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Not good enough yet
Much to improve this season
12/5/11 - By Steve Flores -

After all of the changes made in the off-season by San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson and after 23 games played, no one really knows the true affects that those changes may have incurred. Yes the Sharks are off to a much better start than a season ago yet they currently stand in 8h place overall in the Western Conference. Yes folks that means that they would be the final team to qualify for a post-season berth had the season ended today.

Aside form their conference standing is the fact that the team - as a whole - truly has not played to its expectations.

Really.

I mean let's be honest, has Brent Burns - the team's biggest off-season acquisition - lit your fire in his first stanza with the team? If he has then you should be taking a major look of self-introspection in regard to the levels that you see as above board.

Burns, by the numbers has 4 goals, 4 assists, a plus 8, 2 Penalty minutes and is 7th on the team in hits. These are not numbers to be writing home about. He does have 3 Power play Goals and 2 pp assists but I doubt seriously that these numbers as a whole are what the team desired when it made deals that resulted in the departures of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi.

Numbers can often lie. But anyone who has watched the Sharks cannot honestly testify that Burns has played at an All-Star level. He has been adequate at best and nowhere near the level that was forecast when he was acquired.

His best may be yet to come but we surely haven't seen it yet.

The next level of 'not quite so good' is a player that pains me to even think about: Dan Boyle.

Boyle is a true All-Star. The guy has won a Stanley Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal. He is the definition of professional and is one of the best Shark's of all-time. He has driven the Sharks' bus like a madman for the past few seasons and is as standup as they come. The guy is class.

But Boyle's turnovers have been more than his norm and forwards seem to be getting past him just a bit more frequently. I am not saying he has begun to lose it, nor am I saying that he has even lost a step - But something isn't quite right with his game either. The guy has 1 goal in 23 games, which is well behind the Boyle stock and trade.

Martin Havlat. Need I say more? Direct recipient of the Heatley deal. They guy started off the season recovering from shoulder surgery. He has 1 goal and 11 points in 19 games. Not exactly setting the world on fire.

The Sharks Penalty kill is almost too bad to even mention. They are actually ranked dead last in the league as we speak at a paltry 75%. Yes LAST! There is simply too much talent, too much speed and too much skill on this team to be ranked that poorly. It is inexcusable.

The San Jose franchise has been at the top of the Western conference for many seasons now. Each season the team seems to find a way to fail in some huge fashion. They have been talent laden for years yet have never had the right mix to break through. The problem is that most of the other teams in the league continue to improve each year.

With each turn of a season the Sharks must deal with more and more talented obstacles en route to their desired goal of Stanley Cup glory.

This season is no different. There are so many talented teams in the West that the Sharks will be hard pressed to make the playoffs. Their goal of winning the Stanley Cup is no stronger than say the Detroit Red Wings.

The Minnesota Wild and Heatley and Seto are at the top of the Western Conference, They may not be at season's end but they have certainly found ways to fight through adversity and have an edge about them. The Los Angeles Kings have struggled but have great goaltending and a deep roster at the ready.

The Chicago Blackhawks (Stanley cup Winners two seasons ago) seem stronger and deeper and they already 'know what it takes' to win it all. I could go on but I think you get the point.

The Sharks road to a title is going to be tough. It is even tougher when the team is not performing at expected levels. The members of the squad need to be better. They need to be in sync and they need to fire on all cylinders if they have any legitimate hope of making a serious run. Perhaps they simply need to 'gel' more than they have. Who knows if they will or won't. There is a lot of season left but the first quarter check point leaves a lot to be desired.

There are a lot of unknowns going on right now. What I do know is that the team currently taking the ice for San Jose is, at the moment, not Stanley Cup ready or worthy.



Contact Steve at stevybo@yahoo.com



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