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

post Step #1: Doug Wilson Safe. Step #2….????

May 2nd, 2012, 12:03 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Doug

No baby yet, so I thought I’d kill some time.

I noticed this release today on the Sharks official website, confirming what we all assumed was Step One in the offseason plan. Doug Wilson’s J-O-B is safe and he will be the point man for the changes this summer.

STATEMENT FROM THE OWNERSHIP GROUP OF SHARKS SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

“The on-ice results of our team this season are not acceptable to our fans, our organization or our ownership group. We will not lower our expectation that every San Jose Sharks team we put on the ice is capable of winning the Stanley Cup. Despite the fact that our team has experienced a tremendous amount of success over the past eight seasons, we are not satisfied with those results and neither is Doug. The ownership group has confidence that Doug will make the necessary changes to ensure our club remains among the NHL’s elite franchises.”

So Step #2 we’d all assume is will Doug Wilson continue with T-Mac as the teacher in his hockey classroom? You’ll notice T-Mac did not get the same vote of confidence from the ownership statement.

Mike and I are on record on this weeks podcast that we think it’s time for a change. Despite four years of making the playoffs, the lack of consistency, the brutal drop off on the penalty kill, and the apparent change in winning style in the NHL could steer DW in a different direction – especially if he’s stuck with many of the same players. It certainly will be easier to change the coaching staff than trade some of these contracts (Marleau, Thornton, Niemi) in an unknown CBA climate.

If T-Mac gets thrown overboard, one name I want to throw out is St. Louis Blues assistant coach, Brad Shaw.

Who the hell is Brad Shaw? Well, he’s an assistant coach on a team that whipped the Sharks fannies eight out of nine times this year and we know what a fan Doug Wilson is to paying homage to teams that are successful. Brad Shaw was voted by the 2011-12 NHL Players Association players poll as the assistant who most deserves a Head Coaching job. He played 377 NHL games as a defensemen and was Co-Captain of the Ottawa Senators in their second year in the league, something DW can relate to as a Captain of an expansion team himself. Maybe the most important connection between the two men is they both were dominant defensemen for the Ottawa 67′s under coach Brian Kilrea, a brotherhood that DW appears to take pretty seriously when evaluating hockey talent given his draft history. Maybe he would consider it when looking for another coach…

Nothing to see here yet…but if T-Mac gets canned, I would see if Doug Wilson has Brad Shaw on speed dial.

Be Sociable, Share!

    36 Comments to “Step #1: Doug Wilson Safe. Step #2….????”

    1. WingsFanInSharkLand says:

      Not only does DW pay homage to successful teams, he over-values them. So if the Antii Niemi gaffe is any indication, Brad Shaw is your next coach. I’m not taking anything away from Shaw. Maybe he will/would be a better coach in SJ than TM. The point is, Doug Wilson would be awesome at a game of Follow The Leader.

      • Girouxtiful28 says:

        Couldn’t agree more! If you look at the teams who win a championship in the NHL, they forge their own unique identities. A formula that works one season does not necessarily work the next season. In fact, the past couple of years a slightly different style has won out. Last year Boston was all about brilliant goaltending and punishing forwards. In 2010, Chicago won on the strength of its young, talented and speedy forward core and amazing defense (i.e. Niemi was a benefactor of playing behind a juggernaut squad). Doug Wilson simply has to decide what identity he wants his team to emulate and build the team accordingly.

        • Tom says:

          Agree and disagree.

          Sucking for a decade and just collecting top ten picks isn’t that difficult or original. In fact I think it’s a weakness in the NHL that gets exploited. I can’t really bring myself to give Chicago credit especially given all the mismanagement they experienced leading up to their win.

          And I think what DW is trying to emulate is being like Detroit – always competitive but not reliant on high draft picks. Sure, I’d love for DW to get the next three #1 overall picks in the draft, but we didn’t bribe the league …. Cough! Cough! EDMONTON OILERS!!…

          • GfaninSF says:

            Welcome everyone to mythbusters NHL edition. Here are some Chicago draft selections of Tallon’s and before.

            Duncan Keith, 54th overall
            Brent Seabrook, 14th overall
            Kris Versteeg, 134th overall
            Dustin Byfuglien, 245th overall
            Dave Bolland, 32nd overall
            Patrick Sharp stolen from the Flyers for Matt Ellison and a 3rd round pick.
            Marian Hossa shrewd free agent signing. Doug Wilson could have matched that contract but he didn’t want to offer a long term contract. There are pros and cons to both decisions but Hossa helped them win the Cup.
            Niklas Hjalmarsson 108th overall
            Only high picks I can think of are Toews, Kane, and Andrew Ladd. I know that’s what you were getting at, but youre forgetting the Sharks have…..

