| Ghosts of the past and the
Would Sharks be better served by
|4/8/09 - By Steve Flores -
As the playoffs approach and the M*A*S*H unit we
call the San Jose Sharks begins to get all of its walking wounded back on the
ice I must stop and ask; Claude Lemieux? Really?
Is Lemieux really
going to be placed on the post-season roster? He has been injured for what
seems like forever (18 games) and worse than that he played like he was injured
prior to his actual jaw injury.
No disrespect to Lemieux but he
retired several years ago for a reason - He was done as an NHL player. His
absence allowed the Sharks to slot in Jamie McGinn and Brad Staubitz on a more
frequent basis. Although rookies, both of these young guys began to show that
which they are made of during game action. Staubitz gave the team a bit more
toughness and presence.
McGinn is great in the corners and started to
show some of his ability in the offensive zone. Yes, they both made mistakes.
Untimely and sometimes downright stupid penalties were taken by both more than
once; that is the sign of youth folks. But, at least they were doing positive
things on the ice.
Lemieux always looks like he's one of the referees
when he's on the ice. He isn't the physical presence that he used to be and his
flair for the big offensive play seems to have dissipated during his prior
'retirement'. The first clue of this is that the guy simply hasn't made any
plays that have resulted in anything positive for the team. McGinn &
Staubitz have each managed to make a mark in more than one instance when they
have been on the ice.
Lemieux simply looks out of place on the ice. He
looks slow on a team that was built for speed. Physically he hasn't shown the
presence that was once his trademark and he has yet to make a mark on any game
that he has played in. If you have a love of nostalgia then you may side with
wanting Lemieux on the roster, but nostalgia is from the heart not the brain.
The current version of Lemieux is a ghost of the
player that he was. The fact that he WAS a great player seems to be the guiding
light behind the Sharks brain trust's decision to put him back into uniform and
into a game. The guy was once the master of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and
Finals, but that was all in the past. He has had moments in his NHL career that
will see him inducted into the Hall of Fame someday.
Hall of Famers
however are retired when they gain induction into that most sacred of
buildings. To take up a very important post season roster spot on a team that
is trying to chase away its own playoff ghosts is a poor decision at best and
could be devastating at worse.
If Lemieux gains a position on the
final playoff roster I hope that he proves me wrong. I hope that he shows that
he is worthy of that position rather than magnifying the fact that the Sharks
would be better served if he simply went home and waited for his name to be
announced as a member of the Hall. Better yet just suck it up and admit that
the Lemieux experiment was a no-go and move on before it's too late.
Contact Steve at email@example.com
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