The Silver Bullet

An opinion in popular sports

Midseason “Bullet”in

After a hiatus from sports coverage and The Silver Bullet, I have returned and it’s time for the mid-season (though, much more) review of our boys in Teal. Every year, at the All-Star Break I offer commentary on the Sharks Players and their performance to this point. This year with only 33 games remaining, it may be an opinion on our team before the playoff push, not necessarily mid-season reviews.

 

 

Let’s begin at the Top:

 

 Joe Thornton, C: How can you not love what Joe has done as a Shark… and it’s seemingly selfless. His attitude with the guys is great, he leads by example and he’s dishing out helpers like there’s no tomorrow. Even in the All Star Game, he was setting it up and not taking the glory in stride. The Amazing part of his season is he was somewhat injury riddled through the first part of the season. The Broken toe slowed his step only a little and now he is back climbing the NHL Points Scoring List. Most Impressive Stat: 48 assists in 49 games– the league leader.

MarleauPatrick Marleau, C: My favorite shark from the old days has just become the franchise leader in a number of different categories. The best part about this guy is his smooth, shy leadership and his fluidity with the puck and the awareness which he has brought on board with JT. Patrick Marleau is likely the most underrated center in the league, but his appearance at the All-Star game should shine a little more light on a talent that is constantly over-shadowed by Big Joe. Then again, maybe he likes it that way. Most Impressive Stat: a +12 rating is the highest on the team.

Vesa Toskala, G: Unfortunately, I think Vesa’s numbers would be Vezina worthy if he wasn’t splitting time with Nabby. He’s ranked in the top five in the league with his Goals Against Average, for most of the year. A couple of slippery games for the Sharks hasn’t helped him much, but he is the backbone of a goaltending tandem for the team that boasts the fewest goals against in the league. Most Impressive Stat: Six straight wins coming into the Break and a 20-6 record all year.Tosky

Ryan Clowe, RW: What a difference some IR makes! The freaky part about Ryan’s bolt to the top is he never appeared to have the step ever in his carreer. Now, Big Joe is dishing them out and Clowe is hitting them home. Even though  we saw him in previous seasons, the Big fella is really taking his time up to heart and has posted an unheard-of nine goals, twelve points in his last eight games. He’s coming around, but may be a little fluky and Cheecho-ish. Most Impressive Stat: his shooting percentage is a team high; 34% in 24 games.

Doug Murray. D: This big guy doesn’t get many shots at it and has appeared in only 22 games this season. Coming into the season, I would have thought he would have taken over for Scotty Parker in the bruiser ranks. As we saw last season, this is a big guy who can get in the way when it’s important. Unfortunately, he seems somewhat ineffective with only 9 shots on goal in 22 games and only one fight to his record. Most disappointing stat: Even if he isn’t a scorer, his impact should come with his muscle and he has only 17 penalty minutes in 22 starts.

Kyle McLaren, D: The old mainstay at the blue line has had a quiet but effective year so far. His open ice and collapsing enforcement is a known power in the pacific division. KyleHe is one of the best hitters, that doesn’t take a lot of stupid penalties, I’ve seen on team teal. His 12 points ranks low on the blue line for the Sharks, but I doubt there is any question about his purpose at the point. Too bad he’s missed a couple of starts due to his knee surgery.

Rob Davison, D: A guy whose only seen 15 starts at the NHL level this year is having trouble finding his niche here in San Jose. I’ve never had a problem with the rough and tumble style of RD, but he hasn’t shown anything to write home about and he’s a liability on the ice rather than an impact.

Josh Gorges, D: Josh is coming into his own in the Teal Defensive Core. He tallied his fifth assist of the season just last night. His is a quiet presence on the blue line and has made nearly forty games for the squad. Looks like he’ll be a regular in the postseason.

BellMark Bell, LW: Well, the hype and excitement about bringing Bell over from Chicago has fizzled. He’s fallen off the top line and only contributes in a physical manner. His DUI and Hit and Run fiasco just prior to this season seems to have overwhelmed him. Maybe he’s too caught up in it to be effective, or maybe Chicago got rid of something that was of little use anymore. Either way, he’s dealing with a groin pull and a court case. I say the bench for him.

Joe Pavelski, C: Here, there was no hype or controversy, just pure excitement—while only for the first few games. Pavelski joined the ranks in late November and earned himself a roster spot, posting four scores in his first five games. He may have benefited from some immediate power play time with Big Joe. Too bad: He hasn’t scored in eight games and has only two scores in his last 17 games played. He will be good, but is a little spotty as of now.

