We can all feel the chill. The winds are blowing through San Jose, trade winds, fire the coach winds, benching winds, demoting winds, and the winds of resolve. Something must be done. Sharks fans are nearing the edge of their patience. Who is to blame for the lackluster start? Why did this team look so good on paper and in the preseason? Who must be held accountable for the lack of fire or will to compete amongst this team?
These are all questions that all fans would love to know the answers to. Problem is it is not up to the fans to figure them out, as much as some fans would like to think that it is their job. This coaching staff needs to figure out what is going or not going on, because in my opinion their jobs are more on the line than they have ever been before. Ron Wilson has to figure out a way to get these players to perform to their potential night in and night out. We have all seen what this team can do when they are motivated. I believe it is the coaches job to light that fire and Ron Wilsons fire is nothing more than mere embers right now. When Wilson can not fire his guys up it is the team captain who should take over that duty. Patrick Marleau must show why he wanted to stay in SJ and show some life. I hate calling out players but Patty has not shown much, since......, well it has been to long to remember the last time he did something significant. As the captain he must show it on the ice. He has to show he can get fired up and put the team on his back. If he can not do it than SJ should pick themselves another captain.
Everyone knows the team has, in an unspoken way, kind of become Thornton's team. Joe has enough pressure on him as it is and in my opinion putting the C on him right now may not be a good idea. On the ice you can see how Joe leads, and you can see the team take notice when he begins to get frustrated. The team wants to play well for him when he turns into the raging Joe. When he really starts nailing people, you know Thornton is fired up and trying to get his team going, he does all the things a captain should do. So why not give him the captaincy? Like I said before, he has enough pressure on him already. You may say it is just a letter on his chest, but it is much more than that. You may say, "but he already does all the captain like things, how can putting the C on him hurt"? Well it goes something like this. When you put on that C, you are looked at in a different way instantly. A player may be the face of a franchise, but putting on the C takes it to another level. That player instantly puts himself him a position to be the scapegoat for many circumstances. If the team does not play well on a given night, it is the captains fault for not rallying his troops. The coach can only coach, a captain must lead by example. Now don't get me wrong Patty has done that in the past, but since Joe arrived Patty has sort of given up his on ice leadership.
I am not by any means saying Marleau should be shipped out of town. In fact I think that would be just stupid. Marleau can be the best second line center in the game when he plays with some grit. Although not known for playing a gritty style, he can do it, and when he does it, he does it well. I believe the C should be taken from him just to release some of the pressure. I really believe by stripping him of his captaincy duties, it will improve his game. Marleau would be able to just go out and play hockey again, not have to be the guy looked at to take charge. It has to be hard for a player to be the leader of a team and see another player get his teammates more fired up more than he can. It must be hard when the media grills him for being heartless and a bad leader while another player is praised for being able to do the job better, when it is not his job, and yes the media has been guilty of this. Marleau is still young and about to hit his best years, trading him away would be dumb when the simple fix could be simply giving the C to someone else.
So who is the man for the job? Some people may grill me for this, but I will say it any way. I think Jeremy Roenick should take the job. Now let me explain. JR is most likely in his last year in the NHL. The man is not afraid to speak up, we all know that. Most of all he still plays with a lot of passion. He can offer a lot to the young kids and the guys we consider to be old, who are still only in their late 20’s. He has always been known as a locker room guy, although some players did not care for him. Being that he will most likely be gone next year, that gives the team a year to look at who will be able to step into that role. Experience matters. If you look at the last five Stanley Cup champions, they were all led by experienced veterans. (06/07 Ducks, Scott Niedermayer;05/06 Hurricanes, Rod Brind'Amour;03/04 Lightning, Dave Andreychuck;02/03 Devils, Scott Stevens;01/02 Red Wings, Steve Yzerman) In my opinion that says a lot. A team needs a good leader on the ice, and a good coach behind the bench. Ron Wilson has guided the team pretty well and has consistently put the team in the playoffs. It is now time for the Sharks captain to be the leader they need him to be, and help take them the rest of the way.
Who do you think should lead this team and why? I have given my suggestion, I would love to know what all the fans think should happen. Think about it.
Thanks for reading and have a good day! GO SHARKS !