Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Logo

The Sharks announced their new logo today, along with several accompanying logos, to be used either as patches on the sleeve, or for merchandise. If you are a Sharks fan, chances are you've already seen it- it's been leaked for a couple of weeks now. It's quite similar to the old logo. The triangle is more curvy, the shark itself is going more down than to the right, and there's more teal in the shark. Also a yellow-orange is introduced as an accent color, which I kind of hate. Too much like the Ducks. I like this shield crest the best:

This isn't the right logo for the jersey though. It would be cool as a small front logo on a shirt or something. I might need to get myself a new hat, I lost mine last year. But looking at the online store, they're still using the old logo, and don't have any merchandise with the new designs. Way to bungle a sales opportunity, guys.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Worst Signings

Now that Grier is off on a much-deserved vacation for the next week or two, it's time for me to pick up some slack. And because there is so little Sharks news happening, I'll have to turn to league-wide news and controversy. This is something I've been thinking about for a while, and I finally have a little bit of time to write about it.

So Rudy Kelly at BoC wrote a post called "Anger... Rising" (great title, by the way) about Adam Proteau's article naming Lubomir Vishnovsky as one of the offseason's 5 worst signings. First of all, I agree with Kelly that Vish shouldn't be on the list. He's an oft-overlooked defensemen, mostly because he plays for the Kings, who aren't any good.

Actually, I think I agree with Proteau on only one of his 5 'worst' signings, and that is Todd Bertuzzi. $4M per year is a nice lottery win for Bert, who's managed to do just about nothing good in the league since the Steve Moore incident. He was part of a huge trade that brought Roberto Luongo to Vancouver, hurt his back, then was quickly run out of town in Florida. He landed in Detroit, where he played uninspiring minutes the entire postseason. Maybe he's worth throwing a couple mil at, in hopes he can return to his dominating style when he had Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund at his side. Doubling that number is nothing more than wishful thinking, idiocy, or both.

Here's four others, in no particular order

  • Chris Drury - 5 years, $35.25M ($7.1M per year). I think I've made my thoughts on Drury fairly clear before. I like him. I think he's a fine player, and a leader. He's a good faceoff man. But he's never scored 70 points in any one of his 8 full NHL seasons. Spending that kind of money on a second line center is stupid. Ranger stupid.
  • Scott Hartnell - 6 years $25.2 million ($4.2M per year). Hartnell's had 6 years in the bigs, and hasn't even topped 50 points. He's only 25, so I can imagine future upside, but we'd have to see a major rebirth to explain that kind of money.
  • Cory Sarich - 5 years, $18M ($3.6M per year). Played less than 20 minutes per game his entire career, only been a plus player once, never scored more than 20 points in a season. If you said "who the hell is Cory Sarich?" I would understand. Only my obsession with hockey and my brain's freaky ability to retain names kept me from saying the same thing.
  • Bill Guerin - 2 years, $9M ($4.5M per year). This makes Keith Tkachuk (2 years, $8M) seem like a bargain. Guerin is 38 years old. Why the Isles didn't throw this money at Jason Blake is beyond me. Guerin will help a struggling team win nothing. You want a better leader for less money, go get Mike Keane.
One thing I've thought about is in these long term contracts the team might be hoping that the player 'grows into' it, and the last couple of years in the contract they are a bargain. First of all, this might very well be offset by overpaying the first few years of the contract. Secondly, that's assuming that these players will still be that good in a few years. I don't know of many players you can be that sure about.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rumor Mill

Just to keep the pot officially stirred - I read an interesting rumor posted by Eklund on hockeybuzz.com that the Sharks are close to making a deal for (wait for it) Wade Redden. He says the asking price might be Marleau, which doesn't make much sense. Ottawa could not afford to keep Marleau, so he would purely be a rental where the Sharks would make every effort to sign Redden right away to keep the #1 defensemen Wilson covets. I am guessing there is a third team involved here that wants Marleau (Edmonton? Montreal?) that has the pieces that will make sense for Ottawa in this deal.

We shall see...if Redden comes, remember you heard it here first! Let's hope it can happen without giving up the Captain.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Poor Man's Sean Avery

Sean Avery. He's got it all. Big time hockey career that has taken him from Hollywood to the Big Apple. Talent and grit that allows him to score or fight, whatever suits his mood. A hot girlfriend, Elisha Cuthbert, that sweet piece from 24 and a host of slasher films where you see her running in the wood, boobies bouncing in the breeze.

