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Optimism begins to wane
No sugar coating ugly hockey
11/22/05 - by Steve Flores

Six losses into the San Jose Sharks current losing streak and the spin has begun. Sharks G.M. Doug Wilson has stated that it is a matter of time before the team breaks through and begins to put together the type of hockey that led them into the NHL's version of the final four during the last hockey season.

Spin?

Eternal Optimism?

Naivety?

Who really knows? All I know is that Wilson is a man of integrity who truly does have the team's best interest at heart. He works within the ramifications of the salary structure allotted to him by those above him. Although no major signing was made by the Sharks in the pre-season Wilson did attempt to bring in the league's top defender in Scott Neidermeyer.

The Sharks are in the bottom third of current team salary and have a lot of wiggle room for possible late season or next season acquisitions. The problem is that Shark's fans have waited several years for an actual viable Stanley Cup contender.

Shark's fans, tantalized by the last Pacific Division title and subsequent playoff run thought they had it with this year's team. Thus far those hopes have seemed like a pipe-dream.

As I write, the Sharks are 27th on the power play succeeding 12.4% of the time. On the Penalty kill they rank 23rd at 80.6%. For those who aren't quick at the math that means they allow a power play goal 19.4 % of the time. There are 30 teams in the league folks. In a nutshell; this aint good!

It's fairly common knowledge that the Sharks are a very, very young team. Milan Michalek, Steve Bernier, Jim Fahey, Rob Davison, Nolan Schaefer, Ryan Clowe, Christian Ehrhoff, Niko Dimitrakos and Tom Preissing are all either rookies or are in essentially their second NHL season. That is a lot of inexperience on the ice.

The team lost Vincent Damphousse, Mike Ricci and Mike Rathje. The team hasn't had a truly healthy Scott Thornton for part of the season and Scott Parker's strong presence in the locker room has not been felt do to his injury. These are veteran, character guys who have been through the battles in the past.

The team is highly inconsistent (a sign of youth). Head coach Ron Wilson has been unable to find the right mesh of players on any of his lines and defensive lapses have been infuriating to say the least.

Wilson has lashed out and benched a couple of players based on his opinion of their performance and that hasn't made a difference either.

Patrick Marleau has been stellar, but let's be honest they have no one near his caliber on this roster and thus, he too is unable to maximize his abilities on this Shark team. Their goal differential is still very much in the negative with no signs that it will get better any time soon.

A certain amount of whispering is blowing in the wind that G.M. Wilson will need to pull a trade to spark the team. Wilson is not the type to panic and I think he will stay the course as much as possible.

But let's be honest the Sharks game is so guppy-like at the moment that bringing in 1 player is not going to make any difference whatsoever.

Shark's fans need to keep their fingers crossed that Wilson is correct in his mindset that the team will turn it around. For this to happen the youth of the team must live and learn the pro game very quickly or the Shark's season will continue to spiral to the bottom of the Pacific.


Contact Steve at stevybo@yahoo.com


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