            Joe Thornton, 1st overall pick.
            Patrick Marleau, 2nd overall pick.
            Logan Couture, 9th overall pick.
            Milan Michalek, 6th overall pick, traded for Dany Heatley, 2nd overall pick, who was used to acquire very important forward Martin Havlat.
            Devin Setoguchi, 8th overall pick.

            This idea that Doug Wilson has done magic with low 1st round picks while teams like Chicago took the cheap way out and only won the Cup because they were bad is just false. In fact, since Doug Wilson took over in 2003, take a look at his 1st round draft picks outside of the top 10 overall.

            Bernier 16
            Kaspar 22
            Wishart 16
            Nick Petrecki 28
            Charlie Coyle 28

            It’s too early to judge on Coyle and he looks like a good pick, but that’s it. 5 picks, giving the benefit of the doubt on Coyle that’s he’s going to be a good pick, and he’s 1 for 5, with 3 1st rounders who aren’t even NHL players, and Steve Bernier who has been in and out of the NHL. That’s really bad.

            Has Doug Wilson made some good late round picks? For sure, but let’s not pretend that makes him special or any different from Chicago, either. One thing Doug has not done is draft a Norris defenseman 54th overall. Versteeg at 134th and Byfuglien at 245th overall are also great picks, same with Hjalmarsson at 108th.

            It’s definitely a myth that Wilson has built this team with low 1st round picks and Chicago just cheaped out to win the Cup. Maybe you’ll be able to make that argument about the Oilers if they win a Cup in the near future, but not Chicago. Chicago was just a better managed team than the Sharks, the only exception being some late mailed offer sheets. But that didn’t hurt them so much the Cup year as the years since. But up until the Cup year and including that year they won the Cup, Tallon was just better than Wilson, and if he had remained on as GM it would not have surprised me if he continued to be and found a way out of the offer sheet mess.

            • Tom says:

              The problem is that you’ve conveniently left out the fact that all those players the Hawks drafted were done so over a vastly shorter time period and were on ENTRY LEVEL CONTRACTS when they won the cup. In a salary cap structure the Hawks were able to ice a team vastly more loaded with talent than every other team because of this.

              So, It doesn’t really matter as much as what rounds they were drafted. (Although for note obviously we didn’t draft Jumbo… )

              This is why much of that Stanley cup team in 2010 had to be immediately dismantled after they won because there is no way they, or any other team theoretically, could have kept all those guys under the cap. And all of that ONLY HAPPENED because the Hawks were bottom dwellers in the western conference for over a decade.

              In 2009-2010:

              Kane: 875k

              Toewes: 850k

              Hjalmarsson: 666k

              Neimi: 826K

              Ladd: 1.6M

              AND it would have been even sweeter for Chicago had Dale Tallon not been such a baffoon and sent out qulaifying offers on time for Versteeg, Baker, Eager, Fraser, Johnson, and Brower…

              I’ll say it again, with all the mismanagement by the Blackhawks, its actually pretty fortunate for them they won the cup when they did becuase that 2010 team won not becuase of the supposedly wonderful job of drafting that Dale Tallon did… Thats not even taking into consideration the ridiculous contracts of Hossa, Huet, and Brain Campbell… They won in spite of Dale Tallon.. that’s why he isn’t their GM any longer…

              • Patrick says:

                This is the same Dale Tallon who’s now up for GM of the year? And the same Brian Campbell who was #3 in defensemen scoring for the year?

                • Tom says:

                  I never claimed Brain Campbell sucked. I claimed his contract is ridiculous, which it is… So much so the Hawks had to dump it to the Panthers.

                  And regardless of what Dale Tallon has done after the fact he still mismanaged the Hawks. Which has nothing to do with the fact they benefited from superstar high draft picks being on entry level deals FAR more than the prowess of Dale Tallon.

              • GfaninSF says:

                Im not following Tom. Your point was that the Blackhawks were only good because they sucked for so long and got very high picks. Your point had nothing to do with the proximity of those draft picks, in fact you even mentioned “decade” as your time frame which is not close proximity at all, and entry level contracts do not overlap a decade apart.

                You said, “Sucking for a decade and just collecting top ten picks isn’t that difficult or original. In fact I think it’s a weakness in the NHL that gets exploited. I can’t really bring myself to give Chicago credit especially given all the mismanagement they experienced leading up to their win.”

