This just hitting the wires —for his hit on Patrick Marleau. , and I agree with him. Fair suspension for a cheap hit, the kind we want removed from the game.
We really enjoyed the Sharks/Kings game. The Kings played well — and hard — and clearly felt they needed to rattle the Sharks cage to have a chance to beat them. Emotions got strong, but the Sharks didn’t back down, which was a great response and encouraging to see.
In a bit, we’ll head to the tank where the Thrashers come into town. It’ll be interesting to see what plays down, but the Sharks are seeing some of the hurt players coming back; Marcel Goc and Torrey Mitchell continue to be out, but the rest are coming back. Perhaps this “slump” is starting to end, the team’s gameplay is getting back towards what we saw early in the season.
Mark Emmon’s did a nice piece on Cheechoo and his struggles today. My feeling on Cheechoo, pretty much the only player not living up to expectations this year, is that he really needs to be both healthy and confident to play well — his skating is marginal enough that if he isn’t working at it every shift he struggles to play at the NHL level, so when he’s banged up, or when he’s not confident about his health, his production fades.
He’s trying, working hard. I have no complaints with his work this year, but we have to remember that his talent level is a lot closer to Jeff Odgers than it is Joe Thornton — and Jeff Odgers stayed in the league as long as he did not through raw talent, but by skating his butt off every night and getting his nose dirty, not by scoring lots of goals. Cheechoo has hands Odgers could only dream of, but the core of his game has to be the same: skate hard, work hard, play in the hard areas, and find the seams where his shot can get through.
As long as he keeps working at it, you’ll get no complaints from me. The Sharks have enough depth there’s no need to worry about this much.
We were talking at the last game about trade deadline deals, and Cheechoo’s name came up. He’s basically the only roster player I could see moving from the Sharks, and it’s not a priority to me that it happen (but I wouldn’t be shocked if it did). There was some feeling that Cheechoo would be perfect on the wing with Sydney Crosby. If that happens, I’d love it for Cheechoo’s sake, and it’d probably be fun to watch, because ultimately Cheechoo is Brett Hull’s hands on Jeff Odger’s baby brother’s body. I’m not convinced he’d return to his Rocket production in that situation, but having a setup guy like Crosby couldn’t hurt.
Me, I think I’d just leave this team alone. Hard to argue it needs much fixing.