San Jose Gets it Right

I’m probably alone in this, but the San Jose Sharks are either brilliant or fell ass over tea kettle into an outstanding move.

Long rumored to be hot and heavy for Bryan Campbell, instead they acquired a long in the tooth, way past his prime, barely holding on, Rob Blake.

And it’s brilliant.

The Sharks are most famous for drafting Germans, developing goaltenders and inspiring females to say “wow, nice uniforms.” What they haven’t been (since entering the NHL as the second coming of the Oakland Seals) is balanced.

As an example, here are the ages and career NHL games of their defenders last season:

  1. Craig Rivet 32 (744 games)
  2. Kyle McLaren 30 (719 games)
  3. Bryan Campbell 28 (411 games)
  4. Doug Murray 27 (135 games)
  5. Christian Erhoff 25 (264 games)
  6. Matt Carle 22 (151 games)
  7. Marc-Edouard Vlasic 20 (163 games)

These are the men who either played 40 or more games with the big club or came over for the Stanley run. Basically, they ran with two veterans (Rivet against soft parade, McLaren against tough opponents, plus Ozolinsh who is not listed here) and then quality young Ehrhoff and role player Murray. Young up and comer Vlasic (who may play over 500 NHL games before age 25, almost impossible to do) played well against good opposition while Matt Carle seemed to lose his way.

What don’t they have? A horse. A mean prick. A guy who will punch you in the face or the back of the head. Rob freaking Blake. Now they need to sign Jason Smith, figure out if McLaren (who can also fill the role) is healthy or not and then make room for the puck movers Carle and Vlasic who both looked scared of their own shadows for much of the important part (playoffs) of the season.

I know McLaren is tough, hell Doug Murray can crunch people. But this defense needs a leader, and Rob Blake most certainly is exactly that. Good move Sharks.

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23 Responses to "San Jose Gets it Right"

  1. PDO says:

    Best of luck to the Calgary Flames this post-season.

    Know who’d fill Blake’s roll when he retires at the end of the season?

    SFS.

    Sheldon Freaking Souray.

    :-)

  2. PDO says:

    BTW LT,

    You’re banned of making a Jagr thread. We’re onto you, and we know the second that you do, he’ll sign in Tampa Bay.

    Having said that, and not to derail this any further, I don’t mind this move by SJS… but I don’t think Blake is the guy they needed. Blake’s still a 2nd pairing guy at best. He helps, no doubt, but they needed Roszival and Kurt Sauer.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Well, I suppose he’ll be nice on the powerplay, as long as they can shelter him somewhat at even strength.

    And he was playing on an awful Kings team…

    No. They should have acquired Sheldon Souray- next year, they’ll rue their error, and correct it!

  4. Cory says:

    I agree, good signing, mostly for the PP help.

    I suspect that it isn’t just me and Dennis who suspect that San Jose has no intention of being a cap team, neither now nor in the near future.

    The Bay area is clearly a terrific place to be a millionaire, but Doug Wilson still has his work cut out for him. I don’t like his chances.

  5. Black Dog says:

    Good for the “intangibles” he brings but Blake has lost a step. They still need help.

    I am surprised they didn’t make a serious run at Hossa – that to me is a fit. They have more trouble scoring goals every spring then stopping them, it seems. Maybe next summer.

    They should have dealt for Pronger two summers ago. Things may have been very very different.

    And best of luck to the Calgary Flames this postseason.

  6. Black Dog says:

    Oh, and L.A.? Last frigging place for sure. My goodness are they going to be terrible.

    I feel bad for Greene and Stoll. Memories of March 2007 will seem sweet in comparison.

  7. Hoos says:

    Does anyone think a little Stan Weir mojo would help us land Jagr? Or is this a blasphemous use of a unique and special talent? (By that I mean Weir, not Jagr.)

  8. Lowetide says:

    Well that’s it. I’m doing a Jagr post rfn. Either I’m really a jinx or third time’s the charm.

    Besides, I want this solved before the weekend, I’m tiring of all this nonsense.

  9. Knamely Lacked says:

    What is Lombardi doing? Is Matt Greene going to mentor all their young defencmen now that Blake has gone? Lordy…

    Damn I like that Doug Murray too.