                I pointed out that wasn’t true. Now youre saying I conveniently left out the proximity of the draft picks. No, I didnt leave anything out, youre just making a completely new argument after I pointed out your first one wasnt strictly speaking accurate.

                Responding to your new point, I think youre reaching. Was Couture not on an entry level deal last season, and Michalek and Setoguchi before that in the last few seasons? Braun, Demers, Wingels, Mcginn, Mitchell, Pavelski, Clowe?

                If youre saying the Blackhawks benefitted from having more young quality talent on entry level deals all at once than the Sharks, that’s not luck, that means they drafted more, better young talent, in a more condensed time period, than Doug Wilson or the Sharks were able to.

                If Doug Wilson had drafted 2 all star defenseman at 54th and 13th overall, both outside of the top 10, in consecutive years like the Blackhawks did with Keith in Seabrook, then he would have received the same advantage the Blackhawks did of having a top defense pair on entry level deals at the same time.

                It goes back to why your first point is inaccurate. I believe only Toews and Kane were top 5 Blackhawks picks on the Cup winning team, and only Kane was 1st overall. Your 2nd point is that the Blackhawks benefitted from a greater quantity of young cheap talent all coming up at once, and that’s why you can’t give them credit for the Cup, but that’s only 2 players, 3 if you count Ladd who they traded for. That doesn’t make a Cup. Did all the Sharks early picks after expansion make them a Cup winner? Were Marleau and Falloon enough? They were not.

                So both arguments, that the Blackhawks only won the Cup because of their number of high draft picks, or the proximity of those close high draft picks, are forgetting that high draft picks only accounted for two or three pieces of that Cup winning team, and that the Blackhawks never would have won the Cup had they also not drafted so well outside the top 10 and in the later rounds, like Seabrook, Keith, Bolland, Versteeg, Byfuglien, Brouwer, Hjalmarsson, and made smart moves in the trade market, like Patrick Sharp, and in free agency, like Campbell who helped at the time and Marian Hossa.

                The fact of the matter is, Doug Wilson likes to acquire his star players in the trade market, probably because outside of Couture he has not been good at drafting his own star players, and that’s his choice. Thornton, Heatley now Havlat, Burns, Boyle, all traded for. That’s 4 of the Sharks top 6 or 7 players, brought in through the trade market, also their starting goaltender was brought in from outside the organization.

                One downside of building your team’s core through the trade market is that, while teams may trade you a star player on rare occasion, they will almost never trade you a star player still on his entry level contract. They will always be on big cap hits. To get stars on their entry level contracts you have to draft them, and unlike the Blackhawks, for example, Doug Wilson has not been able to draft star defensemen.

                If Wilson had drafted two star defenseman three years ago outside of the top 10 in the draft, maybe even in the 2nd round, like the Blackhawks did with Keith and Seabrook at 35th and 13th overall, next season our top defense pairing would cost about 2 million against the cap. But because he didn’t and had to trade for our top 2 defenseman instead, they will cost 12 million against the cap.

                That has nothing to do with being bad for a long time and getting high picks. That’s just something the Blackhawks were able to do that the Sharks weren’t, on even ground.

                I harken back to what I said in my first response, Tallon, or the Blackhawks, simply did a better job of building a team running up to 2010 than Doug Wilson did, or the Sharks did.

                Tallon did not take over from assistant to head GM until 2005, so it really goes to before him. The fairest way to say it would probably be that the people in charge of building the Blackhawks from 2000 to 2010, maybe even before 2000, did a better job than the people building the Sharks from around 2000 to 2010. Since Doug Wilson is responsible for the majority of those years, he obviously gets the lions share of the blame.

                PS I just know finished reading your comment after reading the thesis and responding right away, but Im taken aback by your examples.

                “And all of that ONLY HAPPENED because the Hawks were bottom dwellers in the western conference for over a decade.”

                Then you list a couple late round picks integral to them winning the Cup like Hjalmarsson and Niemi. So only bottom dwellers get late round picks? Your argument just doesn’t make sense.

                You go on to say the Blackhawks won the Cup in spite of Tallon and his ridiculous contracts to Hossa and Campbell, but if you accept the premise that Hossa and Campbell helped the Blackhawks win the Cup, and every Blackhawks fans on the planet does, that statement isn’t just one that most hockey fans would respectfully disagree with, it’s actually paradoxical and nonsensical.

