| Off-season observations
9/20/07 - By Paul
Since there's been no hockey since May for the Sharks,
there's not much to do but size up the off-season with a few observations:
* The (blechh!) Ducks, an unnecessary southern California franchise founded
after the Sharks, beat another franchise founded after the Sharks, Ottawa, to
become California's first Stanley Cup winner. This was a distinction we had
coveted for our Sharks but the Sharks failed to live up to their end of the
bargain, disappointing the usual sell-out crowds again. Yet, the sun still
rises, the moon still revolves around the Earth, the Earth continues to circle
the sun. So I guess we will just have to live with this.
* What happens to players singled out for enmity by Sharks fans? Players like
Ed Belfour and Chris Pronger? They win the Stanley Cup. Other players should be
so lucky. This anti-Pronger booing makes no sense and is, quite obviously,
* The big additions to the Sharks this off-season did not come from the free
agent market, unless you count the last-chance-for-the-Cup signing of Jeremy
Roenick. No, the big additions were the new Jumbotron and the big ribbon
graphics thing encircling the bottom of the upper bowl. I saw all this Monday
at the annual Teal-and-White game and was impressed. The city paid for it,
though, making our arena about the last one to get one of these ribbon graphics
* Don't look for 2007 first-round draft pick Logan Couture to make the roster.
Putting him on it would start his unrestricted free agent clock ticking and
make him a UFA at age 25 instead of the maximum age of 27. Unless a team has a
player needed to sell both tickets and a new arena, like Sidney Crosby, the
days of 18-year-olds making the NHL are most likely over.
* What happened to the season ticket holder meeting where the fans get to ask
the Sharks coaches and executives questions? They didn't have that this year.
Of course, the Sharks were never obligated to do this in the first place but
perhaps they just didn't have any answers as to why the Sharks failed to live
up to their billing yet again.
* So the Sharks changed their logo and their uniforms. I actually like the new
logo and it addresses the only problem I had with the original design: barely
any teal at all. But now, I have a clock, a watch, several t-shirts and
sweatshirts, coffee mugs, etc, all with the old logo and they have become
obsolete. But I did buy a new t-shirt with the new logo about an hour after
they went on sale so I must be part of the problem: Switch the colors and logo
and sell stuff anew to the fans. The uniforms I can live with, although I would
like to see the trendy burnt orange switched back to the traditional gray
color. Meanwhile, I'll keep wearing my circa-1993 original Sharks teal jersey
to the games.
* Monday gave me a rare chance to sit downstairs and watch a game. It dawned on
me that the players are too big, too fast and there are simply too many of them
on the ice. No wonder scoring is so minimal. If the league wants more scoring,
rather than doing something stupid like making the nets bigger, how about
playing 4-on-4 the whole game? This clears up shooting lanes and space and
would enable roster reductions of about 60 players league-wide who probably
should be in the minors anyway. This would cut all kinds of expenses for the
owners, too. Given that this strategy would be a chance for players to build
their offensive stats, they might even go for sending some of their
less-talented brethren back to the minors.
* Finally, it is good to hear that this season is likely to be the last for the
dreaded schedule format that has had the same divisional teams playing each
other over and over and over, at the expense of seeing marquee teams from the
other conference. Good riddance.
Contact Paul at at firstname.lastname@example.org
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