Harding to the Blues or Avalanche.

For all those out there, like me, who thought that the Rangers were not a possibility due to Cap restrictions, well…I am told that all you need top do is realize that the 3M that was going to Zherdev is gone and the Rangers will easily trade at least 6 back to Ottawa.

Who else could get in on this? a source has told me that while teams like LA, Dallas, Tampa, and even Vancouver have kicked tires….as of now they are dormant.

Again that is just one source (a good one, but just one).”

Now, for the Sharks real problem according to JR. Took the information from his interview yesterday on KNBR. Just going to quote it from my comments:

“I think what needs to happen was best stated by JR yesterday on KNBR. If you missed it, from his experience in the locker room, he essentially said that this team will never go anywhere. And it is not n issue of a lack of heart, but rather a lack of individual accountability to the players. The Sharks are too comfortable, and making mistakes is overlooked. If you are repeatedly making the same mistakes (think JT, Marleau, Vlasic and Ehrhoff), and you are not being called out on it by your teammates, something is wrong. JR was the only guy in the locker room who even attempted to do this, and without him, the Sharks need to entirely shift their mentality. Until this is done, they will not win a cup, period.”

One last thing: AlphaInventions. I just heard about and think it’s really good idea. Read about it on http://www.alphainventions.com – essentially, it serves as a better way to find new blogs to read and allows you to search/jump from one to the next using filters.

Heatley is Not Worth Seto

•August 6, 2009 • 4 Comments

UPDATE #2: Big day for Heatley. Could be a trade day. -Eklund

UPDATE: Looks like the link to press conference before went dead. Here is a working one.

Thanks to an article by Mark Christopher, the Sharks could be seeing an end to the Heatley discussions. Instead of re-writing the article, an excerpt is below:

Last night Bryan Murray made a counter offer to a San Jose offer, and had given them the night to accept it, so it seems.

While I can’t confirm all the names involved, I can confirm San Jose once again offered CheeChoo in the deal and Murray was quick to shoot it down.

The general belief is Murray asked for Setogochi, Erhoff and a prospect in return, which would obviously leave San Jose with some serious cap-issues still.

Early this morning San Jose and Ottawa decided to take a break from trade-talks. It was already expected that San Jose would take a break today due to JR’s retirement, so Ottawa fans don’t worry too much about the freeze in trade-talks.

Very odd, as mentioned on other sites today, Edmonton is sitting in the shadows waiting to swoop in if San Jose can’t get something done. What a weird situation it would be if Heater ended up in Edmonton after all this.

Been lead to believe that another team is in the mix, as Heatley has been contacted by Ottawa today….no word or even suggestion on who the other team is.

Others have mentioned Dallas and the NY Rangers, personally I haven’t heard anything about either team being involved in Heatley talks over the past couple weeks. But that’s just what I’ve heard to date.

Finally, two more great JR moments: the first is the goal that actually sent the Flyers into the conference finals, the second is his on-ice dancing in Vegas? He hinted at an appearance on Dancing with the Stars—I think this warrants at least an audition.

Goodbye #27 (continued)

•August 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

UPDATE: Anyone who watched the press conference this morning will tell you how sad/well done it was. It included a great speech by JR, calls from his old teammates, and a very well done montage of some of his great moments (and the ’94 playoff goal didn’t even make it). If you have the chance I’d recommend watching it here.

Felt it was necessary to post a few JR related things in preparation of his retirement announcement tomorrow. Am I the only one clinging onto the minuscule chance that all of the news agencies/rumors are wrong?

10 Pop culture moments of JR’s Career

Top 10 JR Quotes (A few more user-contributed ones here)

And of course, probably the one thing for which he will be most remembered:

If you come across anything else JR, feel free to send it over and I’ll add it to the list.

Goodbye JR? Updates from Everywhere: a Post Full of Links

•August 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

UPDATE: This morning will hopefully represent the closing saga of the Heatley soap opera: “A league source said Tuesday in Toronto that Dany Heatley will be traded to the San Jose Sharks “in the next two days”. Stay tuned.”

Heatley is in Toronto today speaking at the Canadian Hockey Summit—consistent with the city the source is cited to be from. Heatley, however, has so-far remained silent about the drama surrounding his name during his Canadian vacation, and will continue to do so during the summit. I would expect to see (assuming this information is legitimate) one of the other rumored teams involved to clear space (think Cheechoo, Ehrhoff, etc.). If that team is Montreal, I would not be surprised to see Nabakov (who has stated he will waive his NTC) or Marleau going the other way (although I am not yet convinced that the Sharks have trading Marleau high on their ‘to-do’ list), and the acquisition of players in addition to Heatley (Halak? Plekanec?).

Today is looking to be an active day in Hockey, with the NHL announcement to not pay players if injured during Olympic activities, Shannahan signing with the Devils, and Zherdev rumors abundant (finally a player not linked to the Sharks!) I will update with anything I come by.

I was at work all day and didn’t have time to actually write this up until now—so apologies for the tardiness. But today Sharks fans have some more news that could leave the team at an even larger disadvantage this coming year.

Jeremy Roenick will address the public in a press conference on Thursday in which he will likely announce his retirement. I don’t think I am the only one who was hoping he would re-sign at the minimum to give it one more go at the Stanley Cup (20 seasons without one). This could also serve as an omen for the next season—I personally believe he would have played another season had he thought the Sharks contenders. As fans, we are saying goodbye to one of, if not the greatest American player to ever strap on skates in the NHL. Hopefully he will stick around in San Jose and take up a spot as a broadcaster or coach and be a part of a cup-bound organization.

In Heatley news, the Rangers have re-entered the hunt as they expectedly walked away from Zherdev after the arbitrators awarded him a $3.9 million contract (the Rag’s declared their limit was $3.25). Heatley has still expressed a desire to play out West, but the Sharks have remained ‘officially’ inactive. The drama could potentially be over in the near future, however, as the Ottawa front office has grown quiet (as they have done in the past when trades approach).

Still no official progress in Kessel (my personal favorite to dawn the teal). Supposedly the Sharks are “neck and neck” with the Canucks.

According the Eklund, discussions between Montreal and San Jose are gaining momentum:

“They are picking up. The Canadiens have an enormous amount of time into trying to make this deal happen. I am told that had the Canadiens made the deal they were attempting to make last week with Florida the picture would be so much more clear. Unlike others in the media, I am not sold that Marleau is th guy heading to Montreal here.”(sic) –Eklund

As I am sure you all already know, invitations to Olympic camps have been dispersed, and here is a list of Sharks that could potentially earn roster spots on their national teams:

Canada

  • Joe Thornton
  • Dan Boyle
  • Patrick Marleau
  • Devin Setoguchi

USA:

  • Joe Pavelski

Russia:

  • Evgeni Nabakov

Germany:

  • Thomas Greiss
  • Christian Ehrhoff

Sweden:

  • Douglas Murray

Czech:

  • Milan Michalek