For Doug Wilson, Sean Avery was not availabe as a restricted FA for the Rangers. Wilson obviously covets the trio of skills listed above and instead signed the next best thing. Sharks fans meet....Brad Norton. Let's examine.

BIG TIME CAREER - Um...not really. He did play four games for the Red Wings last year getting into four fights. The ones I saw on You Tube show him getting his ass kicked pretty regularly by mid level tough guys. Result - negative.

TALENT - Not really from the research I gathered. There's a reason why he's played for five NHL teams and bounced around the IHL and AHL. Does he like to fight, apparently. 124 career NHL games and 287 PIM. Cheaper than Scott Parker I suppose, but Parker actually seemed to win his fights.

HOT WIFE - Check! Bingo - thank you Doug Wilson. Brad Norton's wife is Tiffany Granath, model and host of Playboy's afternoon radio show on Sirius. Heard her on Howard Stern and she is HOT! I hope she gets seats in my section! MAHALO!


Sad when this is the big news of the week, but alas, it is. We look forward to watching you fight, oh brave Brad Norton. Whether you win, place or show - you will always have a hot piece of ass wife for us to stare at. Amen Sharks fans. Amen.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Souray wants his mommy

So instead of coming to a team on the cusp of winning a Stanley Cup, Souray showed his true colors and played it safe by going home to Edmonton to play for a bottom feeder team that is headed nowhere fast. Congrats to Kevin Lowe for getting someone to take part of the 20 million he has to offer. I am disappointed, but I still trust Doug Wilson and we have no reason not to. We know he takes pride on building from within, he pulled off the biggest heist in league history by landing Big Joe and he has had excellent draft after excellent draft. My man Mike is upset and he has every right - but to say the Sharks are a border line playoff team and that we have "the worst D in the division" I think is just the piss and vinegar talking.

Here are the Sharks current top six defensemen.

Vlasic, McLaren, Rivet, Carle, Ehrhoff and ??? (Wilson is going to add another veteran defensemen - I stand by this statement)

Now take a look at the rest of the division and how I rank the units.

#1 - Dallas Stars - Stars have a strong veteran group and are five deep.
#2 - Los Angeles Kings - Kings have improved considerably on the blue line and will have Jack Johnson for a full year.
#3 - San Jose Sharks - We have two rising stars in both All Rookie defensemen from last year. No other team in the division can stake this claim.
#4 - Anahiem Ducks - Schneider for Neidermeyer is not an equal trade. The Ducks have become considerably less scary and just as old. They don't have a young core of D.
#5 - Phoenix Coyotes - Yikes! After Michalek, JovoCop and Morris, is there anyone left??

Now that Souray has signed, the rest of the UFA crop will fall into place. Sopel, Markov and Sutton will find homes now and we'll see what Wilson has up his sleeve. So put the shitburger back Mike and don't forget how good this team is. I still believe that Wilson has something in the works that will not only make the Sharks better, but the Sharks will take a step closer to the Cup. Whether it is trading for a Redden or adding a C+ veteran like Sopel, the Sharks will contend for the Pacific Division crown.

Cancel that, the saga is over

Souray signs with the Oilers. Sportsnet reports it as a 5 year, $27M deal. That comes out to $5.4M per year. So I can revel in the fact that I was right, and now that we went 0 for 4 on the guys I mentioned, the Sharks need to scramble to hold on in the Pacific division.

Some thoughts while I'm still nice and bitter:

  • Have fun with that 9 month winter
  • Enjoy playing for a team that couldn't sign their captain or best defensemen, and replaced the D with two players that were a combined -53 least season
  • I can't imagine the Sharks offered less than that kind of money, which probably makes Souray the 2nd player in two years to take less money to not play for the Sharks.
  • Rob Davison or Doug Murray? Kind of like, should I eat a shitburger or a tofurkey for lunch?
Unless Doug Wilson pulls another Thornton-esque trade out of his ass, we'll have the worst D in the division, while watching several other teams in the West get better. If Carle and Ehrhoff don't step it up in a major way this season, the Sharks could be fighting for a playoff spot. Figure the Wings, Ducks, Avs, Flames are locks, with Dallas, Minnesota, and Vancouver likely.

