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The more things change, the more they stay the same
Current team strategy is the same as the failed past
10/13/05 - By Paul Krill

Remember when Sharks fans were supposed to believe that players like Vlasti Kroupa, Jeff Jillson and Shawn Heins were NHL All Stars in waiting? Or that drafting Teemu Riihijarvi with the 12th pick of the 1995 draft just showed how the Sharks organization was so much smarter than the rest of the league?

Well, none of these moves worked out quite as planned, did they?

You would think the Sharks would have learned from history and would have brought in some of the many free agents available under the league's friendly new free agent system this season. Well, if you thought this, you would be wrong.

Instead, we're again supposed to believe that all these homegrown players can get the job done on the cheap, and that the Sharks don't need anymore players from outside the organization, unlike the other 29 teams. (What do the other teams know, anyway?)

Three games into the season, this Sharks-fraternity-only squad is not exactly living up to its lofty expectations, is it? (First of all, there never should have been any expectations because this is a different team than the one that suited up the last time the Sharks played, way back in May 2004.)

Vincent Damphousse was not replaced; the Sharks are now seeing some dismal performances in the faceoff circle. Mike Rathje was not replaced; the Sharks net is now being flooded with pucks.

And ask yourself: If the Sharks had signed Paul Kariya when given the chance, what would their record be right now? 2-1 or 3-0 instead of 1-2? You bet. FWIW, that was one sloppy win against the Blues, who are not exactly picked to carry the Stanley Cup this season.

This could be a long season in SharkLand, one made worse by the league trying to shove divisional rivalries down our throats by taking all the best Eastern Conference teams off the Sharks' schedule.

Is it too early to write off the Sharks? It sure is. But what I've seen so far hasn't been good. The opener against Nashville had the Sharks blowing a third-period lead. Then, when the team should have been eager to bounce back, the Sharks were never in it against Chicago and got behind early and often. The aforementioned third game against the Blues was a slop-fest that neither team deserved to win.

That undefeated pre-season meant exactly what I thought it would mean: Nothing. The Sharks now will have to show us that the poor showing in regular season so far was an illusion, too. I have my doubts that they can pull it off.

Penalty Shots…If I'm correct, the departures of Damphousse and Mike Ricci means no one on the Sharks roster owns a Stanley Cup ring. That ought to give you some perspective on how inexperienced this Sharks roster is…If the Sharks keep losing, you can bet some GMs will try to make the Sharks pay more to shore up obvious weaknesses than if these had been taken care of before the regular season. We can be sure opposing GMs would ask for the future (a player like Devon Setoguchi, for example) in return for helping to fix the present…

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