Kukla's Korner Hockey
Anyone care to read between the lines?
from Curtis Pashelka of Working The Corners,
With a little over three weeks to go before the start of the regular season, the Sharks anticipate a season ticket renewal rate of about 85 percent, said John Tortora, chief operating officer of Sharks Sports & Entertainment, on Monday. Last year after the Sharks’ epic first round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Kings, roughly 89 percent signed on for another season.
Tortora said the team added about 500 new season ticket holders for this year, and should wind up with a season ticket base of between 11,000 to 12,000 subscribers, which includes partial plans. Tortora said the team got a small bump in sales in late May when the team hired Peter DeBoer as the new head coach, and in early July when the team brought in Martin Jones, Joel Ward and Paul Martin as new additions to the roster.
“The fans remain extremely passionate and loyal to the team, which is outstanding,” Tortora said. “We want to reward them this year with a very good product on the ice.”
Dan Rosen of NHL.com answers questions from the fans....
What is your opinion of the San Jose Sharks?
Good, probably better than last season, but not good enough to get into the playoffs this season. I say that because I think the Central Division is loaded and five teams will get in, because the Anaheim Ducks will run away with the Pacific Division, because I don't think the Flames will regress to the point where they miss the playoffs, and because I think the Los Angeles Kings will come back to life after a long and definitely needed offseason to get back in the playoffs. That leaves the Sharks out. All that said, I like their offseason additions of forward Joel Ward and defenseman Paul Martin, but I'm still trying to determine what direction they're going. They seem like a team that wants to get younger but can't figure out how to do it because they're hamstrung by some contracts, so instead they're signing veterans with the hope that they might have one more run in them.
Why should us Blues fans believe this team can win in the playoffs? Is there a reason we should have hope?
I'm not sure you should believe they can win in the playoffs because what proof do you have that they can? It's tough to have belief at this point because three seasons in a row have ended in disappointment and likely earlier than they should have. However, the Blues are a good team with a deep defense, a superstar goal scorer in Vladimir Tarasenko, a quality young goalie in Jake Allen and one of the best hockey minds in the coaching business in Ken Hitchcock. It's easy to see this team succeeding in the regular season again, but the playoffs are all that matters. The hope should come from Tarasenko. He's legit; he could score 50 goals. He could be the difference-maker in St. Louis. He's the reason to believe.
more Q & A...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Joe Thornton is going to be an interesting test case for the Hockey Hall of Fame even though he clearly should be a no-brainer. But no question there are those who will hold his lack of a Stanley Cup against him. Of course, he still has time to win one before his career is out. But even if he doesn’t, it would be ridiculous to make that argument against him. His career screams Hall of Famer.
The Case For
Thornton, a consistent top-end point producer his entire career, currently sits 36th all-time in regular-season points with 1,259 (358 goals-901 assists), ahead of Hall of Famers Michel Goulet, Bernie Federko, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mike Bossy and Glenn Anderson, among others.
And he’s still got a few more seasons left in his career. For example, say the 36-year-old center plays three more seasons and I’m very conservative here in projecting 60 points a year. That puts him on pace for 1,439 career points, which would rank him 16th all-time, sandwiched between Teemu Selanne and Bryan Trottier.
As it stands, his 901 career assists are 19th all-time already, one assist away from passing Bryan Trottier.
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
Granted, you could name the starting goalie the most important player on every NHL team and probably be right, but in San Jose, it’s an especially interesting scenario because Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is betting so heavily on a 25-year-old goalie with just 29 career starts.
Wilson was working the goalie trade market even before the trade deadline, so he had a really good feel for who was available and just what the asking price would be. That he picked Jones in a deal that cost the Sharks a 2016 first-round pick and prospect Sean Kuraly shows just how much he thinks of the young goaltender. The three-year, $9 million contract Jones signed further highlighted that faith.
The question now becomes: Is Jones the real deal?
