Earlier this week, San Jose defenseman Kyle McLaren addressed the Sharks performance in back-to-back losses to Edmonton and Calgary on the Rick and Rod show. McLaren, a hard hitting team leader, questioned the effort that several San Jose Sharks brought to the ice.
Last night, we watched a disappointing overtime loss to anaheim — the best of the three road games post-Olympics by far, but it continues the problem with a lack of effort from some parts of the team. That lack of effort isn’t coming from the top four forwards (Thornton, Thornton, Marleau, Cheechoo) or the energy forwards (Smith, especially) the top four D, or the goaltending.
But the next tier down — the contribution just isn’t there. Eckman seems to have the effort, but McAuley? Dimo? It’s too soon to depend on too much from Bernier, and I’m happy with his play to date, but this team’s lacking something. Not talent, not even effort, but — fire in the belly?
Is it a case of enough young kids (and this is a young team overall) being comfortable enough with their situation?
But we’re ate the trade deadline. After the last three games, I’ve realized this isn’t a playoff team — but it would be if Joe had been with the team all season, the problem is digging out of the early season hole. I like the team overall (it needs tweaking, not fixing) — and I’m not sure that the problem isn’t just needing a year under their belts and a playoff miss to piss some guys off.
So at the trade deadline, my suggestion to Doug Wilson: if you do something, do it for next year, not this year. This isn’t a team to sneak into the playoffs in 8th and hope to get hot. Don’t mortgage later for a first round out; this team will be better long-term if it misses the playoffs this year.
But — if you can find the right pieces to pull in now for next season, go for it. To me, the positions I think most need upgrading are the ones that Eckman, Dimotrakos (who I think still has upside, but I don’t see him finding it for some reason) and especially McAuley (who simply seems to have faded during the lockout year) — go for it. Everyone else: I’d leave pretty much alone. I know some folks want to see us add to our defensive depth: I think what we have is fine, once Murray’s healthy. What some guys need is playing time, nothing else, although I’m starting to think we can upgrade from Jim Fahey — but I’d want someone young and mobile, not a veteran here.
To me, this team is 1-2 players from being an awesome team, which makes it a really frustrating team at times; but it’s also a very young team, which requires patience. And as a season ticket holder, I know playoff dates are important to team revenue, but I’d rather not pay to see this team go out in four in the first round, thanks. I’d be even less happy to see us mess up future years for a run for that kind of playoff. And that’s about what this team would do…