| More State of the
Rules and such
8/21/05 - by GJ Berg
In addition to talking about
player movements, there were many other subjects discussed.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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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