The Sharks are just about done with their preseason games for 2011-2012 and have gone 4-0. When people ask me what I think about that, I basically tell them “who cares, it’s preseason.” If the Sharks went 0-4, I would say the exact same thing. Pre-season games mean absolutely nothing to me, it is just a chance for younger guys to crack the roster, show the coaches what they worked on over the summer and to sell some more tickets. Honestly, Tommy Wingels is the Sharks leading scorer? No offense to him and his accomplishment this pre-season, but if you are banking on him scoring more than 15 goals this year, you are in for a rude awakening. And please tell me who “won” the pre-season last year or the last five years without Googling it. The pre-season is just a bunch of practice games that are open to the public, nothing more.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy that the Sharks are winning games. But I am more happy with the fact that they are playing much better hockey and that all of their new acquisitions are fitting in like they have been there for years. The defense now has depth that is worth talking about and I don’t think we will see the sluggish start to the year like last season. We will get to see Thomas Greiss a lot more in the beginning since Antero Niittymaki is out for the first few months after hip surgery. We will also see the 3rd and 4th lines rotate some players around while they figure out who works best in those roles. The Sharks are definitely better defensively than the last two seasons so we will see a lot closer wins than in years past.
This San Jose Sharks team has a lot to get excited over. They are one of the best teams on paper to start off the season in a very long time (even though I feel like that every year) but that doesn’t necessarily translate into instant success. I do, however, believe the Sharks players and even Doug Wilson know they do not have much time left to produce a cup. I would imagine if they do not get to the finals this year, the team could potentially blow up (with the exception of Burns and Niemi). Not that we need to worry about that now, but just don’t get too excited about going 4-0 in pre-season.
In the end, enjoy the short and blissful ride into the start of the 2011-2012 NHL season. Staying healthy will be the main worry all year and into playoffs, especially when we have some known band-aid boys on the team now. If the major players on the Sharks can stay healthy all year, they will win the Pacific Division again (which could be the last possible chance to win it) with some healthy competition from the LA Kings.
Next week, I will go over my predictions for the season. Tell me what you think in the comments about the Sharks’ chance this season of winning a cup.
Fun Fact: The San Jose Sharks have 12/1 odds of winning the cup this year - I think it might be time to hit up Vegas