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Sharks' Wilson 1-on-1: GM honesty, SJ lineup

Monday, 03.08.2010 / 5:30 PM / NHL Insider

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- While San Jose Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson likes the fact the NHL is serious about putting an end to illegal hits to head, he knows it's going to take time to completely decipher all the statistics and information in attempt to reach an ultimate decision.

After all, making advances to the game is something Wilson takes great pride in.

In 2004, he was named to the NHL Game Committee in which a panel of players, coaches, executives and media were held responsible for examining all aspects of the game. He was right back at it Monday when he and the NHL's 29 other general managers met at the Boca Raton Club & Resort to discuss, in great detail, illegal hits to the head.

Wilson, who also serves as the Sharks' alternate governor, took some time out on Monday to discuss the opening day of meetings and his team's chances down the stretch with NHL.com.

"It's tough to define and there's always going to be gray areas. This is a game being played at a different speed with the rule package we signed off on (following the work stoppage) several years ago. Traditionalists will say this and that, but this is a different type of environment, it's a faster track." -- Doug Wilson on what is deemed a legal hit and an illegal hit

NHL.com: What did you take from Monday's meetings?

Wilson: I think what's really good about today is we've been acquiring all sorts of information and it'll be openly discussed (Tuesday), which I really look forward to. You learn from listening. You don't want to be reactive, but it's an issue we all certainly care about and want to put some type of clarity and closure to. We'll have the opportunity to speak on the subject tomorrow, but I think you have to listen, first, to some of the data that was presented and then make an opinion and take a position based on that knowledge.

NHL.com: What would you deem a legal hit and an illegal hit?

Wilson: It's tough to define and there's always going to be gray areas. This is a game being played at a different speed with the rule package we signed off on (following the work stoppage) several years ago. Traditionalists will say this and that, but this is a different type of environment, it's a faster track. Hitting is an important part of the game and in San Jose, we like hitting, but we also do not want to see anyone get injured in a situation that might be enabled by not having the officials and supplemental discipline the tools to say this is something we don't want in our game anymore. I do think we are caretakers to this game and we have to decide and clarify this is what's acceptable and this is what isn't, and we will get to that point.

NHL.com: How confident are you in your team down the stretch?

Wilson: We've made a lot of changes since last season. We have 12 new players on the team, guys we added, like (defenseman) Nic Wallin, and we're getting some of our injured guys getting back soon, so it's looking good. Our young guys have really played well from Worcester and have given us a good outlook when they've been up. We're looking forward to, knock on wood, staying healthy and getting even better because we're going to have to down the stretch. This is when the team's that play the best are the teams that continue on.

NHL.com:
At the NHL Entry Draft, are the Sharks more inclined to take the next best available player or do you prefer to fill team needs?

Wilson:
Our scouts do an amazing job. (Director of Scouting) Tim Burke has always done a good job identifying the best players available and we've got one of the top teams in American Hockey League -- which has 12 rookies on it this season. The addition of players takes place in many ways -- one is the draft and another is through junior, college and European free-agency. Every year, we add to our depth and our pipeline. We're almost always looking for the best player available on draft day.

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1