Chuq Von Rospach is a Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management and amateur photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and landscapes. My goal is to explore the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found. You can find out more on the About Page.
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Monthly Archives: January 2008
I think if I were Doug Wilson, I’d be out of patience.
Last night’s game against Dallas was disappointing. The ice wasn’t great, but the Sharks should understand how to play that ice by now, and it seems to bother them a lot more than the other teams. Dallas deserves credit for playing hard and skating hard, and the Sharks just didn’t step up the game to match.
I don’t know why Ron Wilson insists on playing Marleau on the point on the power play. Well, yes, I do, none of our defensemen can really QB the power play, but Marleau’s not really doing much better. And five on five? Marleau keeps really disappointing me. -1 last night, -3 against Phoenix, -1 against Anaheim, even against Toronto, -1 against Vancouver. For those counting, that’s -6 with 1 goal and 3 assists in the last five games, averaging 15-16 minutes a night and first power play.
It doesn’t get any better with Marleau — his last plus game was LA on 12/26, and that’s almost a month ago. In the last 15 games, he was plus ONCE, even three times, and minus 11 times. In those 15 games, he had one multi-point game, and has 2 goals and 5 assists. 7 points and a combined -14 in ten games?
(sounds of hair being torn off my head. both of them)
I’m not sure why Ron Wilson is unwilling to SIT HIS FREAKING BUTT in the pressbox. Bring up Kaspar if you must. Move Mitchell to the 2nd line and sit Marleau on the 4th line if you want. Do something. Send a message here, Ron.
(it’s funny, but the guys on the XM morning show were on the "I don’t know why they aren’t playing marleau on the top line…" thing again. You know, I have a similar question. I don’t know why the Sharks are bothering with him on the second line at this point — putting him on the first line? Please… I want SOME chance of winning)
If I’m Doug Wilson, I’m listening to suggestions. Unfortunately, I also know I’ve waited long enough that those suggestions are going to be insulting, but it’s time to consider moving Patty. See what you can get. Start with a defenseman with some offensive ability on the PP.
Ozolinsh — god, I love the kid (Laurie and I helped him buy his first mac, god knows how many years ago) — but at the end of the day, he’s Sandis. Crazy in the offensive zone, dangerous in the defensive zone. he tries, but he just isn’t the best defensive defenseman out there. He makes a nice 7th D, but no more now.
Semenov is trying, but he’s too slow; took three pylon penalties last night and watched the first 18 minutes of the third — I knew when Wilson put him out with 1:30 to play that Wilson was sending the team a message, and that message was "I don’t believe you can pull this sucker out, and I want you to know that…"
You can look at the losses in the last 15 games, and in almost ever case, you can say that it Marleau’s minuses were even zeros — many of those games would have been victories. it seems Marleau’s line is minute no matter who is playing on that line; there’s only one common factor here.
And last night he fell asleep at center ice and got undressed for a breakaway. gah.
I’ve been patient with Marleau. I’ve been supportive of Marleau. I’ve been a fan of Marleau.
And now, as virtual GM of the Sharks, I’m trading Marleau for a bag of pucks if I have to. At this point, I see it as addition by subtraction. I don’t know what’s going on with marleau; it doesn’t seem to be an injury, unless it’s a permanent braincramp — but it’s time for the Sharks to solve it, since Marleau seems unable or unwilling to fix himself. A few games in the pressbox (hell, I’d rather see Davison in the roster right now than marleau playing forward. Put HIM on the point; it can’t be any worse) would be a start, but I think it’s time for Marleau to try on a new uniform.
I considered suggesting removing the C (and giving it to Grier), but Marleau just seems to be the kind of person who would go in the wrong direction there. not motivation, but further into the shell. you can’t turn it into a "focus on your hockey" moment, which is too bad.
But it’s painfully obvious this team is improving — in fits and starts — but needs some changes to talent and chemistry. And you look at who’s not getting the job done, and night after night, game after game, there’s only one name in common.
Time to do something, Doug and Ron.
Sharks fans — and worse, sharks pundits — seem to have a problem. What is there to complain about now?
After last night’s win over Toronto in the tank, we see the San Jose Sharks with the 3rd best record in the NHL after Detroit and the Senators. The team has 3 wins and 7 points in the last four home games, including the last two being very strong (almost workmanlike) efforts — they finally are hitting their stride at home.
You have to go back to December 22nd for their last regulation loss, that’s 7 wins and an OTL. Last ten games is a terrible 7 wins, 1 loss, one OTL. heck, even at home, their last ten games is a respectable 5 wins, 3 losses, 2 OTL for 12 points in ten games.
