| State of the
Sharks host open house
6/30/06 - By Steve Flores
On a night otherwise
occupied by the playing of a game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals the San Jose
Sharks decided to hold a State of the franchise event. The poor timing issue
was addressed immediately by Sharks CEO Greg Jamison stating that it was really
the only night that all important parties could gather together for the annual
event. The other parties involved were G.M. Doug Wilson, Head Coach Ron Wilson
and current Rocket Richard Trophy holder Jonathan Cheechoo.
adaptive to his situation Coach Wilson came prepared as he showed up in his
usual technologically advanced state and was able to watch the game on his PSP
by virtue of using his Sling-Box technology which forwarded his cable broadcast
to his handheld viewer. Always working the technology is the Sharks head man.
For those of you not familiar with the State of the Sharks format, the
team annually allows fans in attendance to ask team officials absolutely
anything they desire about the team. I have been watching pro sports for 37
years and the older I get it continues to astound me of the growing degree of
canned and evasive answers provided by sports folk.
Jamison is always
classy and has a quick wit. He is good with the fans but he is a businessman
and he handles himself that way. Ron Wilson is an excellent coach and a snappy
dresser but he also isn't the most exciting or enlightening speaker. Cheech is
a great young player and is very well spoken but really isn't going to get into
any meaty discussions with fans. That left Doug Wilson as the main man for this
Wilson is the carver of the franchise. He makes all personnel
decisions and is a hockey man in the truest since. He is articulate, bright,
well-spoken, loves the game and was both refreshing and honest.
folks I said honest.
I arrived at the conference not expecting to hear
anything other than the company line with no real details of expected moves. He
did an end around on me.
When queried about the teams 2 goalie
situation Wilson all but admitted that he will dealing one of the net minders.
I mean yeah we all know that he is going to do it but I never expected the
frankness of his response.
"It is a great problem to have. I give a
lot of our goaltenders credit for signing contracts. Are we going to be able to
keep two number one goalies, probably not and a decision will be made. I will
listen to calls that will make our team better going forward. I can't say
enough about how our staff develops goaltenders. I think we can win a Stanley
Cup with either of them" stated Wilson.
Reading between the lines isn't easy. But if Wilson
believes he can win with either guy it does make sense to deal the more
expensive guy. That guy is Evgeni Nabokov. I am sure that Wilson will look at
all offers and make the deal that he feels is most apt to improve the club and
I'm sure he will field offers on Vesa Toskala as well but the hockey instinct
and common sense would tend to lean towards Nabokov being the logical choice. I
am not sure that he's the right guy to move but Wilson knows more than all of
us combined and I have come to trust his judgment. He has made solid trade
after solid trade. From the acquisitions of Joe Thornton and Ville Nieminen to
the trade up to get Devin Setoguchi he has an almost flawless record in regards
to trades. The Brad Boyes deal is the only thorn that sticks out in his tenure
as Sharks G.M.
Wilson truly was the star of the evening as he answered
all questions (no matter how inane) with zeal and a level of excitement that
was truly respectful of the fans. He continued to show why he truly is the
right man to be running the Shark's ship.
Fans and bloggers alike tend
to complain and have expectations that are always a bit out of whack from
reality. This is not limited to fans of the Sharks - fans of all teams in all
sports are guilty of this. Just ask any San Francisco Giant's fan about their
team's World Series chances and you are sure to find that a lot of them think
they are gonna win it every year. Of, course, the Giants have zero World Series
trophies over the past 52 years but fans fall prey to the hype.
past season's Sharks team was good. At times they were very good. I, at times,
write columns critical of certain areas of the teams play or of their roster
makeup. I don't do this to be a jerk or to light a fire in the readership; I do
it because I want the franchise to build a team that will compete for a
championship every year. Some teams build for a mini runs and then they fall
off the wagon. Some teams build with veterans and not for the long-term future.
Doug Wilson has built a team of young, above average players that should
contend every year.
Believe me folks this is the goal!
the past few years the Sharks have let aging and or role players go and fans
haven't been happy. Fan's love the Mike Ricci's, the Niklas Sundstrom's, the
Ron Stern's, the Scott Thornton's. Fans clamor for more of these kinds of
players. All teams need them but they cannot be dominant in number. Talent is
still the key ingredient and Doug Wilson understands this.
"We know we
had a good year. We didn't have a great year. We played really well from Dec 1
on, but we have to look at how we get better. I care about winning a Stanley
Cup. What can we do to get better? All the little things need to get better. We
don't do this just to make the playoffs" said Wilson. This statement made my
A few years back a buy named Cohan purchased a local
NBA team and that team continues to talk about making the playoffs.
Making the playoffs!!!???!
Are you kidding me!
So you make
the playoffs, so do 15 other teams. Oh boy now there's an achievement. It seems
that some sets of management either don't really have their sights set high
enough or my own personal wants and desires for championship possibilities
every season is simply not what some fans or some teams see as the ultimate
goal. Either way Doug Wilson has set the Sharks on track to attain this goal
and since I share this vision I am truly excited by the prospects of this
team's future. The State of the Sharks seems to actually be solid in the hands
of the current regime and the G.M. isn't afraid to tell you so.
Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
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