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San Jose Sharks

Wholesale Changes

sharksfanWith so many changes in the off season any difference in the Sharks’ overall performance, be it for (hopefully) better or worse, it’ll be hard to pinpoint which change was responsible for the outcome.  Was it changing the coaching staff?  The wholesale changes on defense?  The philosophy shift from talented youth to experienced veterans?  It’s definitely going to be an interesting season.

The Coaches: I felt comfortable with the firing of Ron Wilson but I think much of the support for that decision was based on our general disappointment with being bounced from the playoffs in the second round…again.  But when you look back at the Sharks performance while under Wilson’s direction was it only a matter of time before we got there?  I mean, 104 pts/(lockout)/99 pts/107 pts/108 pts + Pacific Champs isn’t too bad of a run (just ask my buddy TorturedKingsFan).  And when you compare the Sharks 2008 playoff performance with their 2007 there were definite signs of improvement.

It always feels safe to stay with what you know but even so I always felt the Sharks were never really ready for the playoffs - that other teams always seemed to take the game to us no matter who they were (except the Predators).  Todd McLellan said when he was at Detroit the Red Wings knew the Sharks were soft.  The new coaching staff worked systematically to decipher exactly where the Sharks’ weaknesses lie.  Whatever the result I’m very hopeful and excited about the new look McLellan says he has in store for us.

The Defense - Most analysts downgraded the Sharks for their inability to make up for the loss of Brian Campbell.  I think that argument is ridiculous.  If Brian Campbell is considered the best defenseman in the NHL then of course ANY signing of ANY other player is a downgrade - there’s no player better than Campbell for us to sign!  But of the defensemen we did manage to sign…

The Philosophy - I agree with people who say give Doug Wilson credit, when something isn’t working he isn’t afraid to change his ways.  And not only does he change his ways but he does it sooner rather than (too) later.  Going from ‘Young and Talented’ to ‘Veteran Mix’ in one off season is a quick change indeed.  Does adding veterans who’ve won The Cup make that big of a difference, especially one’s that may be at the end or downside of their careers? I think so.  Sometimes the only people you’ll believe are the one’s who’ve been there before - no matter where ‘there’ is.  An in the case of the NHL, there’s only one ‘there’ that matters.

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