                I don’t mean any offense but I think if you read your comment over you’ll probably agree you talked yourself into circles a bit and you’ll want to take some of what you said back.

                • Tom says:

                  WOW… hit a nerve there?

                • GfaninSF says:

                  To your response to Ruben, I’ll say it again, the Sharks have had plenty of high picks in their day, Marleau, Falloon, and they never won a Cup. The Oilers have more stars on entry level deals than anyone, they finished 2nd to last.

                  Honestly Tom I think if you look over their lineup again you will change your mind. There is simply no way the Blackhawks win the Cup without Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, David Bolland, Dustin Byfuglien, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Antti Niemi. That’s their top 3 defensemen according to Doug Wilson, even, their leading playoff goalscorer, their shutdown center, and their starting goaltender. Pretty core pieces to a team’s success, right? Only one of those six players was a 1st round pick, and even he, Seabrook, was picked 13th, not a high draft pick.

                  I mean those are just facts Tom. Those are 6 key players to their run all drafted by the Blackhawks outside of the top 10. Versteeg would make 7, Brouwer 8.

                  Your whole thesis is that they were able to get so many great young players on entry level deals at the same time because of high draft picks, but the facts say that’s just not true. Kane and Toews they were able to have on entry level deals at the same time because of high draft picks, the rest of the entire team, the depth which everyone agrees is what made that team special, had nothing to do with high draft picks or them being bad for so long. They just accumulated a lot of great young players by drafting shrewdly later in the draft.

                  Go look over those drafts, look over the roster, look at the facts, see if you dont change your mind. I know science disagrees with me, but I still have faith in the human capacity to listen to reason and change its mind if prevented with new evidence. Science says its the opposite, the mind puts all its energy into trying to prove itself right, creating circular arguments, but I dont think it always has to be that way.

                • GfaninSF says:

                  Sorry? I thought we were just talking about hockey. It seems like you misunderstood my tone Tom. I’m actually pretty tired, I’m writing in emotionless monotone just discussing hockey.

                  But that’s interesting you associate someone disagreeing with you with anger when there isn’t any.

                  I stand by what I said in my last comment that I wrote before seeing your “wow, hit a nerve there?” comment. I think if you look over the facts you will definitely change your mind.

    2. MJ says:

      Meh.

      Not to discredit or disrespect Shaw, but how’re the fans/players/ticket sales gonna react to another “who?” coach right after McClellan?

    3. Tom says:

      There may be other coaches available after the final.

      Rumors are Alain Vigneault and Joel Quenville could both be looking for new jobs.

      I’m not sure I’d want Vigneault but Quenville was rumored to have interviewed for the job before they hired T-Mac.

      Couple other points….

      Per the discussion about Marleau being too comfortable. I think that’s spot on but I’d go farther to say I thought the entire top six forwards were too comfortable all year. There was ZERO pressure for those minutes from the bottom six. The lack of competition within the roster I believe had a very negative impact on this year’s roster.

      Also… I’m not absolving the players of fault – but If we could make only either major player moves or a coaching move, I’d choose moving the coach. In fact with the right coaching staff and system I still think this group can win. I no longer believe any team with SJ will win under T-Mac… If we made major changes to the roster but did’t address the glaring coaching issues – we’re not getting any different of a result.

      • Ruben says:

        I wonder how the team would respond to Vigneault. I would imagine they would be excited to play such a creative style offense, and Couture might score 40 goals after Vigneault gives him 80% offensive-zone starts. But I get the sense that most players on the team have little respect for the Canucks franchise, and may rebuff becoming like them. Who knows…

        I personally am not buying the “comfort” angle with the players. I guess it is possible that it happened, but I just don’t see how a guy like Patrick Marleau was uncomforatble enough 12 years into being in San Jose to score 44 goals and 2 years later is now too comfortable such that it lead to 30 goals. And I don’t want to dismiss his poor 5 games in the playoffs out of hand, but I also have a hard time believing he cares less about his performance/winning now, at the tail end of his career with this bad reputation buing built around him and outside pressure at an all time high, than when his was in his mid-20′s scoring hat tricks against the Preds in the playoffs with his whole career ahead of him. But again, I guess it could happen, people lose interest in their jobs all the time, I guess hockey players would be no different.

        • Patrick says:

          Ruben, you’re being too kind. The “he’s too comfortable argument” is asinine. I’m actually shocked to hear either Dude buy into it, especially a stats-oriented Dude like Mike.

          Prior to this year, since the lockout Marleau has had 6 postseasons and scored 57 points in 73 games. In the last two years he had 26 points in 32 games. And the most likely explanation is that, all of the sudden, this year he became complacent?