The Kings believed in Jones internally. They saw him as a future NHL starter. Dealing him to the Boston Bruins (who spun him to the Sharks) had more to do with his coming pay raise and the fact that starter Jonathan Quick will be entrenched in the Kings net for years to come.
from Eric Gilmore at NHL.com,
Todd McLellan, the winningest coach in San Jose history, parted ways with the Sharks after seven seasons in what he and general manager Doug Wilson called a mutual decision. Wilson hired former Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer to replace McLellan, who became coach of the Edmonton Oilers.
DeBoer led New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, his first season with the Devils, one year after they finished 11th in the Eastern Conference and missed the postseason. He fully expects the Sharks to bounce back quickly.
"I think if you enter the San Jose Sharks organization like I am as the head coach, the expectation is to win right now," DeBoer said. "There's a tradition here of winning and challenging to go deep into the playoffs. That's my expectation. I think that's Doug's expectation. I don't think anyone is looking for anything less than that here."
The Sharks also have a new No. 1 goaltender, former Kings backup Martin Jones. Antti Niemi's five-season run as San Jose's top goaltender ended when the Sharks traded his negotiating rights to the Dallas Stars for a seventh-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. Soon after the draft, San Jose acquired Jones from the Boston Bruins for a first-round pick in 2016 and forward Sean Kuraly, a fifth-round pick in 2011 who was unsigned.
Jones, who was traded by the Kings to the Bruins during the draft, appeared in 34 games for Los Angeles over the past two seasons. He is 16-11-2 with a 1.99 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in his NHL career.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
It is interesting sometimes how some players, if they don’t catch the initial wave from their own era, get lost in the shuffle when it comes to their Hockey Hall of Fame induction chances. One such player is Doug Wilson, 15th all-time in scoring among defensemen but still overlooked year after year at induction time. Between 1977-78 and 1992-93, the Ottawa native put up 827 points (237-590) in 1,024 career regular-season games with mostly the Chicago Blackhawks before ending his career with the San Jose Sharks, where he eventually became the club’s longtime general manager as well. Wilson had a cannon of a shot, was a great two-way defender, won a Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman and played in eight NHL All-Star games. But somehow his call from the Hockey Hall of Fame never came ... not yet anyway.
The Case For
Wilson’s 827 points rank him ahead of the likes of Red Kelly, Borje Salming, Rob Blake, Mark Howe and Scott Niedermayer, all deserved Hockey Hall of Fame inductees.
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
In yet another move that strongly suggests that the Sharks are back in win-now mode, veteran right wing Joel Ward was signed on Friday to a three-year contract with San Jose.
On the day before July 4, Ward is taking off his red, white and blue to put on teal, leaving the Capitals as an unrestricted free agent. It became evident that Ward would be looking for a new home after Washington added T.J. Oshie via trade with St. Louis, and signed Justin Williams away from Los Angeles earlier this week.
Ward sounded excited to be coming to a club that he still believes can compete for a Stanley Cup.
“The names on the roster speak for themselves. It made the decision pretty easy,” Ward said on a conference call Friday. “I want to win, and give [myself] a chance to hoist the Cup. I thought that was a place that with the roster, I could come in here and fit and try to achieve that goal.”
added 5:33pm, San Jose release is below....
from Paul Martin at The Players' Tribune,
There are many more people I’d like to thank, but most importantly, I’d like to thank the fans. You were all so supportive and passionate. When I arrived here, I was a defensive specialist — definitely not a household name. I used to have a joke when I was driving around town with friends and spotted someone in a Penguins jersey. “Hey, there’s a no. 7!” You see so many 7s in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, most have an 8 before or a 1 after. Sid and Geno run the town. Whenever I would see an actual Paul Martin jersey, I’d usually pop my head out the window and say hello.
I’ll never forget the kids who would come up to me and say, “You’re my favorite player. I want to play just like you.” That never stops being an incredible feeling.
So thank you, Pittsburgh. And hello, San Jose. I can’t catch a break. I’ve got some stiff competition in the team store with Thornton, Marleau, Couture, Burns … I might have to buy a bunch of teal no. 7 jerseys and circulate them around the city. Keep your eye out.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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