First off, hockey doesn’t get the coverage it deserves. Oftentimes when watching SportsCenter you have to carefully plan blinking your eyes just in case you miss it.
Today’s column is dedicated to the San Jose Sharks or if you’re a hardcore fan, the “Sharkies”.
The Sharks are quietly putting together a phenomenal start at the cut-off 2013 season; sitting at 7-1-1 after their first regulation loss of the season from the Anaheim Ducks.
Currently, Sharks left wing Patrick Marleau leads the NHL with nine goals while 23-year old center phenom Logan Couture is tied for third in the NHL with six goals of his own. Also, center Joe Thornton is tied for first with 11 assists in the NHL.
The Sharks are often given the image of a highly efficient offensive team. While this may be true, the Sharks are making a name of themselves in the defensive department. They are tied for first in the NHL for goals-against with just 1.67 per game and are sixth in the NHL in penalty kill at 87.8%; this is all without head defenseman Brent Burns.
So, all these stats, what does it mean? The Sharks are very good, just as they’ve been for the past few years.
But eventually for all teams, there comes a time where the window of opportunity closes and it’s time for a team to re-build. That window hasn’t closed for the Sharks, but it is coming within the next 2-3 years as stars like Marleau (33), Thornton (33) and defenseman Brad Stuart (33) get up older in age.
The Sharks have added their talent mainly due to trades and accusations to create their star-studded roster; giving up many of their top-draft picks in order to create the “win now” approach.
The best-case scenario for the Sharks over the next 2-3 years is to win a Stanley Cup. But isn’t that the best-case scenario for every team? Yes, but if you look under the surface of the situation you will see the best option.
What draws free-agent players to teams? Winning. Take for instance superstar Lebron James going to the Miami Heat or pitching ace Zach Grienke going to the Anaheim Angels. Money was a nice factor as well, but ultimately they were drawn to those teams because they were winning teams.
If the Sharks can win a Stanley Cup or even make a very strong run at one, they stand a very good chance of pulling in young talent and veterans in their prime that are looking to get a championship.
By doing this, it may make the eventual transition period of veteran stars like Marleau, Thornton and Stuart much smoother and efficient for the Sharks’ organization.
It’s only a matter of time before the Sharks hit their “slump” of the season just as every team goes through, but right now the Sharks are riding high on momentum with a very talented team looking to a promising playoff run.
God speed, Sharkies.