          How about this year was a) a miniscule sample size, and b) against an opponent with a historically stingy defense.

          St. Louis gave up 165 goals this year. The leaders (post-lockout) from other seasons were:

          05-06: 200 (CGY)
          06-07: 191 (MIN)
          07-08: 184 (DET)
          08-09: 196 (BOS)
          09-10: 191 (NJD)
          10-11: 185 (VAN)

          So they’re more than 10% better than the next best defensive team over a SIX YEAR stretch.

          And 35 of those goals were in the first 13 games Davis Payne coached (2.69 GA/game). Once Hitchcock took over it was 130 goals in 69 games (1.88 GA/game).

          • Tom says:

            I’ve defended Marleau using his PO stats more times than I can remember.

            Here’s the bottom line though, he disappears for stretches then magically shows up for others. That up and down play that seems to be random just isn’t acceptable anymore.

            But I’ll make the case again – I think the main issue with this team is coaching and not the players. I still think they can win with this squad, with the right coaches. And my issue with the players having not enough competition and being too comfortable in their roles, lies solely with T-Mac.

        • James says:

          I buy into the too comfortable argument 100%. The Marleau 44-goal year was his contract year. He was playing to be able to stay in SJ. He was so inspired he was the only Shark scoring against the Hawks in the Conf Finals. But since signing that multi-year deal, his numbers have declined dramatically since. Maybe DW should have signed him to a 1 year deal and always have the opportunity to renew it … hahaha

          • Patrick says:

            Yeah, and the next year he had 37 goals, and 13 points in 14 playoff games. Why didn’t this sudden onset of complacency kick in right after he got his new contract?

            • James says:

              It did. His point total has been down 9-10 points each year since the contract. Goal total down 7 each year. That’s an annual dip of 13%. If he continues to slide at the same rate next year he’ll have 23 goals and 55 points.

    4. Tom says:

      Per DP on Working The Corners:

      DW said the review process is more emotional and taking longer than expected.

      DW said this:

      ““I don’t want to cut it short,” he said of the review process. “To me, this is a very valuable time to get people’s honest opinion. I had four meetings scheduled and two of the meetings went an hour and a half longer. To me it’s not going to be a rush. . . .Get all the input, let people speak. Sometimes it takes a little longer bedause one you get into it . . . I had one player, it was supposed to be a certain time frame and it ended up being five times longer. That’s what you have to do.”

      What I would give to be a fly on the wall in DW’s office!!!

    5. Tomi says:

      I am hesitant to say the winning style in the NHL is changing just based on this season. Remember when it was Chicago/Philly in the finals and everyone was saying it was a sure sign that the NHL was moving away from elite goaltending being an important component? I think that proved to be a fluke. It’s hard to draw too much of a broad conclusion from this season I think.

    6. Nick says:

      I think it’s fair to say the Kings are dismantling the Blues. You could argue that the Blues’ goaltending situation was broken by the injury to Halak but I think that would be selling the Kings’ success short. I think the differences between us, STL and LA provide DW with a striking perspective on where we have advantages and where we don’t. I’m sure it’s not lost on anyone here who beat who when.

      I would never call it heart but something our old friend Darryl Sutter’s team never lack is TEAM physicality and commitment. I think T-Mac’s approach has always been about finesse and that’s gone over well with our core who prefer to play tic-tac-toe hockey with the 3rd and 4th lines just meant to hold water (can I say they were supposed to kill penalties this year?). Physicality was left as something to respond to and prove we could take, but never something we dictate or dish out.

      Is Darryl Sutter the (hypothetical) answer? No. But I do think we need to consider the strengths of a team psychology that designates players to specific roles (T-Mac) as opposed to a full team commitment to all areas of the game (Sutter) and how that breeds consistency.

      To the point about Chicago and Edmonton stockpiling picks I would point to Philly as the alternative to Detroit. Philly has never gone through a major rebuild and is young, talented and physical. Some of that is based on team culture but they seem to always have a number of young talented players lighting the lamp. They have 4 talented lines and cap restrictions aside could field full forward lines for about 10 years based on the age of the current line up.

      I think this is especially important because of the cap structure. In order to be better than other teams impact players need to be coming up through the system and be difference makers while they are RFAs. This is a huge concern with the way we have acquired talent over the years by trading youth and picks. I’m not knocking the approach thus far and we’ve wanted to go for it, fair. But if there’s a team to emulate, I’d like to be looking at Philly as well.

