This is not a random ranting blog about the Sharks, but more of brainstorming solutions to save the Sharks now, and in the future.
Currently there is no motivation, passion, or desire. Fan frustration continues. Alot of that is due to the fact the Sharks are not living up their expectations. The excuses were supposed to stop, but continue, and the boring, uninspired play is affect fan morale.
The Sharks are just flat out bad, and as I have been saying all season the Sharks need some serious changes to save their chances of meeting their goals and expectations of a Stanley Cup, and to be a competitive hockey team for seasons to come.
In response to my last blog about whether this team is for real or is just a mirage, right now signs are pointing to the Sharks being just a mirage and headed for an early playoff exit. I hope the Sharks figure their issues out and I have a few ideas of what the Sharks could do to save their season now and for the future. If you like my ideas, let me know and comment and if you have some ideas post them on the comments board.
My solutions are all tied in together, and hopefully you will see what I mean.
First of all, Ron Wilson needs to get the axe.
His defensive philosophy is killing a team that has offensively skilled players. The Sharks players need to play a system based around creativity, offense, flow, effort, and work. Also why is this team playing with no passion or desire or motivation. It cannot be entirely the players. Hockey players are not the type who cut their play level when they recieve a fat paycheck like in other professional sport leagues. Hockey players are genuine athletes who play hard every game, it is what makes them special. It makes me believe that Wilson is rubbing his players the wrong way. That is what happens when you play for a coach you hate to play for, I can attest to this. Maybe a new coach would motivate the Sharks.
Every player on the Sharks has great offensive potential in them. I just feel that this defensive minded system is holding all the Sharks back. The line juggling is frustrating and annoying. There is no creativity, flow, or movement in this style of play. Creativity, flow, and movement are all what makes hockey fun. I feel like the Sharks are not having fun anymore one the ice because of Wilson and his defense style. Their play bores the fans, I would not be surprised if it bores the players. Sure they have been getting shots on goal, but very few are good shots, most are random attempts at the net. The goalie is going to stop those shots 95% percent of the time.
New coach= new style= new motivation= increased desire= better hockey team= Stanley Cup?
Maybe, Maybe not, but the chances are better than with Ron running the show.
The concern I have with letting Ron go at this point is that it is so late in the season. Perhaps Doug Wilson could take over as coach for the rest of the season. Then during the offseason a search for a new head coach could take place.
Perhaps Bob Hartley would love moving to the Bay Area. There are plenty of men who could replace Ron Wilson anyways. Sidenote: I would love to see Mike Ricci leading this team as a coach at some point in his career and in the future.
Another issue I have with Ron Wilson is his lack of taking responsibility for this team's wins and losses. Especially when the Sharks lose a game, Ron Wilson always says something along the lines that a few players did not get the job done tonight and it cost the team the game.
I understand the players are the ones actually playing the game, but last time I check Ron you were on the bench behind those players. If a player is not doing his part or doing it wrong, let him know and help him fix it for the next period. It is not like you tell the players what to do and you sit in the locker room until intermission. He had the same problem in Washington and he was fired because of it.
Ron Wilson has been a good coach so far in his career, but his time in San Jose needs to be over. Yes he has 500 wins, which is awesome. You do not get lucky and win 500 games. How you achieve that is to be consistently good over many seasons.
Yes, Ron Wilson coached Team USA in Nagano, but the team was a disaster in the Olympics. The team put up their worst performance ever in the Olympics.
And sure Ron Wilson went to the Finals with Washington, but the team was swept 4 games to none. The Capitals did not even put up a fight against Detroit.
It is time for Wilson to go.
Doug Wilson needs to make a trade.
It is time for Dougie to pull off another good deal for the Sharks before the upcoming deadline. The defense is in shambles right now and there is a need for a solid offensive defenseman. Many rumors are swirling that the Sharks should pursue Brian Campbell from the Sabres.
Being in Buffalo I have the opportunity to watch more Sabres games than any Sharks fans on the West Coast, and I 100% agree and believe Brian Campbell would make a great fit in San Jose. He is a great power play defenseman, he is strong with the puck, skates fast, has a little spinorama move, and has good eyes on the ice. He anticipates plays before they happen and is very rarely out of position.
