| Shark's management deserves
No shortage of additions
|9/21/09 - By Steve Flores -
As sports fans we live in a world of ESPN, the
Internet and an overall deluge of media exposure. In general many folks become
hard-nosed, pessimistic and far too critical of others. In the past the San
Jose Shark's management has been criticized for not being willing to do all
that it takes to get this team to the top. Yes, it has been a few years since
that aura was pervasive in the minds and hearts of the fan base and yes it was
a concept that many held as a truism.
It's easy to be critical. It is
easy to sit back and complain and whine and nag at those in charge of the fish
that play in the tank. It takes a millisecond to speak or write in response to
things when they don't go as planned. I think it's time to sit back and reflect
on all that GM Doug Wilson and the ownership and management of the Sharks have
done to make this team better.
Wilson has brought in players like Joe
Thornton, Rob Blake, Dan Boyle and now Dany Heatley in an attempt to bring this
city and it's very loyal fans a Stanley Cup Championship. Along with Patrick
Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov this team has a roster sexy enough to make fans in
New York and Los Angeles green with envy.
The team that was once
considered a bit too cheep to spend to bring in the best high priced talent is
no more. Wilson and company are maxed out on the cap and have been spending
right up to its limits since its inception.
Part of being an expansion
franchise (1991) means that fans must contend with years and years of growing
pains. It takes several seasons to build a core of players from within via the
draft. To spend unwisely early in the life of a franchise is foolhardy. The
Sharks were not free of poor management and decision making in their early
years. The team actually once employed a three-headed GM monster that was,
without doubt, a nightmare that came from a corporate philosophy that had lost
sight of its role.
It was a sign that the team had lost sight that
this is a hockey team and not a software company. Some poor drafts early on,
including the awful 1995 draft of far too many Finnish players (that no other
NHL franchise even had on their draft boards) were the low points of a
franchise that was definitely not on track.
Those were the dog days of
As luck would have it the powers that be sat back and
reflected on all these awful decisions and made changes that have turned this
franchise into one of the league's most highly respected. CEO Greg Jamison
deserves kudos for taking control of a rudderless franchise and hiring the best
possible people to help right the ship. A special note of appreciation needs to
go to former GM Dean Lombardi. Lombardi was the surviving member of the
three-headed Gm debacle and he was responsible for several of the best drafts
in Shark's history.
Many fans did not care for Lombardi's rather dry
almost somber persona but the man drafted well.
Tim Burke - Head of
Scouting - has worked tirelessly to find hidden nuggets each and every year in
the entry draft. Burke's role has been increasingly challenged as current GM
Wilson has offed (via trades) a lot of future draft picks in attempts to help
the team win NOW.
That bring us to the current day Sharks and the fact
is that the present day is where they have their best chance to win. The
Shark's time is now. There will always be opponents to nearly every cause in
life. There are many fans that feel that Wilson has dealt far too much of the
Sharks future away via the trade route in his attempt to aid the Sharks in
their goal to win now. Has he traded a number of top draft choices? Yes, of
course he has. Have all of those trades worked out for the Sharks? No, it is
obvious that they haven't. Hindsight is 20/20.
All trades have an
element of risk. Wilson felt that the veteran talent that he brought in on
those deals would take the team to the next level. So far it hasn't worked. But
there is no lack of effort on his part. To not have attempted any trades would
have been failure on his part as GM.
Trading is part of the game.
Those that believe you should never deal draft picks are welcome to their
opinion but those people have a 'future' philosophy that never allows them to
deal with the 'present'. If a franchise is run properly there will come a time
where Free-agent acquisitions may be needed to improve the team. A GM cannot
shy away from that option. To achieve greatness sometimes requires risk.
Doug Wilson et al have made bold moves and put big reputations on the
line to put a star-studded team on the ice in San Jose . He has fierce top-line
talent and even the third and fourth lines look stronger than ever.
Not only are the aforementioned reputations on the line, but jobs as well. For
Wilson the 2009-2010 season is a make or break year for him as GM. The Sharks
have been knocking on the 'Stanley Cup Champion potential' thing for several
seasons. Wilson has made countless moves to get them across the finish line. He
has brought high priced and big name talent into the fold. The team has
accommodated his brain trust to the utmost.
The fans of San Jose are
amongst the best in the league and as a part of belonging to that fraternity
this quality fan base should sit back and both enjoy and appreciate all that
the Sharks have done to try and bring a winner to the Bay Area.
Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
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