Chumming for controversy
Two recent ESPN articles take aim at morale in the Shark's lockerroom.
Al Morganti hints at the dissension, then suggests that several additional veterans may be prime targets at the deadline. How will a Scott Thornton to Ottawa or Teemu Selanne to New Jersey trade improve this team for next season?
The second article [Shark Tank], appears in the latest edition of ESPN Magazine. Replete with unattributed "analysis" and anonymous quotes about Nolan, this has all the makings of a grade A hatchet job.
Let us examine some of the sources:
"He's a bully in the dressing room" - unidentified insiderAn unidentified SJ fan tells us that this article ***** [leaves much to be desired].
"It looks like he doesn't care" - unidentified Shark
[Damphousse and Nolan] "fight like cats and dogs" - unidentified scout.
Even if he is traded, Owen Nolan is the best player to have put on a Sharks jersey. You can quote me on that.
Shark Notes [playoff freefall edition]
- Six points out of a playoff spot and you lose the first 4 games of a 7 game road trip? Let the fire sale begin.
- The Flyers have 2 rookie defenseman in their rotation and want to add veteran depth for the playoffs. According to Tim Panaccio, Bryan Marchment might be an option.
With Rathje, Stuart, McLaren, McGillis, Hannan and Fahey on the depth chart, Sharks GM Dean Lombardi may want to trade Marchment's large [$3,000,000] salary.
- No blurb needed: Streaker ordered to donate to charity.
- After a loss to the Wings, Evgeni Nabokov told the Mercury News "We've been saying so many different things, but it's all worthless. It doesn't make any difference; we lose the games."
- Owen Nolan to the Red Wings or Adam Graves to the Senators?. Niether are going to happen.
[Update: Nolan to the Leafs?]
Exhibit A [that the league is in financial trouble]
The Pittsburgh Penguins traded Alexei Kovalev, Janne Laukkanen, Mike Wilson, and Dan LaCouture to the Rangers for 4 inexpensive role players and a reported $4 million in cash.
According to the NHLPA and outsidethegarden.com, the Penguins picked up salaries of $2,025,000, and the Rangers added $7,635,000.
With the $4,000,000 in cash the Penguins received, Pittsburgh saved $9,610,000 with one trade.
Kovalev has 27 goals, and 37 assists in 54 games for Pittsburgh this season. To add insult to injury, Mario Lemieux may not play next year.
Shawn Heins traded to Pittsburgh
San Jose defenseman Shawn Heins was traded to Pittsburgh this afternoon for a conditional 2003 draft pick. In 20 games with the Sharks this season, Heins had 1 assist and 9 penalty minutes.
With the addition of defenseman Kyle McLaren, and rookie Jim Fahey taking over the 7th spot on the depth chart, Shawn has not been able to crack the lineup.
According to NHLPA.com, Heins 2002/2003 compensation is listed at $600,000. Shawn fired the fastest recorded slapshot [106 mph] during the 1999 UHL allstar competition.
Ich bin ein Shark
After reading Kyle Woodlief blast the Germans as the worst team in the World Junior Championships, I needed to find a second opinion.
Kevin Wey delivers an informative article for Hockey's Future on German SJ prospects: P�tzold leads Sharks' German Prospects in an Eventful Month.
A tale of two negotiators
Before the upcoming 2004 labor dispute, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and player representative Bob Goodenow will try to find solutions to several of the leagues financial problems. One can gauge where they are in this negotiating process by examining recent interviews both gave to the media.
Gary Bettman talks about mascot anger management, the allstar game, about keeping the Buffalo and Ottawa NHL franchises alive.
Bob Goodenow suggests that player salaries are fine, the NHLPA will not be agreeing to a salary cap, and the players are ready for another work stoppage.
The contrast between the two interviews is startling. Bettman has softened his rhetoric, one hopes in an effort to make a deal. Goodenow seems blind to the fact that the sport is not just about owners and players. It is about owners, players, and fans.
In the end, leave it to Brett Hull to hit the nail on the head "75% of NHL players are overpaid".
[Update: Blues lost $43.1 million last season]
Letter to TSN.ca on Nolan and Marchment rumors
With the flood of rumors in the local papers, I went to the straight to the source and asked TSN.ca what was up with the Nolan and Marchment trade talk?
Bottom line for me is that Owen Nolan does things that few others in the league can. Until those tools are used to takeover critical playoff games, Nolan's leadership will remain in question.
Forsberg displayed that rare talent in games 6 and 7 of last years Conference semifinals.
For further reading:
Sharks have personnel issues that need to be addressed - Ross McKeon
Nolan trade rumors don't upset captain - Victor Chi
Even an aging Nolan too valuable to trade - Mark Purdy