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One-quarter-of-the-way musings
It's been a mixed bag for the Sharks so far
11/27/17 - By Paul Krill -

As of this writing, the Sharks have played a bit more than 25 percent of their regular season games. It's been a mixed bag, with some impressive wins. But there are some troubling concerns. Following are some observations of how things have gone:

* I hope Sharks ownership is enjoying its share of the hefty expansion fee ($500 million) paid by the Vegas Golden Knights who, courtesy of a generous expansion draft and good management, not to mention on-ice wins, now sit in first place in the Pacific Division. Remember the days when expansion teams had to ice third-stringers and could be counted on as a phone-in win for opponents? Nobody wanted to lose to them because of the embarrassment. The rules have changed. Vegas could claim a playoff spot that might otherwise have gone to the Sharks.

* So Martin Jones gives up three goals on 14 shots on Friday against the aforementioned Knights and then stands on his head Saturday against the Jets, shutting them out but apparently sustaining an injury in the process. If he's out any length of time, this of course would be a great concern.

* The rash of nullified goals for the Sharks, with nebulous goalie interference calls and Tim Heed being off-sides by a couple of inches, is infuriating. Will the worm turn on this anytime soon? In a league that could use more scoring, we're seeing hard-fought goals repeatedly taken off the board.

* When we look at the Sharks lineup and try to find an All Star, only Logan Couture (13 goals, 6 assists, +7) really stands out and, on most nights, Jones (2.05 GAA). Meanwhile, Brent Burns has a grand total of one goal, which he scored just a couple of days ago, and players like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski have not shown up on the scoring sheet as much as they used to. Both are in their 30s and Thornton is coming off a major injury. Will they recover or is it just time to start thinking about the post-Pavelski, post-Thornton era? Can Burns start producing anywhere close to the pace he had last season when he won the Norris Trophy? Thus far, it doesn't look promising. He certainly is not a candidate to repeat his Norris win at this juncture.

* While Patrick Marleau didn't do much during his return to San Jose on October 30, he is enjoying a good season in Toronto, on pace for close to 30 goals and 20 or so assists. Would he have those stats if he stayed with the Sharks? I guess we'll never know but it looks like moving to Toronto was the right call for him.

* The Sharks have played 14 of their first 22 games at home. But they've been more impressive on the road. The upcoming road trip could be a good thing for the team.

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