The saga continues

From this article:

The Daily News also has learned that Sather is shopping center Matt Cullen, with a trade back to the Carolina Hurricanes very much on the front burner. Should the Rangers shed Cullen's contract (three years left at $2.8million per), they'd trim nearly $3million from this season's cap hit.

That could simply provide flexibility for potential in-season moves. But it just as easily could be the first step in a plan to clear enough cap space to sign free-agent defenseman Sheldon Souray, whom the Devils and Islanders have pursued. Unloading defenseman Paul Mara's $3million salary undoubtedly would be another requirement.

The planets would really have to align for the Rangers. Why would teams take on those salaries? Especially teams in the East, knowing full well the Rangers want to use that money to improve their team? I stand by my previous post, but I'm still hoping against hope that Souray will find his way here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back from the Dead?

New York Post reports the Devils and Rangers appear to have abandoned the Souray sweepstakes. The Devils have turned their attention towards resigning restricted free agents Paul Martin and Zach Parise. Martin was quoted saying he heard Souray was coming West....

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Reality Check

After my post yesterday, I took a long hard look at the Sharks salary cap situation and tried to put myself in Doug Wilson's shoes. Here is a list of the players who are either restricted or unrestricted free agents next season and my guess and what salary they will command. The Sharks currently have 25 million committed in salary for next season.

Steve Bernier - 1.5 million
Christian Ehrhoff - 3.0 million
Marcel Goc - 1.5 million
Joe Pavelski - 1.5 million
Patrick Marleau - 6.5 million
Milan Michalek - 3.5 million
Patrick Rismiller 1.5 million
Ryan Clowe - 2.0 million

This is 21-22 million in salary - assuming Wilson keeps all these core players. This also doesn't include Setoguchi and Wishart, who I think will be on the big club by 2008-09. I would assume Curtiss Brown will not be back. This makes for a 47 million dollar roster in 2008-09 - so Wilson not making a pitch for a big ticket free agent does make sense - he wants to keep his core intact. You figure the cap will be 53-54 million, so he would have 7 million of wiggle room - so adding a Souray type salary could work but it would push the Sharks to the cap limit and force Wilson to make some tough choices next year and part with some young talent.. I still think Redden might be the perfect fit for this season. Wilson loves the Sens blueprint and Redden can run the point on the power play. As I stated before, the Sens have a similar situation to the Sharks next year - they have major core players up for contract - Spezza, Heatley, Fisher, Vermette, Schubert, Mezaros, Emery and Redden. They will have around 30 million in cap room, but you have to figure Spezza and Heatley will fetch around 8-9 million on the market. There is no way they can resign all these players, and the one that makes sense to part with is Redden, With Corvo, Volchenkov and Phillips under contract, Redden is the odd man out. He is making 6.5 this season and if he likes it here, he could resign during the season. It would probably cost us a young forward (Bernier) and a pick - worth the risk.

So - the reality check is the Sharks may have 15 million to spend in 2007-08, but they have so many players up for new contracts that they can perhaps only afford a player like Redden - a rental that could help us win now and perhaps take the road of Big Joe and stay for less money if he likes it here.

Taking a moment to sit in Doug Wilson's shoes has made me feel better about him not overspending on the UFA market. I still think he will make a move to improve the roster for now while keeping an eye on resigning our core. What do you think??

Monday, July 09, 2007

Souray slipping away...

Over a week has past since the unrestricted free agent period came upon us and Doug Wilson has been either unable or unwilling to land a big fish. The player I assumed would be his main target all along, power play specialist Sheldon Souray, is the only big name left on the open market and I have come to accept that he is going to the Rangers. It appears Souray is waiting and waiting and waiting for the Rangers to clear the cap room necessary to sign him - this would involve them dealing a forward (Cullen or Straka come to mind) or renouncing their rights to Avery and not signing Shanahan - which I find hard to believe. I think the Rangers have messed with their roster too much and are playing a dangerous game with their goalie by forcing him into a potential arbitration situation that would allow Henrik to walk away next year as a free agent. Where are their priorities? Adding Souray may seem flashy but talk about too many cooks in the kitchen - how will Jagr, Souray, Drury, Shanahan, Avery and Gomez all co-exist?? I think not well.

So if Souray wanted to come to San Jose, he would have done it by now. Instead he is playing a dangerous game of poker with the Rangers, hoping they can get some cap room. From the outside, it appears Doug Wilson is waiting to see what happens with Souray before he makes his next move.