      • Nick says:

        Just came out of my hockey shell and got caught up on the last 2 podcasts and realized you guys have been pointing at Philly too. Great minds? I hope the Sharks management is thinking the same way.

    7. Eric says:

      Congrats Doug!

    8. Tom says:

      20/20 and Marleau and Thornton aren’t Carter and Richards, but all those arguments we’re making now for major moves in SJ were made last year in Philly. 

      What if by some strange series of events we found Jumbo and Patty both playing for a team in the East next year and going on to win a cup… I don’t think we’d feel too good about it.  

      Just something to chew on. 

      • Tom says:

        Ughhh so sorry. Cut and past issues with my IPhone.

        Here is the first part of that post:

        Seeing LA moving on to the Conference finals and Philly going down 1-3 in their series made me realize some things. 

        I get the arguments that DW should look to the Flyers as how to proceed this offseason… And I myself have also agreed in the past that Holmgren has done a great job pulling the trigger on a major overhaul with his team. 

        But, what if the Flyers get bumped by NJ in this round and the Kings go on to win the cup? Are people going to sing the praises of Holmgren then? 

        I think this possibility raises two issues… 

        One, that many fans, GM’s and the media are all way too reactionary to what supposedly “works” in the NHL. 

        And two, that if the interpretation of following what the Flyers did equates to trading Marleau and Thornton because of the belief that we can’t win with them, then I submit what’s happening with Carter and Richards in LA is just as good as an argument against that type of move.  

        Hindsight is of course 20/20 and Marleau and Thornton aren’t Carter and Richards, but all those arguments we’re making now for major moves in SJ were made last year in Philly. 

        What if by some strange series of events we found Jumbo and Patty both playing for a team in the East next year and going on to win a cup… I don’t think we’d feel too good about it.  

        • Tom says:

          Oh… Also I think the Blues showed they weren’t as good as their record indicated.

          Either it was just a brutal matchup for us – or we sucked a helluv-a-lot more than we knew.

          ????

          • GfaninSF says:

            Tom I think that’s a good point you make. Ive found in the past Sharks fans seem to always take a “the best until proven otherwise” stance about the team that I disagree with.

            When we lost to Vancouver it was, damn, too bad there was just one team that was better than us. Same with Chicago. Because they went on to win the Cup after beating us, people thought that meant we were probably the second best team, and if only Chicago hadnt been there.

            Im not so sure. Vancouver looked better than the Chicago for long periods of time that year, they were undone by bad discipline. Nashville and Philadelphia both took them to 6 games, the Sharks only lasted 4.

            So I think thats a flawed way of looking at things, but with the Blues losing to the Kings at least we don’t have to deal with that this year.

            Were the Blues as good as their record? I think they were a very good team. I dont think you can look at what the Kings did to them and just say they that proves the Blues were overrated. I mean Canucks even without Sedin were probably the most talented and complete team in the West until the Kings started firing on all cylinders and beat them in five.

            And that’s what I think happened. The Kings finally got Richards playing like he used to, Brown and Doughty playing like they used to, Justin Williams. You also cannot underestimate the two guys they called up from the AHL at forward. People thought adding one top six forward at the deadline with Carter would make a big difference, but no one realized they sort of added three. Not complete top 6 forwards yet, not experienced, but they are big and talented in different ways, especially Nolan, and they are really good players.

            More than Richards, Brown, and Williams underperforming in the Kings top six, their problem was also that their depth was awful after losing Simmonds and Smyth. King, Nolan, and Richardson sort of just changed the whole equation for them in their lower lines.

            And Slava Voynov, how good is this guy? Like all young, small puck-moving defenseman he is vulnerable to being muscled off the puck by a gritty forecheck, making the odd mistake, but otherwise, there are a lot of characteristics there of a top pair dman. This is another impact player in many ways that they added.

            So they’re a really good team. I think the Blues were every bit as good as their record indicated, great at everything we thought they were great at, and they also had their few weaknesses that we also knew about. They’re not a great scoring team, they don’t have scoring stars, and they don’t have a lot of experience in the playoffs. They were a very good team with those few weaknesses that were pointed out.

            I just think they were a better team than the Sharks. It doesn’t mean the Blues weren’t vulnerable, just that the Sharks were not good enough to expose their weaknesses, where LA was. You can’t leave out the injuries either. Anze Kopitar was a huge factor in that series and Backes wasnt because he was injured. Losing Pietrangelo for a few games also has an impact. That’s the top center and top defenseman. I think LA wins anyway, but it’s a factor.

