| State of the
Fans participate in Q&A at the
8/17/05 - by GJ Berg
Manager Doug Wilson, Head Coach Ron Wilson, Chief Executive Officer and
President Greg Jamison, Head Scout Tim Burke, goalie Evgeni Nabokov and center
Mark Smith, moderated by Sharks' Radio play-by-play man Dan Rusanowsky,
answered questions for about twelve hundred fans that attended the State of the
Sharks event on Tuesday night at HP Pavilion.
The following is a recap
of the event:
SJ Sharkie worked the crowd waiting to enter for the
event. He looked very happy to have a crowd to work again. A number of the
kids, young and old, enjoyed the attention of the "hardest working fish in the
The presentation started with a video montage on the theme of
"This is Sharks' Territory!" plus video welcomes from Captain Patrick Marleau
and Scott Hannan, both who are in at the Team Canada Olympic camp. All of the
panel members are tired of using the terms "CBA," "New York" (where the NHL HQ
is) and "Toronto" (NHLPA HQ).
Jamison appreciates the season ticket
holders' patience and support. Looking for a positive experience going forward,
and looks forward to the city rallying around hockey again.
Wilson states that the passion hasn't changed. "Judge the players by how they
perform on the ice." Doug doesn't "believe in mercenaries." He looks to
primarily draft, develop players. He reiterated that ice time and NHL roster
spots are earned by merit (hard work).
Ron Wilson says that the thing
he missed most about the lockout was the opportunity to work with the players
and his staff. He and his assistant coaches will be working with twelve
prospects starting 8/17.
Tim Burke and staff were so busy with normal
scouting activities they didn't focus on what wasn't there.
Nabokov and Mark Smith were introduced by showing some clips of their Shark on
Some statements, quotes, about players, player
The Sharks will look at any deal and any player. But
it'll have to be a player "drastically better" with "significant upside"
compared to what they already have for them to swap out players. The one "fatal
flaw" about Scott Niedermayer is that he only has one brother; Doug Wilson
believes that the Sharks could have signed the Stanley Cup champion and Norris
Trophy winning defenseman, if it hadn't been for family.
five criteria for player selection: character ("vitally important" says Tim
Burke), hockey sense, love to play the game ("rink rats"), accept
responsibility to make the players around you a better team, perform best when
it matters the most.
Doug Wilson said he received inquiries from a few
31, 32 year olds about the Sharks' interest in signing them this off season.
Doug Wilson has been fielding a number of calls (probably more than
any other team in the league) about the young veterans in the organization (as
teams realize the Sharks are well positioned for speed and puck control in the
Interesting fact: the Sharks D core now is *older* than
the group that took Calgary to the finals two seasons ago.
teams Doug Wilson feels are the best prepared to play under the new rules:
Ottawa, Tampa Bay and the Sharks (coincidentally three teams with the some of
the least amount of player movement). Not bad company if one has to be lumped.
If Korolyuk returns to the NHL, he wants it to be with the Sharks.
(Arbitration hearing scheduled 8/24.) Doug Wilson hopes to hear what Korolyuk's
decision for next season is soon. And regardless of the decision, Doug Wilson
will respect it. Doug Wilson would like to get this decided soon so there are
Evegeni Nabokov's current contract expires next
summer. He'll "consider everything," but "wants to stay" (loves the area, team,
etc.). Doug Wilson responded that he will be thinking about a contract
Miroslav Zalesak got caught in a depth chart roadblock.
Doug Wilson says Zalesak "deserves to play in the NHL."
a question about the Brad Boyes (for Curtis Brown) trade, Doug Wilson commented
that it was reactive, in response to Marco Sturm's injury. They sought not to
cannibalize depth (too much) in the three-way trade. Doug Wilson commented it
was hard for Boyes having gone through two trades (in about a year); there had
been some (public) speculation about his skating. A panelist's response was
they seek to have a lot of depth to give Doug the flexibility to make such
Responding to the question about Curtis Brown in particular,
and UFA retention in general, Doug Wilson commented that it's been the players
who have stepped up and signed their contracts in the last week. He leads to be
responsible to improve the organization ("make this an organization where
players want to play") in the areas of style (hockey culture), commitment,
making it fun, nice environment. Curtis Brown played in the ECHL last season.
He went to Chicago because of the contract offered, but would have liked to
stay with the Sharks.
After fielding so many questions at Ice
Insights, etc., Greg Jamison was finally able to get an answer to the question:
"What is Nabby doing during the National Anthem(s) while he's bent over?"
Evgeni Nabokov's response was that he's concentrating and visualizing in
preparation for the game.
Marco Sturm is back after injury "skating at
a high level" at the World Cup (September 04), German Elite League, and World
Evgeni Nabokov replied to a question that his knee is
fine (after that being the reason that he didn't participate in some of the
international events of the past year).
Doug Wilson commented that the
entire league is heading to more of a draft-and-develop system. The Sharks may
have no "young" players in their roster this season under 25, excluding
probably Michalek. Compare that to the Penguins who may have to fill holes with
20 year olds.
When asked about why the Sharks selected Devin Setoguchi
so high, Tim Burke replied that the Sharks believed that Vancouver and Los
Angeles were interested in him. Doug Wilson responded that he'll do everything
he can to get the player the scouts want, rather than worry about "what if"
because they didn't get the player they wanted; the late trade prevented other
teams from moving up. A comparison was made that if you like Cheechoo, you'll
When asked about Anze Kopitar, who was projected to go
about fifth overall but was selected eleventh, Burke replied that the Sharks
weren't interested in him. The "story sounded great."
summarized the (injury) history of Milan Michalek. He tore his ACL in his
second NHL game. It was replaced with a cadaver ligament; this tore just before
his return to the NHL. There is no scarring; went to New York for patella
ligament usage (his own tissue). He's rooming with Lukas Kaspar in Montreal and
working out. He's a "horse". 220; wants to play. The Sharks do look at how
players respond to injury; story related of Cheechoo's potential "career
ending" injury and how he responded. Michalek is no more prone to injury that
any other player.
In response to questioning Ron Wilson's
response/request in the playoffs that fans don't boo the team, Ron replied he
tries for a positive coaching style. Most players know what they did wrong (so
why berate the point). Instead of harping on the bad performance, he chooses
encouragement. Don't take the easy way out -- booing. It may have made the
players afraid to fail at home in the Conference Finals.
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