Milan Michalek, RW: This looked like a breakout year for Milan, as his scoring was consistent for the early part of the season. His speed and skill with the puck makes him dangerous every time he’s on the ice. Only, he scored 6 goals in the first eight games of the season and has posted just 5 more in the latter 37 he’s played. Fun Fact: He is however ranked third on the team in points behind Thornton and Marleau.

Christian Erhoff, D: Quite possible our most stable blue-liner. He leads the defense in goals scored with nine, and has posted a positive plus/minus for most of the season. His 111 shots from the point ranks fourth among all Sharks and he hasn’t missed a start.

Marcel Goc, C: Interestingly, Marcel is one of those players that you forget about during the season. He’s played nearly every game, and has posted positive numbers for a third or fourth line forward. I think the lack of position consistency may be a problem for Goc. My thought is he’ll be traded to someone on the east coast either this year or next, and will flourish under a system with more opportunities.

Ville Niemenen, RW: He’s still playing for us? Our second enforcer hasn’t seen much ice time this year showing up to only 24 games.  His –6 rating can’t look good to Coach Wilson and I wouldn’t expect him to get many more shots at it as the Sharks prepare to gel for the postseason.

Mark Smith, C: Smitty doesn’t seem to be hurt, but doesn’t seem to be healthy. He’s missed 11 games this season, but hasn’t changed his style of play. The Bay Area musician is still working on his career as a singer/songwriter, and is still work at perfecting his style of play on the pond. He’s the most energetic player on the ice most nights and gives all he’s got on every shift. He doesn’t have a lot to show for it with only 13 points in 38 games.

Matt Carle, D: The Hobey Baker award winner is a presence every night, though, we’ve seen flashes of his inexperience. He is leading the blue-liners in total points, but is benefiting from being on the point during the power play. Carle will develop in coming years and should be a defensive star soon.

Evgeni Nabakov, G: Well, Nabby. You’re my boy, and I’ve always thought you should have the starting job. Only problem is, you deserve on some other teams, and don’t deserve it here. Beginning the season with two shutouts in three starts, it looked as if you’d returned to the Nabby of old, and shipping out Tosky would have been no big deal. In more recent weeks you’ve allowed three goals against in the first half of the first period two games in a row. The boys don’t seem to play (or win) in front of you. It’s time for a change of scenery.

Scott Hannan, D: It seems Scotty is almost always plagued with bad plus/minus (or maybe that’s the past two years. This year it’s only –5 (right now…) Hannan is generally considered the most consistent defenseman on the team, though, not the highest scorer. His quiet but enforcing game works well with other blue-liners and his votes received on the All-Star ballot ranked sixth in the conference for defensemen.

Mike Grier, RW:  A great addition for the penalty kill, and a big muscle for a checking line. He’s benefited from Curtis Brown on the PK and has tallied two shortys this season. His physical presence and ability to pick a whole on a goaltender during a breakaway make him another threat on a loaded sharks special teams.

Steve Bernier, RW: Bernier!! Well, Steve had a strong showing last year, and there was no reason to believe there wouldn’t be more of the same in 06-07. The only problem: It hasn’t been the same. Bernier’s less than satisfactory turnout this season has earned him a trip to Worcester. I’m not expecting a return up since his broken toe will sideline him for over a month and the Sharks should have everything set for April by then.

Scott Parker, RW: Five games, Seven PIM, and zero points. Hmmm….

Patrick Rissmiller, LW: Another third or fourth line winger that has been consistent, but doesn’t have much to show for it. His deflection goal on Friday was one of his best I’ve seen, close to his exciting score in Game 3 of the conference semi’s last season.

Curtis Brown, C: I liked Chuck (my nick name for him i.e. C-Brown, Charlie Brown) the first time he was a Sharks and I still like him. His specialty in face-offs and penalty killing has made him a great addition to a team that needed help in both those areas. The defensive forward has not tallied a point in his last eight games, though.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D: Pickles has been a great addition to the team as well. He leads all rookies in average ice time and has earned his permanent roster spot up here in the bigs. His +10 rating leads Sharks blue-liners and He has missed only one game since the beginning of the campaign.

  IF YOU HAD TIME TO READ ALL THAT… REMEMBER… Get back to work!! 

 The Sharks have 33 games left until the post season, if they win 20 of those it would be the greatest year in Sharks history, and almost guaranteed them home-ice in the first round. Even more, if Anaheim can’t get their groove back the Sharks may be poised for their third Pacific Division Title…

Now, what to do about Nashville…

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January 28, 2007 - Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet

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