            But the Blues are definitely a great team. And I think Phoenix is a very good team now too. It’s not even about getting hot, it’s about maybe the team is just better than it was six months ago. With Oliver Ekman-Larsson really getting his confidence halfway through this year and starting to assert his game on the play, now the Coyotes have two #1 defense level talented dmen.

            I think fans look at the big names at forward on teams when they’re judging how talented a team is, but defense is just as important, and OEL and Yandle are as offensively skilled a top 2 on D as any team has or had in the whole playoffs. And then there is Rostislav Klesla, I know Sharks fans are in love with Vlasic, but Klesla might actually be playing at a higher level than Vlasic defensively right now. He is a former 4th overall pick himself, 6’3 220, another guy who supposedly had the potential and maybe he’s just figuring it out.

            It’s the same with Mike Smith. People are overrating Quick right now because he’s playing behind such a dominant team right now with good defensive numbers, but Mike Smith is playing the best goal in the world right now.

            Usually that means the team in front of him is playing bad and he’s the only reason they’re alive, but it’s not like that. The team in front is also playing extremely well. I think again people don’t see the big names and underrate a team. Ray Whitney has been great this year, so has Radim Vrbata. They might not be big names but for the purposes of putting up numbers and winning their team games, they are big names. They have been as good as the Toew’s or Couture’s.

            But how far can a team really get without a top center? And that’s where the biggest shift maybe has come in this team evolving. Martin Hanzal is evolving into a quality center. He’s just a bull out there, but he plays smart too, smarter than your average bull. He has underrated skill too. I didn’t realize, I thought he was maybe Thornton or Malkin size, 6’3 or 6’4, but I heard on the telecast that he’s 6’6.

            And with Hanzal, basically, all the things Thornton is now getting so much credit for doing for the Sharks the last few years defensively, using his size, reach, and skating to back check and control the play territorially, Hanzal is doing those exact same things for his team, just without the reputation and history of high assist numbers of Thornton.

            Then there is Shane Doan and just a lot of quality two way hockey players. Daymond Langkow, his cap ht may be awful, but people forget he was a top line center back in his day at times playing with Iginla, or at worst a good two way 2nd line center. He hasn’t necessarily had a great year but he still has that pedigree and that skill set that is subtly always there. Antoine Vermette is the same type of player. Mikkel Bodker is a former 8th overall pick, he’s starting to find it a bit, I mean he has speed and talent otherwise he would not have been picked there, he just didn’t find a way to make it work at the NHL level until now, but he’s starting to.

            So almost all these guys who are starting to develop offensively, you have to remember that with the Coyotes almost all of them also come with elite two way pedigrees, otherwise they would not have been brought to the Coyotes in the first place probably.

            Boyd Gordn is another example of someone who has played very well. Lauri Korpokoski, can’t believe I forgot him. He looks sort of awkward when he skates with the puck, which belies how good of a two way hockey player he is. Torres is suspended now but he’s fast, strong, with underrated skill, just another good hockey player who plays a hard game suited to the physical nature of the NHL playoffs.

            So before you say the Sharks are better than the Coyotes because they have the bigger names, I’m not sure that’s true. Even the season series says otherwise. The Coyotes went 4-2 against the Sharks this season, and one of those games was the 1st game of the season when the Coyotes were clearly not the team they are now, and another the Coyotes did not have Radim Vrbata or Shane Doan in the lineup I dont think. Hanzal may have been out some of those games too, as was Havlat for the Sharks.

            So 4-2, and even in going 4-2 against the Sharks, I’m not sure the Coyotes were as good then as they have evolved into now. Ekman-Larsson did not start playing this well until part way into the season, Hanzal didn’t until late in the season, they didn’t acquire Vermette until the deadline, Yandle, their standout dman from last season, was actually playing poorly for most of this season defensively, so they sort of gained Larsson at the expense of Yandle, which just keeps them in place. Now both are starting to play at their best together, or part way there anyway, which is what creates something special.

            In any case I just think if you look closer at the teams that have made it this far, they are better than they look from a distance.

        • Ian says:

          I’m with you Tom that fans are far too reactionary. It amazes me that after one down season after having one of the best teams since the lock out the number of people that are adamant that Doug Wilson needs to go. I understand there is no Cup banner in all those years but we are not exactly alone there either.

