| The sun is shining Sharks
Plenty of positives in SJ
7/25/05 - by
Yep, that's right folks the sun is a shining on the
Shark Tank. The first ever league-wide Entry Draft Lottery saw the Sharks jump
from the 27th overall draft spot to the 12th. This is a victory in and of
itself for all Sharks' fans. It is one of the positive aspects of losing an
entire season of hockey.
The Shark's also (by virtue of the Mikka
Kiprusoff trade with the Calgary Flames) will garner the 5th pick in the 2d
round - #35 overall. It seems that the time has come to lick our wounds and
actually begin to look at the good things that may be coming our way from the
NHL. Yes, there are actually quite a few awesome things that have developed
because of that horrible non-season. Most teams (including the Sharks) have
actually lowered ticket prices. We, of course, have no way of knowing how long
the franchises will see fit to allow us to pay less to see the games but we can
enjoy it for as long as it lasts.
Aside from the pocketbook savings
that the league has handed us, the hockey god's have also put into place
several rule changes that are intended to open up the game and allow for a more
exciting brand of the game to be played. I am voracious for a more offensive
style. I enjoy speed and skill and that was certainly curtailed by all of the
various zone-traps that have bogged down the NHL.
The league has opted
to eliminate the Red-Line, widen the Blue-lines and hit hard on obstruction
offenders. These changes are intended to allow skillful teams to be just that.
It must also be a good thing as many of the NHL's curmudgeon 'old-boy network'
G.M.'s are already crying and whining that it's too much too fast.
are they kidding? Themselves I suppose.
The league, players, owners
and fans did not miss an entire season so that they would come back to the same
2-1 snail fests that have become ever prevalent in the modern pro game. People,
we need to embrace change. The allowance of skillful players to truly ply their
wares can only make the game more exciting and is the only way the league can
even begin to dream about making their product more marketable to the general
The league plans to use shootouts as a last resort in
determining victories. The tie-game seems to have gone the way of the White
Elephant or the Do-Do Bird and that is a good thing also folks.
not perfect, of course, as I have some serious doubts about some of the changes
made regarding goaltenders.
I like the rule that will limit the size of the
goalie's pads however there are new rules in place that will limit how much
control of the puck the goaltenders will be allowed. The new rules seem to
limit the net minder's abilities to pass the puck up the ice for possible
breakaways. I understand the emphasis on offense but I believe that the NHL has
had a bit too much tunnel vision in this regard. Some goalies are actually
quite adept at puck handling and I think that limiting their abilities with the
puck will actually bog down possible open ice opportunities. We shall see.
In any case the new salary cap structure should allow many teams the
opportunity to be more competitive than ever before. The ceiling on the cap
will also be the impetus for more than 400 free agent's to hit the market in
the next couple of weeks. Teams are basically forced to buyout the contracts of
high paid, underachievers and to basically start anew. This will probably lead
to the biggest re-distribution of talent in league history.
G.M. Doug Wilson will have his job cut out for him as he needs to resign the
Sharks to most important restricted free agent forwards - Patrick Marleau and
Marco Sturm. The Sharks also have to deal with the fact that long time
blue-liner Mike Rathje is now 31 and an unrestricted free agent under the new
collective bargaining agreement. Many Shark's fans have never latched onto
Rathje yet he is nonetheless a truly solid defensive defenseman and an integral
part of the team's defensive corps.
Isn't it great to actually talk
about 'real' hockey issues for a change????
But now it's time to sit
back and enjoy the ride as we ready for the season opener on October 5th when
all 30 NHL teams will once again take the ice in a game that should be far more
entertaining than anything we have seen since the Sharks opened their fish bowl
in downtown San Jose in 1993.
Contact Steve at email@example.com
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