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The Chum Bucket
The big three, rookie scoring and upcoming foes
12/5/10 - By Mike Lee -

Two games into their five game road trip, things seem just as discombobulated as ever with the up and down Sharks. Disappointing is a great way to describe the loss in Montreal on Saturday afternoon. As has been the case with most of the 13 losses this season, there is just no momentum in anything the Sharks seem to be doing.

After a dominating 4-0 win in Ottawa, the vanishing act by the guys that need to be stepping up popped up again. Patrick Marleau is being moved off the Thornton - Heatley line for the Sharks game in Detroit on Monday night. It seems that head coach Todd McLellan has run out of creative ways to jump start his top line.

Whenever the threesome falter, it's Marleau that gets moved. Joe Thornton never seems to pay the price for the line's shortcomings, which is odd given that he's now wearing a C on his sweater. Where is the leadership that Thornton was supposed to bring to this team. He rarely answers reporters after losses, and he's given the opportunity to work with one of the team's top forwards, regardless of the way things are going.

Marleau has always been diplomatic about getting shifted from line to line. Perhaps Thornton deserves a game or two showing the 4th line what leadership is all about.

Real Scoring

With the inconsistencies of the big line clogging up the team's scoring, Benn Ferriero has picked up some of the slack. The recent call up from Worcester has scored in 4 consecutive games, which shouldn't be such a surprise. The winger leads Worcester in goals scored, even though he's played in 8 fewer games than most of the Worcester regulars.

His 10 goals have him tied for 7th in the AHL in goal scoring. His recall to the big club in San Jose have removed him from the AHL goal scoring race, but you won't get any complaints from him.

While Ferriero holds the goal scoring lead, guess who leads the Worcester Sharks in points. Jonathan Cheechoo, the Sharks cast-off, has 24 points, on 8 goals and 16 assists through 24 games. The winger is ranked 17th in the AHL in the scoring category.

Roster Moves

Speaking of Worcester, the Sharks reassigned defenseman Mike Moore on Sunday, clearing the way for Jason Demers and Niklas Wallin to return to the lineup. Both are expected to play on Monday night in Detroit. Devin Setoguchi was sent home on Saturday as he nurses his own bumps and bruises. No roster move was made for Setoguchi. He's just on the shelf.

While Ferriero is making strides on the scoring front, rookie defenseman Justin Braun is starting to get noticed for his play on the other side of the puck. Unfortunately, it's not a good kind of attention. The youngster had two glaring miscues in the loss to Montreal and wasn't exactly the next coming of Scott Neidermayer against the Red Wings. Bad positioning and missed assignments have been exposed by good teams.

After I was touting the younf blueliner after his debut, the holes in his game have been exposed. It's to be expected from young defensemen, and give the Sharks injury stockpile, it's not the situation the Sharks typically prefer when trying to introduce prospects to the NHL.

Upcoming

The Sharks will need as much defensive help as they can get as they finish up the road trip with a three game mine field. The Sharks will try to repay the Red Wings on Monday night, before heading to Philadelphia on Wednesday. They wrap things up in Buffalo on Thursday before returning home to play the Chicago Blackhawks.

Those three teams are a combined 18-8-4 over the last 10 games. They'll start with a Red Wings team that has gone 7-1-2 in that span, including a 5-3 win over San Jose last week.


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