          Everyone is always talking about the “model” if the Coyotes win is everyone going to clamor for the Sharks to go bankrupt have relocation on the table for 5 years cobble together a team and hope for the best? Of course not… well I hope not. The same for lets stock up draft picks, I’m sorry I’d rather go into a year expecting that my team can win the cup every year rather than wonder if we can claw into 8th or win the draft lottery.

          There are obviously problems that need to be fixed, (I’m looking at you coaching staff). and the Sharks should do something this summer and I won’t cry if Marleau is moved and will probably be disappointed if he is back along with Niemi however I’ll be livid if they move Jumbo who has been one of our best players in the last 3 post seasons. Moving them both seems like a huge panic move especially considering that Richards and Carter were moved to bring in Bryz and make Pronger happy. I don’t think that the Sharks are really in the same boat that caused Philly to make those moves, personality clashes etc.

          I will say one thing though I agree with you on wishing to be a fly on the wall during Doug Wilsons meetings, that would be some entertaining stuff.

    9. Nick says:

      It might be an overly obvious question but the biggest thing that needs to be answered is can THIS core group of players win a cup? If we still think the answer is reasonably ‘yes’ then we can consider retooling around them and helping them find a way to in. But if the answer is ‘no’, which I think more and more of us are inclined to agree is the case, then pieces need to be moved and we can’t be shy about it. Those players may fit a mold or a need elsewhere and make that team stronger. I think it’s misleading to look at Carter and Richards in LA and say, those 2 could of been with Philly, and assume that Philly would then of had LA’s result. Philly saw a fundamental flaw they felt would bar their team from ultimate success and acted on it, getting younger, deeper and addressing their key weakness (goaltending via cap space). That’s what I think we need to consider emulating.

    10. Ruben says:

      Congrats Doug on the new addition :-)

    11. Tom says:

      Is it just me or does anyone else find it strange that Greg Jameson is heading up a group to buy the Coyotes after SVSE reported he left them to “spend more time with his family”??..!!??

      Seems to me there was some internal “disagreements” in SVSE. 

      So let’s recap; 

      - DW claims all offseason in 2010 that he has NO INTEREST in signing Antii Neimi – yet does so anyways, right after Jameson steps down from his post…

      - suddenly DW doesn’t spend to the salary cap for the the first time in many seasons in 2011… 

      - Quickest bow out in Sharks history in the PO’s – SVSE raises ticket prices anyways for the third year in a row…

      See a pattern here.

      It sure seems like a shift has happened with the ownership group of the San Jose Sharks. 

      It’s tough because this isn’t Toronto, or Montreal, and there is absolutely zero interest or pressure from the media to find out. Not that I want to become like those places, but this is what sucks about hockey in San Jose… If there has been a major shift, we’ll probably never hear about it. 

      • Ian says:

        I forget what I was watching, it was some Canadian sports talk show on either TSN or Rogers Sportsnet and they likened the situation to the Winnipeg situation is n the way that Mark Chipman is the mouth but hes not the Money which of course comes from the Thomson Family. They said that they believe that Jameson is simply the poster boy for this deal for purely optics as he headed a group that turned another non-traditional market profitable in San Jose and is probably not the largest money behind the bid.

        My feelings on DW not spending to the cap is he was not happy with his team going into the year but did what he could with what he had and left room so he could do what seems to be a nearly impossible deadline deal these days because of the cap… however we could speculate about that all day. I don’t know.

        The other stuff, I have no idea, I disliked the Nemo signing at the time and I hope he is gone this summer and my ticket prices are Center Ice, lol. I as well find the idea that Doug Wilson might be the only smart hockey guy left at his level in the management of the team very troubling for 2 reasons. First if they did Fire Doug Wilson who decides his replacement which is scary for a ton of reasons and Second because no one will oppose DW if he somehow loses his mind and becomes a bad GM which I don’t think he is. Or simply it could go the route of non-hockey people making bad hockey decisions. It could simply be time to move Doug Wilson up to president/ceo and have him hire his replacement.

        Interesting stuff for sure Tom.

    12. James says:

      Congrats Doug!

    13. Ruben says:

      Lol, I don’t think we are getting a podcast this week… A well-earned (and well-timed) break for the dudes!

    14. BobbySmith15 says:

      i know i’m late to the dance here but Tom is typical of most SJ Sharks hockey come latelys… plainly stated, he’s just butthurt that Chicago outplayed SJ and then advanced to the Cup final in 2010, where again, the better team won… glad to hear Doug Wilson’s job is safe, which means, SJ won’t make it past the 1st or 2nd round now, if that, with a diminished roster of aging floaters like Thornton.

    Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

    ruldrurd