Campbell will be looking to get a nice deal once his contract expires this season. The Sabres are looking to resign him after making front office blunders last season. The Sharks can either make a trade for him now and negotiate a deal with Campbell before the offseason or they can take the chance of him not extending his contract with the Sabres and making him an offer in the offseason.
Also if Ron Wilson was to be fired and a more offensively minded coach was hired to lead the Sharks, Brian Campbell would fit right into a system that loves to score goals. That is the system Lindy Ruff currently works with and Campbell is 4th on the team right now in points with 41.
Sharks scouts were in New York on Saturday to watch Campbell. The Sabres lost, but you cannot judge a guy by one game. Especially if you have not been watching the guy as much as I get to.
Who Doug Wilson gives up to get Campbell is tough to decide. There are a few players on the Sharks who should be thought of as trade bait for Campbell. I know many fans feel Marleau should head that list, but I would keep him especially if RW gets fired. Marleau is also a player who would thrive under a flow system. I cannot decide who the Sharks should give up, you can debate that for yourself, but persuing Campbell should be in the Sharks interest's right now.
Insuring long-term success.
Doug Wilson's excuse for not shaking this team up is to insure long-term viability and success. What he means is that he does not want to trade a few players away to make a run now and fall short. He does not want to give up talent for a better opportunity to win the Stanley Cup now instead of later.
Doug, this team is not what you thought it was. It is not as good as everyone projected. If you want to insure long-term success than deals and moves should be done, not patience. Otherwise the same play that has been going on all season will continue and fans will continue to grow further frustrated.
To insure long-term success I believe DW should fire Ron, make a trade for Campbell and give him a long-term deal, and to make sure key core players stick around. The Sharks should keep Nabokov, Thornton, Marleau, Cheechoo, Grier, Mitchell, Michalek, Rivet, Carle, Vlasic, Murray, Clowe, Shelley, Mclaren, and Bernier. That is most of the roster and everyone not mentioned should be considered to be part of any trade packages if the Sharks were to make them now, in the future, or let go to free agency.
The players I mentioned are great hockey players, and if Brian Campbell was to be added, and Ron Wilson was fired, the combinations would make the Sharks into the team that everyone expected them to be this season, instead of what they are now.
The Sharks right now are a team that has 2 of the best players in the league. Thornton and Nabokov. The Sharks are also a team with great young potential. Mitchell, Vlasic, Carle.
The Sharks are also a team with a few holes to fill and problems on the blueline. Brian Campbell would help there.
The Sharks are also a team that needs the X factor to make them special. And I believe that X factor is a new head coach who will take responsibility of this team and lead them to victory, and also will take responsibilty when a loss occurs.
A new coach, Brian Campbell, and Doug Wilson making a few roster changes will insure this team now and in the future. Whether now or in the offseason, I believe that these solutions could save the Sharks.
Because what we have now is not going to do anything. If Doug Wilson just sits and stresses patience again, more fans will grow tired of the excuses and the lack of doing anything. The fans will be sick of a mediocre team that plays defensive, boring hockey.
Hockey is a sport, a business, but also entertainment.
The New Jersey Devils have been a good hockey team for a long time, but they are terribly boring. The games do not sell out because fans do not want to watch a 1-2-2 style game. The Devils have a beautiful new arena that is half-full most nights.
If the Sharks stay the way they are, I feel that the Sharks ownership will have the same issue in New Jersey. A good team that is so boring to watch that the games do not sell out, the team profits are not maximized, and that would be a slap into the face of hockey and to San Jose fans by playing such a boring style, with a boring coach, on a team that has the potential in the players to be an amazing team.
Whether you agree with my solutions or not, everyone just wants this team to be better than what they are and have been this season. The patience excuse is way too old, especially now in this sprint to the playoffs.
The standings are getting tighter with each team battling for points. I hope the Sharks are aware they are playing teams right now desperate for points to make the playoffs. Every game is a playoff game this time of the year. I hope the Sharks have gotten that memo.
Call into Sharksbuzz tonight at 10pm pacific if you need some venting to do and just to chat it up with some die-hard fans like myself. Maybe you have your own solutions to fixing the team. Let everyone know, maybe we can pool all of our ideas together, pick the best ones, and send the to Doug Wilson and Greg Jamison.
It is not just their team, it is also our team we love. We all want the best for this team so everyone's own solution probably has some good points to it.
Have a good night, and Go Sharks!