| Lemieux no
Reasons for having the veteran in
1/19/08 - By Ken Smyth
look ahead, not what's behind, but first some congratulations to Coach Todd
McLellan. Not just for the All-Star game honors. He's passed his first coaching
challenge in Survivor- Be An NHL Coach by shaking the Sharks' millionaire
talent up and pulling the team out of a stale/lazy streak, something that Ron
Wilson didn't always manage to do last season.
After the team was
dismantled in Calgary, McLellan showed the whip with an off-day practice. They
responded with victories in Edmonton and Vancouver and then in two periods
completely blew Tampa Bay out of what was a close game at the the end of one at
the Tank. McLellan also showed a fairly good (for a rookie coach) Darryl
Sutter/Andy Murray/Barry Trotz bitter beer face during the Calgary rout, not to
be confused with a Ken Hitchcock get-me-a-doughnut look.
considered, this comes at a very good time not only because Detroit is on the
schedule this Saturday. A team with this talent should be ready to play every
game and be able to kick the NY Islanders apart the way they did the Tampa Bay
Lightning. Coach McLellan and GM Doug Wilson are serious about winning the cup
this year and they're making notes when the team looks soft against a poor
opponent. Like Santa before Christmas, but being naughty might be a point in
With the trade deadline coming around in a few weeks,
Wilson wants to know where he stands. Conventional wisdom says the Sharks may
be shopping for a proven 3-4 defenseman, some sandpaper for the third line and
some salary cap breathing room. (Note that my accuracy on trade predictions is
awful, especially with Doug Wilson. Wilson usually does something entirely
opposite or unexpected and accomplishes the same purpose.)
consider is the little experiment in Worcester. Don't think for a minute that
the Claude Lemeiux is there as a favor for an old-timer or a publicity gimmick
for Worcester. Lemeiux not only won four Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe trophy,
he made opponents (especially Detroit) curse his every minute of ice time.
During the pre game warm-up he'd be putting a few words in somebody's
ear, after the puck dropped it was usually an elbow. Nobody on the Sharks is
that kind of player. Jody Shelley is a policeman, but Claude Lemieux is an
agitator and sometimes an assassin.
Last April 15th in Calgary (remember?), Sharks captain
Patrick Marleau was first battered by Dion Phaneuf and then left bloody by Cory
Sarich. A Claude Lemieux on the ice would've made Phaneuf (or Flames' captain
Jarome Iginla) pay a price for that first hit, or more likely completely
discourage it, and also score a goal.
Wilson's bringing him back in
Worcester is another message that the Sharks are serious about the playoffs
this season. If he can perform at an NHL level (so far, so good from most
reports) and get through waivers he could get some ice time here. All of which
makes the trade deadline interesting.
Contact Ken at at Kenin210@eudoramail.com
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