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More State of the Sharks
Rules and such
8/21/05 - by GJ Berg

In addition to talking about player movements, there were many other subjects discussed.

Rule Changes

Ron Wilson asked everyone present to realize that rule changes need to be looked at collectively, not individually. The rules should create less stoppages and "up the pace." Fore check will be more important; faster teams will have the advantage and will be able to force mistakes.

Dan Rusanowsky remarked that removing the center red line and making the offensive zone larger, will shift the focus to in front of the net. It'll be tougher to clear the zone. And more attention will have to be paid to off sides as the "blue line" will be at the bench door (i.e., a player entering the ice could immediately be off sides).

Ron Wilson thinks that the biggest change as a result of the rule changes will be how teams defend. There will be more limitations on how a player can use a stick (i.e., cannot touch opposition anywhere on their body). And a defender cannot impede the progress of an attacker. Ron said to expect a lot of penalties while the players and coaches "test the system" during exhibition and perhaps the first month of the season; he guessed there might be as many as six power plays/penalty kills in a period.

All the players and coaches will have to "relearn the culture." Ron Wilson believes that college and European players will have an advantage as they've played without a red line. (Sharks players with this type of experience include: Marco Sturm, Marcel Goc, Niko Dimitrakos, Nils Ekman, Milan Michalek, Jim Fahey, Tom Preissing, and Christian Ehrhoff.) Players need much better puck control and passing, especially as missed passes may not be called for icing.

Doug Wilson hopes that the change of officiating leadership will allow the referees to enforce the rules "most when it matters the most."

Evgeni Nabokov joked they may make the puck bigger next season. He believes that these rule changes will make for a more exciting game, with more fun for fans.

Mark Smith, who's starting a recording label (lunarrecords.org) and will be performing in San Jose on Saturday 8/20, thinks shoot outs will be good for the team.

Ron Wilson commented that power forwards will be spending more effort protecting the puck. Anyone who defends will need to relearn how to do so. There will be more offense and less cycling. Doug Wilson added that players will no longer be able to hide with the new rules.

In response to a question on how the rules may affect his style of play, Evgeni Nabokov answered that the changes should not affect his style of play; it's just a matter of getting used to the new equipment. In response to a later question, he said he doesn't care what changes there are to equipment as long as injuries don't occur.

Mark Smith commented that the new tag-up off sides rule will help open up the ice. Defenders will be able to make the long play which will make the opposition's defensemen back off.

Mark Smith also addressed the issue that players need to have more respect, especially when players get into vulnerable positions (e.g., facing the boards and back to defender) to prevent injury.

Miscellaneous

In answering a question about who the next power play quarterback might be, Ron Wilson said that it's more important that the team scores the goals "at the right time" on the power play than the percentage. Ron says he may put a player out in a situation to see how they respond, a little at first and watch them grow into the role.

In response to a question about who is the toughest team to play against, to which a fan yelled "The Sharks," Ron Wilson replied: "I fear no man." He said you have to respect all the teams.

Greg Jamison addressed a question on arena improvements indicating that the lockout delayed the updating of the sound system and video display; they continue to work with the city on updates. With Fox Sports Bay Area broadcasting about fifty games in High Definition, there's more of an emphasis to have HD video displays.

In response to a question on whether the seats in the arena should be teal and black, Greg Jamison replied that the current color scheme helps promote an "intimacy" and "warmth" (with loud sound). In other arenas, the seat colors detract from the action.

In addressing a question about the changing format of the NHL schedule, Doug Wilson acknowledged that many eastern transplants will miss seeing their favorite teams play at the Tank once a season or so. However, rivalries grow from playoff elimination. He also noted that no team from the Pacific time zone has won the Stanley Cup, so anything that will reduce travel is a good thing.

Greg Jamison says the organization will implement new netting as technology improves. Dan Rusanowsky said they had interviewed a number of qualified candidates for his new radio partner; a final choice would be determined soon.

There were a few questions about resurrecting the "SharkFest" event. The general consensus from the fans present was that what they really want is more interaction with the players, in whatever form that takes.

With the rule changes that will open up the game, the question was asked, what will the Sharks do to improve the ice surface? Doug Wilson replied that with a slow game, they wanted slow ice. With a faster game, they need good ice; they have added a dehumidifier and other improvements. Greg Jamison commented that the Sharks' "ice guy" was invited to work at the Olympics in Salt Lake City as he's "one of the best in the field." Ron Wilson added that last season he doesn't recall any bad ice comments from the players.

Greg Jamison addressed the question about possible relocation of the AHL franchise due to low attendance as their contract expires at the end of the 2005-2006 season. He replied they are looking at their options. They probably would not relocate to the west coast due to travel costs; staying in Cleveland is a possibility. A decision would be made in the next four to six months.

Doug Wilson indicated that the Sharks do have an ECHL affiliation with the Fresno Falcons, and would like to add another (closer to Cleveland for player call ups).

Individual game tickets will be for sale on 9/17.

The Season Ticket Holder "Teal/White" practice will be held 9/20, with autographs available before.



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