1-on-1 with Logan Couture
Sharks offseason recap
A busy offseason it was not for the San Jose Sharks.
A team that looked dead as disco in mid-March made some key trades and notable changes in on-ice strategy, surged into the postseason, and nearly knocked off the defending Stanley Cup champs after a first round sweep. That roster has essentially returned in full, with a few tweaks. Are the Sharks a better club than the one that played seven tough games against Los Angeles, or have they taken a step back?
How the Sharks have improved:
1) Is there a better third line center in the NHL than Joe Pavelski? The Sharks historically put an emphasis on the center position, and having Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Pavelski down the middle should give San Jose a balanced and dynamic attack. The versatile Pavelski will also see time on a top power play unit that can be nearly unstoppable when it’s on its game, and Couture looks primed to make a run at the 40-goal plateau. Thornton is, well, Joe Thornton, and he’ll surely be among the team’s scoring leaders.
2) Tyler Kennedy was the only notable addition to the Sharks as far as NHL veterans go, joining the Sharks when the club sent a second round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for the 27-year-old winger. Kennedy fell out of favor with the Penguins’ coaching staff for some reason, but already looks like a good fit in San Jose, and his style of play should mesh well in a second or third line role. He essentially takes the place of TJ Galiardi, who improved incrementally as last season went along, but was much too inconsistent. Galiardi was traded to Calgary.
Each year brings new pressure on Wilson, Sharks
Doug Wilson doesn’t like questions about windows. He’s Home Depot-phobic that way.
But every year, the San Jose Sharks are confronted with the “is the window closing/is the window closed/how does the window stay propped open?” questions, because the Sharks are still defined in the greater portion of North America by its oldest players – Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle.
And Wilson wants to redefine the franchise in his own subtle way as Logan Couture’s team, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s team, and Joe Pavelski’s team, and on the way, Tomas Hertl’s team.
In a strange way, though, it's actually Doug Wilson’s team because all of the windows opening and shutting are on his watch, and his watch is now 10 full years old.
Seven NHL general managers have been on the job longer than he, and of those, three are like him – Cup-less. Darcy Regier in Buffalo, George McPhee in Washington and David Poile in Nashville. Of those, only Poile has never been considered as having built a Cup contender, and only Wilson and Ken Holland in Detroit has made the playoffs each and every year of his tenure.
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GALLERY: 10 QUESTIONS
SEASON PREVIEW AIR DATES
9/26 @ 10p
9/27 @ 2:30p
9/30 @ 12a
10/1 @ 1:30p
10/1 @ 4p
10/1 @ 10:30p
10/2 @ 10:30p
10/3 @ 4:30p
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