We are at mid-season and the team thus far has performed well. The expectations for this team were through the roof at the start of the season, picked by most sports publications to win the cup. If you compare the performance up to this point with the early predictions for the team, you will see they are a little below where they planned to be. However the team continues to find itself amongst the top teams in the league and trading places regularly with Dallas for first in the Pacific Division. Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has started every game so far for the Sharks and has been the most consistent piece of this Sharks team. Joe Thornton has continued his dominant play this season, but has been all alone on most nights and finds himself the leading scorer on the team with the next closest being 23 points behind him. Well let's jump into it. I have gone over the roster and have put together an evaluation that will rate each player on his performance so far. As I said in my previous blog, I am not a big stats guy, but stats do show some of what a player has or has not accomplished. I have listed each player's best stat, and worst stat, in my opinion. Following those two things I have given a brief evaluation and breakdown of how the player has performed up until now. Enjoy!
Best Stat-83 hits
Worst Stat-13:08 AVG. Ice time
Performance: Bernier has been the most physical presence as of late. His work with the puck along the boards, and down low has been very good, and he has scored the dirty kind of goals the Sharks need to score more of. He is currently 2nd on the team in goals scored with 10, and is looking much improved since earlier in the season.
Best Stat-64.9% on face offs
Worst Stat-2 points
Performance: What Curtis does on the PK has been the main reason he holds a roster spot. His PK abilities are top notch, and he is one of the hardest workers on the team. His 2 points are not surprising being he is a 4th liner, but with the lack of scoring through out the roster, the lower line guys need to try to do a little more to help out. With the impressive play of Torrey Mitchell on the PK Curtis is unfortunately becoming expendable.
Best Stat-72 shots
Worst Stat-5 goals
Performance: The Cheechoo train has been chugging along very slowly. Now although the goals are not there, his work ethic still has not digressed. He has bounced around from line to line and still has had trouble finding the net. Some believe he has still not fully recovered from double hernia surgery this summer. He needs to make himself a staple once again on the PP, his 1 PP goal this season is unacceptable. He has to get it going one way or another or he may find himself truly on the trading block. His paycheck goes up every season on his contract, but his production has gone down.
Best Stat-6 points
Performance: Ryan was off to a good start. He was that guy in front of the net on the PP and then the injury. He has been limited to only 11 games, and will not be back probably until playoff time. The DUI was just what every other DUI is, unacceptable. Hopefully taking care of this infraction will not interfere with his recovery to much or he may not be back for quite some time. Dude call a cab next time!
Best Stat-4 PIM
Worst Stat-minus 7
Performance: His 4 PIM show his discipline, he is not in any way a tough guy so 4 is a good thing. His -7 though shows maybe a little more loose play will keep him from missing assignments. Concentrating more on playing solid on both ends and less on his stick handling along the boards will see him getting more ice time. I really do not believe Goc will be anything more than he has been so far.
Best Stat-34 blocked shots
Worst Stat-5 goals
Performance: His blocked shots are very important blocked shots, pretty much all coming on the PK. It was hard to find a bad stat for Griersy, he is just so solid all around, all the time. The 5 goals could be more only because he has taken 75 shots. I would also love to see him bury more of his shorthanded opportunities but now I'm just getting picky!
Best Stat-56.3 face off %
Worst Stat-minus 11
Performance: Patty Patty Patty. I am not going to get too into this. All I am going to say is he has got to get better by the end of January or he has got to spend some time in the press box. He is our captain and needs to start leading by example. He has been great on faceoffs, taking the second highest number on the team, but I would trade half that percentage for twice as many points as he has now. I am starting to wonder if a change of scenery is what is best for both Patty and the team.
Best Stat-13 goals
Worst Stat-3 PP points
Performance: He got off to a slow start, and is beginning to turn it on. Milan was a guy I said was going to have a huge breakout season, and he can still do that as long as he keeps working as hard as he has been. I would love to see more out of him on the PP, but lets face it, the Sharks PP is just not getting it done as a whole. Michalek has played equally as well on any line he has been assigned to. I predict a big 08’ for Milan.
Best Stat-15 points
Worst Stat-Sorry I can’t find anything
Performance: You would almost find it hard to believe this kid is a rookie. He has been great on the PK. His speed has made for some great shorthanded opportunities, something we have not seen on the Sharks in quite some time. He has blinding speed and has begun to learn how to harness it in the first half. He is really getting better every game. Great first half for Mitchell, you really could not have expected more. The next half is going to be fun as he will continue to impress.
Best Stat-4 PP goals
Worst Stat-8 goals
Performance: He is not finding the net enough 5 on 5. After a stellar pre-season, little Joe has vanished a bit. He has not been consistent since game one, and has not been able to find much chemistry with any line. This may have to do with the fact that the lines are constantly switched. He has been good in stints but not good enough to warrant a nice big contract next season when he is an RFA.
Best stat-58 Hits
Worst Stat-2 goals
Performance: Riss has not been that bad. He is the guy the fans love to hate, but he actually does a pretty decent job for what his role is. He is physical, he does a good job on the PK, and he does not take many penalties. Rissmiller however is a guy who needs to do more offensively to stick around for next season. He needs to be a contributor when it comes to secondary scoring. He is UFA next year and if he does not stand out more he may be on his way out.
Best Stat-5 game winning goals
Worst Stat-minus 5
Performance: Jeremy has had as good as a first half as could be expected. He has scored goals in key situations and has provided some much needed veteran leadership in the locker room. He has had some trouble getting back and that is more because of his nagging knee than him just not being able to keep up anymore. Being there to see #500 in person was more than enough out of him for me.
Best Stat-plus 8
Worst Stat-10 points
Performance: Devin got lazy in the offensive zone and found himself on a plane back to Worcester. All of his points or at least the majority of them came in his first 10 games. Since then he had 1 goal in 15 games. I believe he will spend a significant amount of time in the AHL, and we will not see him until after the All-Star break. When he redevelops his work ethic in the offensive zone he will be back.
Best Stat-46 points
Worst Stat-Maybe if there was a stat for passed up shots
Performance: Joe continues to be the log in San Jose's fire. He keeps burning up the ice and hopefully the team will begin to follow suit. His numbers could easily be much higher with a little more help from the rest of the line-up. Joe is the one consistency in the Sharks line-up, 23 points ahead of the next closest point getter on the team. Solid first half for San Jose's on ice leader.
Well that is the forwards. I will post the defensemen tomorrow. I kept it short and simple as we will break down each guys first half performance in the upcoming episodes of SharksBuzz. Hope everyone enjoyed and thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day!