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The things we think and do not say
Attitude can lead to success
3/10/08 - By Ken Smyth

Brian Campbell is now in a teal jersey without giving up anyone who hadn't been given up on. Welcome to the Sharks, Brian; you've done fine so far. Maybe you can help answer the big question with this team - does it really matter who wears the jerseys?

Like Jerry McGuire I've spent time thinking about what is real in life. A few weeks ago Mark Purdy made a great point in a SJ Mercury column Sunday, stating what's very obvious to all of us who closely follow the Sharks. The Sharks don't necessarily need to trade players, they need to trade that passive attitude we see so often for some passion about winning games. Purdy had it right, and if the Sharks' don't find their passion the middle pages in the opening night programs will still be full of fishing and golf pictures, not Stanley Cup parades.

This is a tad harsh with them in the middle of an eight game win streak; but before that they lost five in a row. All five decided by one goal (not counting an empty netter in New York), and in four of them the Sharks had a lead at one point. Once the streak breaks, will it be a single loss or three or four listless games? With this team there is no way to predict.

On the bright side, Jonathan Cheechoo is skating well now that the injury he said wasn't bothering him isn't bothering him; and coach Ron Wilson can stop with that "better two-way player" excuse that coaches use when a scorer can't score. Patrick Marleau's injury coincided with the losing streak and made it clear that Marcel Goc or Joe Pavelski aren't taking a second-line center job except maybe in the AHL.

Conspiracy theorists might wonder if that kept Marleau from being traded on deadline day but his salary, lack of scoring and minus twenty or so rating isn't exactly something that escapes the notice of other teams' general managers, except maybe in Boston or Los Angeles.

So is this a team that can win a Cup? Go far in the playoffs? Probably not. This is what most of us think but really don't want to say. Unless there is a radical shift in attitude, (and I'm talking a George W. Bush getting blinded on the road and suddenly endorsing Hillary Clinton for president sort of shift) the Sharks still look like a team that will give us a thrill or two in the playoffs but die off in the second round. It's a big stretch to think that Brian Campbell on the blueline and Matt Carle in the press box is going to change that.

Other Notes

Spring training in baseball has started- with the Giants and A's full of guys you've never heard of playing games that don't mean anything. Unfortunately that'll be the situation in August, too.

Kind of sad in Chicago that the Backhawks "text in" contest of greatest achievements was just a choice of Stan Mikita's scoring championships or Bobby Hull's fifty goal seasons. If you're looking at defining Blackhawk moments from the 1960's they should have included the Phil Esposito to Boston trade.

An aside to that infamous deal: Marco Sturm is lucky that the Boston fans don't hold him responsible for the Joe Thornton trade, Pit Martin wasn't so lucky in Chicago .

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