Sharks Hockey is back, everyone.
While two games may be too early to really gauge how well a team will do this season, as the Rangers, Kings, and Canucks would hope, the Sharks are off to a good start. It may have taken them one period to warm up, allowing 16 shots against Calgary on Sunday in the first period, but Niemi proved to be the best player on the ice, stopping 15 shots including a couple of Grade-A robberies.
After that period, however, the Sharks stole momentum, putting 20 shots on Kiprusoff in the last two periods and tallied 4 goals. They carried that momentum across Alberta, and put up a franchise record-setting 6 goals in the opening period against the first-rounder teens of Edmonton.
The Sharks top 6, especially Marleau and Thornton, have been on fire. Marleau has 4 goals (T- 1st in NHL) and 5 points and Thornton has 5 assists (T- 1st in NHL) in 2 games.
They’ve definitely proved SI’s Adrian Dater wrong, who says:
“Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and…zzzz. No offense to those two high-scoring veterans, but this team appears near its expiration date as a serious Cup contender. There is just too much failed playoff baggage with this roster, led at the top by Thornton and Marleau.Sure, they’ll win some games, but I see a non-playoff finish this year.”
Thornton and Marleau have are only proving that they shouldn’t be ranked 23rd in the league and miss the playoffs, but along with Boyle, who has tallied two PPG in the opening two games, they are on the road to proving that despite their age, the window for the Sharks winning a Stanley Cup has been extended yet another year.
Also, according to various recent reports, 33-year-old center Scott Gomez has oficially signed a 1 year, $700,000 deal with the Sharks after traveling with the team to Alberta and participating in practices and being bought out by the Montreal Canadiens.
While the Sharks have a full forward lineup, there is always room for a veteran like Scott Gomez, who faced criticism from around the league for the last few years and expectedly did not play like a player who is usually signed to contracts that earn above $7 million a year.
Gomez won the Calder trophy and the Stanley cup in 2000 with former Devils Head Coach and current Sharks Assistant Coach Larry Robinson, a mutual interest that drew Gomez to San Jose.
Head Coach Todd Mclellan also expressed his interest in Gomez in an interview with San Jose Mercury News:
“My interaction with him so far, he’s coming across as a very hungry player, a guy that would love to prove himself right before he proves everybody else wrong, and that’s a pretty strong motivator.”
While Gomez is obviously not worth the $7 million cap hit, he is definitely a great addition to the Sharks for under $1 million. Despite his drought of goal-scoring which led to a multitude of criticism and the launching of this website while playing with the Montreal Canadiens, Gomez is a former Calder trophy winner and two-time Stanley Cup winner that will bring an added veteran presence on the 3rd line with T.J. Galiardi and Tommy Wingels (pushing Michal Handzus back to the fourth line), and also likely have some playing time as a passer on the 2nd PP unit. He will wear #23, according to the San Jose Sharks’ official twitter.
The Sharks play their home opener on Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes. With the addition of Gomez, if the veteran scoring presence that we saw in the last two games can hold up throughout the season, look for a very strong team and a favorite for the Stanley Cup.
However, Gomez will have to prove everyone wrong, and so will the Sharks. Time will tell.