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Two dudes blogging and podcasting about the San Jose Sharks, straight from sunny California.

post Sunday Musings

July 18th, 2010, 10:56 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

From Steve Simmons, via Kukla:

We take you now to the front office meeting of the San Jose Sharks, where the determination is made about how to win the Stanley Cup. “I’ve got the answer,” one voice says. “Let’s sign Antero Nittymaki to be our goalie.” There is applause all around. This is, of course, fictional: Or is it? One of the deepest, strongest teams in hockey lost its No. 1 goalie and replaced him with Nittymaki. And this somehow makes them better? There is but one plausible explanation for this: John Ferguson Jr. works for the Sharks. The same man who traded Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft, believed in Justin Pogge and gave up multiple picks for Vesa Toskala. Must be Fergie. Otherwise, can someone please explain what GM Doug Wilson is thinking?

In the immortal words of Will Hunting, that’s a tough one, but I’ll take a shot.  Maybe DW was thinking that it wasn’t too smart to sign a goalie with a mid-20s SV% ranking since the lockout to a multi-year deal worth 5 or more million dollars per year.  Maybe he was thinking that both the Flyers and the Hawks has unproven goalies that weren’t making a lot of money, and yet both made it to the Stanley Cup.  And maybe the scouts (and the GM) were tired of a goalie that made all-world saves in certain situations, but gave up 50-foot wrist shots in others.  That a solid, butterfly style for less money is better than an acrobatic style for more money.  That the real improvement needs to be made on blueline.  Since the trades for Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle happened before JFJ got there, maybe DW is just treating him as another scout- a guy that watches players and evaluates them, making the trade and signing decisions himself.  Nittymaki, after all, didn’t play for Toronto, or even in their division.  If JFJ really had DW in his pocket, wouldn’t the Sharks have traded for Tim Thomas by now?

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    9 Comments to “Sunday Musings”

    1. Tom says:

      Sick em’ Doug!!!

      Some journalists need to leave their special breed of Canadian-brand-hockey-insanity north of the border.

      Also, DW ISN’T DONE!!! If any grade could be given to this move it’s clearly an “incomplete”! DW has already stated this move signals a philosophy change in net for San Jose. As you said previously, this move only works with an upgrade on the blue line. How about we suspend judgement until the other half of this philosophy change is complete?

    2. Adam says:

      I agree with the decision to not resign Nabokov, especially at last year’s salary because of the team’s needs elsewhere — namely defence, as has been mentioned. But, I do think it’s important to not completely buy into what happened last year in the playoffs, at least with regards to goalies and experience.

      After all, in the 2009 playoffs, the final four goalies were: Chris Osgood, Marc Andre Fleury, Cam Ward, and Nikolai Khabibulin. All goalies who had played in the finals before and 3 of the 4 had won a Cup. That was just one year ago. If that happened in 2010 instead of 2009, everyone would still be talking about needing “experienced” goaltending. And all those goalies make big money.

      In 2008: Osgood, Fleury (at that point “not experienced”), Turco, and Martin Biron (over Niittymaki, who already had his 6-game 2006 Olympics that Doug Wilson is so high of; but maybe that was when his hip injuries started, which isn’t great news either).

      In 2007: Giguere, Hasek, Ryan Miller (his first playoffs), and Ray Emery (his first playoffs).

      There’s “unproven” — Fleury, at one point Ward, possibly Halak and Niemi this year — and then there’s “journeyman” — Biron and Emery. We have to hope that Niitymaki is more of the former and not the latter. The potential problem with the Niittymaki signing is that he could be a $2M backup. It just seems like a steep price for a guy that does not look demonstrably better, thus far, than Greiss. If he ends up the backup, I would rather have part of those funds to distribute elsewhere.

    3. Haie says:

      To keep nabby on the team after the last 2 playoff years, not too mention giving him another “reward” type of contract for those performances, is insanity. I just remember seeing warm-ups before game 4, where the sharks were down 2-1 to the avs and seeing Anderson in his monstrous pads and how he took up most of net with his size alone, and then see nabby at the other end with a skinnier frame, smaller pads, and riskier style of play and thinking, “Man we might just put up 50+ shots on this crappy team for the rest of the series and still lose 0-1 every game because their goalie simply does not allow the angles/holes ours does to score with. The only way the sharks are beating teams that put up as much firepower as them (aka every team they’ll face in the later rounds) is to have a goalie of the same mold as nitty and have a lot of blue-collar guys who are willing to block shots from the point/slot. Washington was putting up around 70-80 total shots per game against the offensively impotent habs, and half of those were blocked by defensemen and the other half stopped by Halak.

    4. MrT says:

      What has Doug Wilson done to show that he thinks the real improvement needs to happen on the blue line? Did I miss something?

    5. Tom says:

      @Mr. T

      Besides attempting to sign Hamhuis and signing Hammer to an offer sheet?

      There was also the interview on Chronicle Live where he said as much too…

    6. MrT says:

      Well we know he did try. To be fair he may have been in the running for guys we don’t even know about. But the bottom line at the moment is he struck out thus far. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where the Sharks keep the top forwards intact, yet suffer setbacks in net, at the blue line, on the checking lines, in the faceoff circle, and on the PK.

      But am I sure since DW is a super-genius and all he’ll do some magic and all the problems will be solved.

      This is the beginning of the end people. Years of trading picks prospects and players for rentals that have left town and an almost-Cup-worthy-core will begin to catch up to the team starting now.

      • evilducks says:

        I’ve heard this for 3 years now. One day you’ll be right I’m sure.

        • MrT says:

          All right… it’s pointless to argue this. Still the statement that DW is “focused on the blue line” is a stretch IMO. If he hadn’t signed Wallin and Marleau but instead had landed 2 huge defencemen like the Pens did I think we could safely say he focused on the blue line.

          It’s frustrating to watch DW build the team for me, because of all people it seems a HoF worthy defenceman should be putting more focus on building a Cup-worthy blue line indeed.

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