Lack of production from the defense and power play? Last night, two goals from the defensive position (Marleau was playing D when he scored on the PP), Rivet has 5 points and three goals in four games, along with points from Carle and McLaren. Secondary scoring is showing up, especially from guys like Rissmiller and Bernier. Thornton continues to motor away and get his points, too.
The team has crossed the .500 mark (9-9-4 for 22 points in 22 games) at home.
Heck, even Patrick Marleau looks better, and the last couple of games, Jonathan Cheechoo seems to me to be starting to look like Cheechoo again, motoring around a bit like Jeff Odgers with soft hands. Oh, yeah, and Jeremy Roenick is looking like the JR in Chicago — Don’t know what Doug Wilson knew, but there’s some definite magic here. Even my early season whipping boy, Curtis Brown, has hauled himself off the cart I stuffed him on and is playing well in his role.
This creates a real problem for Sharks fans who like to bitch… What is there to bitch about? The team struggled at home early, it didn’t always play as well as we wanted — but unlike some other teams, it never dug itself a hole, it simply hung around as 5th or 6th best team in the league. And now the missing pieces seem to be showing up, and the team’s headed off into elite placement as we expected. As I love to point out, it’s a lot better to end the season playing well than start that way and fade, and that seems to be where this team’s headed. We have to remember we’re doing this without Ryan Clowe, too, a non-trivial injury loss.
I was wondering what team would show up last night. Indications were encouraging, but the important part is sustaining it. One or two games didn’t matter, did the Doug Wilson tongue lashing take hold? Last night, I think we got the answer — early in the season, this team would have shut down after the early goal, but last night, it just kept pushing away until it found a chance and capitalized on it. Game didn’t start all that well — the Sharks looked tight and nervous, and Toronto came out early and out-skated them and out-worked them. Even at that, the Sharks didn’t look bad to me, just that Toronto looked better. The Leafs caught a mistake and buried it for 1-0, but even so, I felt the Sharks were in good position.
In between periods, some of my section-mates were bitching about the Sharks, and my view was that it wasn’t the Sharks fault, but credit to the Leafs. With the Sharks being on HNIC for the first time in a while, a bunch of the players were clearly showing the “my entire town is watching” nerves early on. I said at the time I felt the Leafs couldn’t do that for 60 minutes and that the Sharks would take this one, to skeptical reactions…
Start of the second made me worry a bit. The Sharks looked flat, Toronto kept pushing. Terror hit the stands when Nabokov went down and stayed down (replays showed it to knee to the helmet, fortunately not serious); Nabby gave up a bad goal shortly after that clearly seemed to show he was still slow from the hit, but then he settled down and was fine. After that, you could start to feel the momentum shifting. There were three shifts in a row about the 10 minute mark of the 2nd — the Roenick line, the Grier line, and the Roenick line again (smart move by Wilson) that simply pinned the Leafs in their zone cycling and pounding, and after that, the Sharks started rolling. The shot counts for the 2nd and 3rd tell the story, and the Sharks fight back to win 3-2 going away. Once the first goal was scored, you could see the Leafs deflate and start playing “not to lose” hockey, and the only question was whether the sharks would have the time to score the goals. They did.
All in all, that seems to be the character of the Sharks now: steady, patient, “not how you start, how you finish” — they could be more physical, but honestly, their focus is on taking hits when they make sense, but playing the position and the play and not play for the hit. This is most noticeable in the change in game (quality and results) in Doug Murray (at +17, but it’s looking like Big Joe will catch him soon).
So some folks are going to be miserable here — there’s very little to complain about. Me? I’m going to sit back and enjoy the show. If the Sharks can keep this going, the only thing they really have to worry about is Detroit (and maybe Anaheim… they still worry me, especially if Teemu comes back). But even so, you’re starting to see some separation in the logjams that are the stanndings — Detroit at 70, Ottawa at 62, then San Jose at 56 and New Jersey and Dallas at 55, then you have a few points until you hit Pittsburgh at 53 and Montreal and a bunch of teams in the west at 52. Four points between San Jose and four teams isn’t a huge lead — but it’s a bigger lead than has existed for anyone but detroit this season….
The West continues to show how tough it’s going to be: Anaheim is currently 7th seed with 52 points, and the Blues (way to go, J.D.!) in 9th at 49. 49 points in 42 games trends towards needing 95 points to make the playoffs in the West (in the East, it’s trending towards 89) — there’s no wiggle room. The Sharks have to remember they’re literally a four game losing streak from being out of the playoffs.
And so tonight, at 5PM, the Ducks in anaheim. Should be a fun game. I’m looking forward to sitting down with some popcorn and a beverage and enjoying the show….