Out with the old, in with the new…

It’s been a busy year and posts here have been few but, inspired by a few weeks off, I’ve decided to try posting something each day in the coming year. Starting tonight to get a bit of a head start. Hopefully I’ll get some brownie points or something for doing this.

The first 1/3 or so of the Sharks season is in the bag and the sharks are at the top of the Pacific division, but they haven’t looked consistently good (or bad). Their early 5-1 road stretch followed by a 4-1-1 home stand put them in a good position early, but December wasn’t as impressive with a 4 game losing streak although they recovered to win 5 straight after that.

My personal choice for MVP so far is Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He’s +14 and just playing a remarkably consistent game. It’ll be interesting to see what McClellan does with his defensive pairings with Murray coming back from his hand injury. Vlasic has been paired with Dan Boyle and that pairiing has worked well in spite of Boyle being slowed by his foot injury. However, I’m excited by the prospect of Vlasic and Burns being reunited, that may be the best way to maximize Burns’ value.

Offensively, Pavelski and Couture are both scoring regularly and with 6 players having scored 7 or more goals the Sharks are getting the balanced scoring that seems to be their trademark.

Pleasant Surprises:

  • Jamie McGinn – 8 goals, contributing on the 3rd or even 2nd lines, he seems to have really arrived this year.
  • Jim Vandemeer – although he’s been out injured he was contributing both as a defenseman and as a fourth liner.
  • The 4th line – it seems to me they’ve just been really effective. Last year it seemed the 4th line was just non existant at times. This year they’ve been contributing regularly and rarely putting the sharks in the hole.

Needs Improvement: (nice way of saying ‘Hey dude, You Suck’)

  • Joe Thornton – yes he leads the team in points but he also seems to be leading the team in bonehead plays (turnovers in the defensive zone top this list). Also, Joe, please occasionally shoot when you have an open look, I think all your opponents have you figured as a pass-only guy now. You never know what might happen.
  • Jason Demers – Seems to have played better lately, but had a rough patch in late November / early December.
  • The Penalty Kill – again, seems better the last few games but really struggled early and again during their recent 4 game losing streak. At least the gap pass for the easy weak side goal has been shut down.

Well, that’s it for now – more tomorrow.

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