How long must we wait for the promised improvements Doug Wilson?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fare thee well

I just found out that Victor Chi, the Sharks beat writer for the Mercury News, the local San Jose paper, was laid off, along with 30 others in the newsroom. I've actually emailed Victor a couple of times regarding Sharks matters, and he did email me back, always polite. Since then I would note his byline. I guess this is one of the things that happens when there's a big series of tubes.

Victor, if you still want to blog on the Sharks, let me know. The pay is, um, limited. Either way, I hope you catch on with another publication that pays a little better than we do.

Point - Counterpoint

Grier wrote his "In Wilson We Trust" post, and I'm going to provide the counterpoint.

All Wilson's eggs are in one basket right now - Souray. If Souray is not signed, it's yet another year where the Sharks strike out in the free agent market. There might be some trades in the works, but then we'd have to give up something for Redden, Murray, or JovoCop. The whole point of free agency is you just pay the guy, and have to give up nothing in return. With the above three we lose players and pay them their millions in salary. Not the same thing. And keep in mind they're going to want quality players. I don't think Patrick Rissmiller will be enough to get those guys.

So Wilson's painted himself into a corner, with only one major free agent left, and several teams in the bidding. I might be a bit insulated out in here in sunny California, but I don't think San Jose is considered an elite hockey destination. We may have the biggest ice center west of the Mississippi, but we have the standing of toddlers in the hockey world. Chara took less money to sign with Boston, for God's sake. A franchise that is only slightly better managed than Chicago.

I hate to cast an approving eye to the south, but the Ducks did it right. They hedged Niedermayer retiring by signing Schneider. They're hedging Selanne's retirement by signing Bertuzzi. Those guys retire, they're not as good as last year, but they're not floundering in the bowels of the Western Conference- they are still a good playoff team.

The Sharks biggest liability last year is a greater liability now. Hannan is gone, with no one to take his place. And the last decent defenseman on the market played the last 7 years in the biggest hockey town in North America, probably the world. Color me unconvinced that Wilson can pull of a miracle here.

Another day without a move

As the signing of Brad Stuart with the Kings comes across the wire, it makes me wonder what is going on inside Sharks headquarters. Stuart settled for a one year deal at 3.5 million. How does Roman Hamerlik get 5.5 million over four years in Montreal?

The fact that the Sharks have been invisible makes me wonder what Doug Wilson has up his sleeve. Others are getting impatient and have the feeling that Wilson has abandoned his promise to deliver a Stanley Cup. He promised there would be changes, he promised that he would do everything to improve this team within reason. He got rid of Bell. He cleared the cap room. So...where is the big move? I think it is still coming and I have faith in Doug Wilson that it will have an impact and it will make sense for this franchise long term. According to reports, the Sharks have 15 million dollarrs of cap room, no money is not the problem. They will resign Marleau at 5/6 million per, so really they have 10 million. Ehrhoff and Michalek are UFA's next season and you gotta figure Wilson is working on extensions there - probably 2-3 million each. There is a big picture here that people are forgetting about - but still Wilson will make it happen.

I think he could be talking to Boston about Glen Murray. He has two years and 8.2 million left on his deal but could be a bargain compared to what other free agents have been getting on the market. Reuniting Joe and Murray could spell for magic on the top line.

Another possible deal Wilson is looking at is dealing for Ed Jovonovski. He is making 6.5 million for the next three years, but if Souray is searching for over 7.0 million and his defense is suspect, perhaps Wilson prefers JovoCop. He could also be taking a long, hard look at Nick Boynton, who was released by the Coyotes last week.

I still think Wade Redden is a possibility because the Senators have a major problem on the horizon next season. Spezza, Heatley, Mezaros, Emery and Redden all will be UFA's next year and they will not have the room to keep them all. If Drury and Gomez got seven million this year, Spezza and Heatley will fetch eight million plus on the open market next year, if not more. With some young D already in the fold, Redden could be the odd man out in the salary bonanza in Ottawa. Redden would look good in Teal. We shall see...

I am not giving up. I have moments of impatience, but in Wilson I Trust.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

One more thing...

Reports have Ottawa shopping Wade Redden, who is due to be a UFA at the end of next year. If this is true, it is possible Doug Wilson could be looking at this instead of giving mega-cash to Souray. Perhaps an offer of Ehrhoff and a pick would get it done?
If this came to pass, then Wilson could sign Brad Stuart or Andy Sutton to round out the core. Just thinking out loud...

