Well, my sense here at the All Star break is that the Sharks are a good team, but that they are struggling to break through or be consistent against the strongest competition.
Several players have been performing consistently well and at a high level. My first half MVP is Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He’s been really consistent and has been matched up against the top lines consistently. I thought he did an especially good job against Alex Ovechkin. Other’s who’ve played consistently well are Couture, Pavelski, Jamie McGinn, Douglas Murray, Brad Winchester, and at least in contrast to last year, ‘the fourth line’.
So, who’s missing from that list? Right, Thornton, Niemi, Boyle, Marleau, and Brett Burns. It’s not that they haven’t played well, its just that they haven’t played well consistently. Nobody has a stronger slap shot than Burns, but it doesn’t seem to lead to a lot of goals. My sense is that what we’re missing is that one guy who can sit in front of the goalie and get tips or mess with him so that more goals can go in… If Dustin Byfuglien comes available we should grab him… (or anyone else who can skate and is 6-5 and 265 or so… I don’t think hockey players come in that size very often).
Injury problems? I’m not sure if we’re having a rough season or if this is just normal, but with Murray, Havlat, Clowe, Boyle, and Burns all missing games, I’m thinking that it has been and will continue to be a concern.