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No Award for NHL's Show
And other Shark musings
6/19/09 - By Mike Lee -

The completion of the NHL season last Friday apparently doesn't mean we get a reprieve from having to endure more botch jobs from the league. The 2009 NHL Awards Show proved to be another league disaster, which makes you wonder how hard it is to hand out a few trophies.

Relocating to Las Vegas proved no improvement from past shows. Like those before it, this year's edition dragged on far too long, and had the drama of a 5-goal lead. Marching people like Sergei Federov and movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer up on stage, only to have them try and read from a teleprompter made the whole presentation sophomoric.

The scripted show had the allure of wet paste and the on stage band seemed like they were a Vegas act held over from the 50's. More proof that the league just doesn't get it. Rather than putting together a show that compels to viewers, the production seemed to be tailored to the stogie brass that makes up the league's group of owners.

McLellan Get His Due

As for the awards themselves, the lone Sharks nominee, head coach Todd McLellan, came up short, losing the Jack Adams award to Bruins head coach Claude Julien. The voting members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association got this one wrong, but McLellan isn't the guy that should have edged out Julien.

Andy Murray, the St Louis Blues head coach took a roster far less talented than either the Bruins or Sharks and navigated them to a 41 win season and a 6th seed in the Western Conference. Sorry Claude, but Murray deserved this one.

I would be remiss if I didn't callout the fact that McLellan's nomination was certainly worthy. The guy had no NHL head coaching experience, but came in and established a program that helped the Sharks win their first President's Trophyin franchise history. Not too bad for a rookie coach.

Boyle Makes 2nd Team

The league did recognize one Shark. That being defenseman Dan Boyle, who earned 2nd Team All Star Team honors. Don't ask me why they call this award the All-Star Team, rather than the All-League Team. Fans vote league All-Stars for the February All-Star Game. Maybe Jerry Bruckheimer had something to do with it.

In any case, Boyle joined Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason, New Jersey Devils left wing Zach Parise, and Detroit Red Wings Niklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa on the 2nd Team. Tim Thomas, Mike Green, Zdeno Chara, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla and Alex Ovechkin made up the 1st Team.

Gustavsson Sweepstakes Considerations

The Sharks made news this week with the courting of Swedish goaltending phenom Jonas Gustavsson, who reportedly toured the Sharks' facilities and met with Sharks management to get a feel for the team and their direction. If I was a betting man, I'd put my money on the Dallas Stars to win Gustovsson's favor for one and only one reason. Dallas has no state income tax.

There's no bidding war here, because Gustavsson can earn no more than the league rookie cap of $900,000. Not that the Sharks are big on dolling out top dollar for unproven prospects to begin with, but should the Swede choose to play in California, he'll be lighter in the pocket for it because of the state's hefty state income tax.

If Gustavsson leans towards playing for the Sharks, it will be because San Jose might afford him a better chance to play sooner. Evgeni Nabokov is only 19 days older than Marty Turco, so the age factor is the same, but the Stars have 25-year old Tobias Stephan waiting in the wings. Brian Boucher is a nice back up option for San Jose, but he's not a legitimate option to carry the team an entire season and Thomas Greiss hasn't shown much consistency in his AHL opportunity.

More to come.

Heatley a Shark?

I'd be more than surprised if Dany Heatley found his way to San Jose via some sort of trade this summer. With the NHL Draft only two weeks away, the trade market is sure to heat up, but in order for the Sharks to land Heatley, they would have to free up some serious cap space.

Patrick Marleau's $6.3 million salary next season and Milan Michalek's $3.5 million travesty of a deal would have to be shipped to Ottawa to free up the space required to support Heatley's $8 million dollar contract. Heatley is also due $35 million of the next 5 seasons.

Not sure the Sharks are willing to lock up that much money on another centerman who has yet to prove he can win. They have a surplus of those players already.


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