    That’s all.

  10. Lowetide says:

    San Jose needed this, seriously. I’m an Alexei Semenov fan but the fact he played AT ALL tells you they need help.

  11. PDO says:

    That’s it LT.

    It’s on. If he doesn’t sign, I’m showing up in St. Albert with a lot of beer, a big sign… and well, I don’t know what else. But I’ll figure it out once I start chugging.

  12. Lowetide says:

    I’ll make you a deal: IF Jagr signs with the Oilers, we meet at the Beer Hunter and you buy until I can’t stand.

    IF Jagr signs elsewhere, we meet at the Beer Hunter and I buy until you can’t stand.

    Deal?

  13. PDO says:

    So…

    I win either way?

    We’re on. Seriously. I’m holding you to this.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Yes. It’s a deal. It has to be a Friday afternoon, evening or Saturday though. I’ll need plenty of time to recover before working because I’m giving up about 25 freaking years on you.

  15. PDO says:

    Nothing better than beer on a Friday or a Saturday.

    And it won’t even interfere with an Eskimo home game!

  16. Lowetide says:

    Can you believe the 8PM start time? When I was in my 20′s that would be no problem, but by the time tonight’s game ends, you walk to the vehicle/take transit it’s going to be well after 11.

    Home by midnight, sleep by 1am. Lots of yawning tomorrow in the city.

  17. PDO says:

    Absolutely blows my mind.

    I am in my 20′s, and it’s still a huge problem because I’m in a summer hockey league that has a lot of Thursday games AND I work till 8 a lot of Thursdays. I just don’t understand it one bit.

    Especially when they started talking about the whole lake thing, for two reasons…

    A) Most people who can afford to have a cabin at a lake aren’t in their 20′s, and don’t want to be getting home at 1 AM (especially after another shit-kicking).
    B) Most people who go to the cabin for a weekend….

    …. spend the Thursday night preparing.

    The TSN bit is a load of crap as well… they could easily put the game on TSN-A at 7:00 if it’s going to be that big of a deal. Just blows my mind on so many levels.

    I don’t even know what to say about the beer sales either. On one hand, you have the CantCoachia factor that should be improving beer sales… but the Thursday night factor is going to cut right into that.

  18. Art Vandelay says:

    LT,

    Would SJS be in this position of “needing” to add Old Man Blake if Carle and Ehrhoff had progressed as people had expected?

    I guess I’m wondering: could those two take the next step simply by not having Martinet Wilson crabbing on them for every bad shift?

    And in that case could Blake prove valuable even if only as a one-pin veteran insurance policy/playing coach?

  19. Lowetide says:

    Art: I think SJS have been doing the same thing EDM has been doing. Going on the cheap with young D.

    EXCEPT that the only time since forever the Oildrop got a sniff of glory they were stacked with veteran defensemen.

    It isn’t a coincidence.

    For what it’s worth, Ehrhoff had a really nice season. +9, he played toughest minutes on the team with sub-pairing help.

    Carle otoh was a -8 with the soft parade and quality pairings.

  20. Art Vandelay says:

    For what it’s worth, Ehrhoff had a really nice season. +9, he played toughest minutes on the team with sub-pairing help.

    That’s encouraging to know. I think I was overly focused on how he had gone from a confident skater/puckhandler to a guy who looked worried the grenade would go off before he dumped it to a FW.

    That whole team couldn’t have got Lumley hands all at once. So I’m hoping a different perspective behind the bench and from a guy like Blake might improve the returning D counting totals. Even if Blake 09 isn’t the same as Blake 99.

  21. jon k says:

    I’m afraid I disagree on this signing, or at least am hesitant to agree. By most accounts Blake was pretty terrible this year and appears to be done like dinner. Playing on a good team might be probative however, as he was playing all the tough minutes and doing so flanked by a rookie (Johnson) last season.

  22. godot10 says:

    LA and Toronto are battling for Tavares.

  23. Dennis says:

    It almost seems like Blake’s last name should be Lupul because I don’t know where this is coming from;)

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