Seeing as how there's a Sharks post every thousand days or so, I'll throw some quick thoughts out.
The NHL has finally returned to action. So, what did we learn from Sochi?
Well, we learned that Niemi is above-average at keeping the pine warm for Tukka Rask and that he should not be fatigued whatsoever when the Sharks take the ice again.
We also learned that Joe Pavelski does not belong on the third line. Wait, we already knew that.
The biggest lesson of all, perhaps, is that while being the least respected of the GM's in the league, Garth Snow is batpoop crazy, keeping to the tradition of having a touch of Millbury around at all times.
San Jose is in Philadelphia tonight to take on the Flyers, who were unhappy to take a break mid-season while they were heating up. San Jose's players should be well rested and ready to go with Niemi not playing and Marleau barely used throughout the games.
The Sharks don't have to do anything special in this one, just keep playing their system and take away Claude Giroux. Game, set, match. The offense will do it's thing and Niemi will make saves. If they eliminate Claude Giroux from the picture then the Flyers will struggle greatly and the Fins will leave with a 'W' attached to their name.
A win would pull the Sharks within 5 points of the Ducks for first in the West, and Pacific, so there is still a realistic shot at claiming both, despite having to leapfrog Chicago and St Louis along the way.
Does being this close to a division title mean the Sharks should be overactive on deadline day? No, it doesn't.
Don't expect the Sharks to do much this week by way of dealing players. If you look at the Penguins you'll see a management group that looks like a bunch of starving homeless people clamoring for anyone's garbage on the side of the road that may, or may not, satisfy their hunger. That's not what the Sharks are, nor should it be.
This team has chemistry and has played great all season long, so why tinker with it?
Teams make deals at the deadline year after year with very few of them actually making a difference. The only player I could see dealt at the deadline for San Jose is Dan Boyle. Why? Because he wasn't resigned when Marleau and Thornton were. That could mean a deal will happen, or it could just mean they will sign him later. Either way, the Sharks are 7 points back of the President's Trophy with a game in hand. No need to go drastic over the next 7 days.
Thanks for reading.