I see a lot of calls to send off Big Joe and Patty. What about the rest of the team? If the criteria for keeping a player are they come up big in the playoffs then it sounds like the whole roster needs to be thrown away.
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I don't subscribe to that line of thinking. The Sharks at the start of the season had all the lines working well, scoring came from everywhere. This was the story up to the all-star break. Around the time of the all-star break there were a few things that happened:
1) Injury bug hit SJ pretty hard and some players were not back until the a few games before the playoffs. Some key guys like Blake and Grier were down for a bit and I am sure this put a dent in the sharks production. Roenick went down for a while too, this wouldn’t be a huge hit on the goals scored but I do believe he was able to inspire some of the other sharks. Goc and Plihal going down left the sharks very short on centers, the 3rd and 4th line defiantly suffered, any time Semenov has to be moved up as a forward is going to be a bad game.
2) Claude Lemieux was signed. What message did this send the team? “If we want to win we need to get a guy that hasn’t played in the NHL for a number of years so we can be winners too!”. I wouldn’t venture to say Lemieux was the #1 factor for the Sharks playing so poorly after the All Star break but I do wonder if his presence soured the chemistry. Doug Wilson usually made really good moves but bringing Lemieux up was one I will put in the category of “What in the heck was he thinking”. I would have rather seen Mike Ricci back on the ice.
So in closing I do not believe the Sharks need to blow up the roster. In games where Thorton has been huge, someone was always near the net. It was very rare to see the Sharks put bodies in front of Hiller, so would this be Big Joes fault for not having people in the right area to get a pass and burry a few? Patty was not the best in the playoffs but I would expect Pavelski and Michalek to do a little more than 1 point in 6 games, so Patty wouldn’t be a root problem in my book. Chemistry with the team was messed up by a few things and was not found again.
If I were DW I would have my untouchables be Thorton, Boyle, Marleau, Setoguchi, Clowe, Pavelski, Mitchell, and Lukowich. The only MUST GO I have is Lemieux. The rest of the players I feel are good players but could be replaced in trades. Some may benefit from a trade like Cheechoo. Setoguchi has taken Cheechoos spot on the first line and the 2nd line was pretty much locked. For Cheechoo to shine he needs more time on the ice and I don’t think he will get that in San Jose.
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