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Time to make a move
Trade deadline looms
3/6/04 - by Steve Flores

Ah the world truly was a rosy place for the San Jose Sharks. 1st place. 10-1-1 in their prior 12 games. Back-to-back sellouts for the first time this season, the second fewest losses in the entire league, a six-point Pacific Division lead over the Dallas Stars and a virtual dead heat with the Colorado Avalanche for the second overall position in the Western Conference. But with one crashing Marco Sturm the team's hopes now lay in a precarious balance.

The Shark's 5-1 loss to the Avalanche on Friday night was garish from the get-go. The team came out sluggish and looked almost out of place. Just when it looked like the only issue was whether or not the teal guys would escape with some sense of pride things got worse. Sturm hit the boards awkwardly and as the Sharks number two scorer clutched at his left leg one could only assume the worst as the winger's foot sat at a listless, obviously unnatural position. Sturm's leg fracture will cost him the rest of the season and presents a serious challenge to the Sharks post-season aspirations.

The NHL trade deadline is looming this week and the Sharks have not been players in the swap meet. Yes, they did make a minor trade last week in acquiring veteran defenseman Jason Marshall, 33, from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a fifth round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. But Marshall was immediately shipped to the Sharks top minor league affiliate in Cleveland.

There are two ways to look at the Sharks lack of aggression in the trade market. One line of thinking is that this team is one that has ridden the rode to success based on a true sense of teaming and incredible chemistry. There are those in the league that believe that Sharks G.M. Doug Wilson shouldn't mess with that incredible chemistry and thus not make any major deal that might inhibit the team's positive flow.

The other thought is merely that the team doesn't want to spend any additional capital. I tend to believe the former, as Wilson and team management deserve credit for the team's quick turnaround and almost amazing success that they have achieved this season. However the Sturm injury has cast a doubt on the team's chances and has now affected the team chemistry.

Sturm is almost impossible to replace. He has speed, size and skill coveted by all NHL franchises. He has heart and desire that make him a stalwart with the loyal fans that enter the Shark tank each and every night. And oh yeah he is the #1 line Left wing.

Shark's Head Coach Ron Wilson stated that the team would probably call someone up from Cleveland. That means that one of the trio of Miroslav Zalesak, Brad Boyes or Marcel Goc will get the call West. The only problem is that none of the three is impact enough to make a difference right now. If he were he would already be in San Jose.

The Sharks have very little time to do so but a trade needs to be made. Wilson must abandon the theory of team chemistry being tampered with and attempt to bring someone in that can lessen the burden of losing Sturm.

The franchise's upper management (I.E. Greg Jamison) and G.M. Doug Wilson have put together a cast of characters that Ron Wilson has honed into the truest sense of the word 'TEAM'.

The Sharks are not a dazzling array of offensive powerhouses, yet they may well be the franchise's best-ever passing team. The hustle exhibited by all of its players is a two-fold blessing. Their efforts are not only wonderful to watch but are also appreciated by old jaded sports fans like myself who felt that team sports was a long lost concept buried under the recent rush of 'ME' 'ME' modern day athletes. Sturm's injury does however does have an adverse affect on that team concept.

The entire season has been a joy and to see visions of yet another team disaster crash into the boards with Sturm was almost nauseating. On top of recent injuries to Mike Ricci and Kyle McLaren the Sharks may be reeling and something needs to be done to stop any possible bleeding quickly.

The team, its fans and the team's management deserve more. Doug Wilson deserves more. Yet Wilson is the main currently on the hot seat as the deadline draws ever closer. His job will not be easy, as the bulk of available players have already been flying the friendly skies to teams anew. The pickings are now slimmer, but Wilson needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat if the Sharks are to be taken seriously once the post season begins.

If Wilson is unable to make any tangible move the Sharks will look far more like a dying bouquet than a beautiful arrangement.

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