Don't push the panic button....yet...

Sharks fans have watched almost 48 hours tick by without seeing Doug Wilson dip into the unrestricted free agent market to improve upon last years team that fell short of said goal - Winning Lord Stanley's Cup. I had high hopes for July 1st after how aggressive Wilson was at the NHL draft last week. He made cap room and solved two huge roster problems by getting rid of Toskala before there was a real problem in training camp and dealing Bell, who was just a waste of roster space at this point. He got two promising young players to add to the Sharks already excellent depth of young talent. He promised to be active. Doug? Where are you?

He took care of the most important matter by getting Joe Thornton before he hit the UFA market next offseason. Joe gave a hometown discount, a steal for 7.2 million a year, especially seeing Drury, Gomez and Briere get the same kind of cash without nearly the same resume as Big Joe. We had all read the rumors, Sharks were a lock to get Drury. Well, when the price kept going up and up and up, I can't blame Doug Wilson for jumping ship. Having Drury, Marleau and Thornton makes zero sense - we needed an impact winger, which is why it is disappointing the Sharks couldn't land Smyth. I guess a call from Joe Sakic made all the difference. According to reports, the Sharks were never really in the hunt, they made an offer but Ryan was deciding between Toronto, the Isles (who really got screwed yesterday by losing Poti, Smyth, Blake and all their dignity) and the Avs. So now, we sit and wait as all the other middle of the road UFA's go off the board. One big name remains. One name that Mike and I have been talking about since the season ended. Sheldon Souray.

Doug Wilson has to get this done. He has chased a big time blueliner for the past two offseasons, striking out with Neidermeyer and Chara. I think he has been targeting Souray all along and the fact that Hamerlik has signed in Montreal crosses them off the list. Preissing, Nagy, Handzus and Calder all signed in LA and Lombardi still needs cash to sign Cammerleri (a restricted FA) so you have to figure they are out of the Souray chase. That leaves us - the only team with over ten million in cap room to spend that hasn't struck yet. Come on Doug Wilson. Deliver the goods. I have faith in you.

I think it is also possible he is targeting a veteran forward like Slava Kozlov and Wes Walz. Don't totaly rule out Forsberg and...yes...Bill Guerin. I think Guerin owes the Sharks a hometown discount to come back for one more year at a discounted price for playing like garbage in the stretch. He was not the impact player as advertised and at 2 million for one year, I would take the chance he would have a chip and play hard.

So...we wait and see. I think Wilson won the game of poker and the announcement of Souray is only hours away.

One down

Tom Preissing reportedly signs with the Kings.

Free Agency feeding frenzy, but Sharks are dead in the water

Yesterday was the first day of free agency. Rumors were abound about the Sharks- they were in the hunt for Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, or Ryan Smyth. I personally think they need to worry about their blueline more. So what happened? Jack squat. They watched Drury sign with the Rangers, Briere sign with the Flyers, Smyth sign with the Avs, and Gomez sign with the Rangers too. Then instead of playing 'unrestricted defense' against the Ducks, we watch them sign Mattieu Schnieder, and then watch the Wings sign Rafalski. To further help our d-line, we watch Scott Hannan leave for greener pastures in Colorado. As of today, Rob Davison is in our top-6.

This may not get mentioned much with all the big-name free agent signings- but Philly pulled off a complete tea-bag of Edmonton, getting possibly the best defensive defenseman in the league in Jason Smith, and Joffrey Lupul, for Joni Pitkanen and (throwaway) Geoff Sanderson. Pitkanen is nothing to sneeze at- I'd love it if the Sharks got him instead, but I don't think he's a proven asset yet. He manages to disappear for stretches at a time. It does show me than TSN has the best hockey coverage- as of right now, that deal is the leading story. It's among the 15 right-column free-agent signing stories on ESPN.com

The only item on the plus side of the column is that we re-signed Joe for another 3 years, at a pretty considerable home-town discount. Considering Gomez signed for more money than Joe, it's hard to dispute that the Sharks got a great deal.

Four critical free agents are still available where the Sharks are concerned- Slava Kozlov, Sheldon Souray, Brad Stuart, and Tom Preissing. If the Sharks come up empty handed with this group, It's clear that the Sharks lost ground in the West.