What a week it's been in the NHL. By the time my last In the Crease article was posted it was as out of date as one of Dan Rusanowsky's suit jackets. Since August 1, 87 players have changed addresses or have re-upped with their old team. An astonishing number and just as impressive are the teams making the big deals. Edmonton getting Chris Pronger and Mike Peca. The Oilers now believe they can stop being a "feeder" club for the bigger market teams and return to the Glory Days of a once unstoppable dynasty. They're off to a good start.
Calgary's Darryl Sutter also made a big splash this week. The GM/Coach of the Flames lost 'The Eliminator'-Martin Gelinas - to the Florida Panthers, but lured Tony Amonte and Darren McCarty to Cowtown. Not to mention he re-signed the face of the franchise, Jerome Iginla, to a 3-year deal. Darryl told me that the conversations with Jerome and his agent Don Meehan never circulated about money. Rather Iginla was more interested to find out the direction that Big D was going to take the Flames. As we all know, Darryl wants to win and he conveyed his plans on building a championship club with the cornerstone being Jerome. Looks like the Battle of Alberta may rage again.
The Best player in the world is back with the team that drafted him. Peter Forsberg is going to the City of Brotherly Love-Philadelphia. As you remember Philly traded Forsberg (and Mike Ricci among others) for Eric Lindros back in '91. Now Lindros is a free agent and rumoured to be Leafs bound. Flyers GM Bobby Clarke had to make some cap room so he moved Jeremy Roenick to the Los Angeles Kings. Is there a guy that needs to be in Hollywood more than JR? Did you know to his friends JR's nickname is 'Hollywood'?
Are you getting the idea that the Western Conference is getting even tougher? What about the Pacific division? Dallas re-signs Modano and Zubov. The Ducks have a new GM-Coach and Franchise player in Scott Niedermayer. I know the Sharks were in the running for Niedermayer and I watched an interview with Scott on TSN. He said in the end family took over. He took less money and his brother got more so they could play together. Rob and Scott haven't really spent much time together since they were 14 and 15 years old. He also added that the Stanley Cup Finals when Scott's Devils beat Rob's Ducks it was particularly hard on their parents. Now Mom and Dad Niedermayer are able to cheer for both the boys skating the same direction trying to help their team win.
So what about the Sharks? I notice from my perusal of the chat room that many of you are still trying to win the Stanley Cup in August. But your point is well taken. What's Doug Wilson doing?
I believe we've had this conversation before-HAVE FAITH! Have faith in an outstanding coaching staff. Ron Wilson, Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler have done a great job and will always get the most of the team. But most of all have faith in the players. The team that won the Pacific Division with 104 points was no fluke, Patrick Marleau
is a legitimate star. So are Scott Hannan and Marco Sturm. Don't forget the amazing Jonathan Cheechoo. Scott Thornton will add the toughness and veteran leadership not to mention 20 goals. Yes other teams have gotten better, but the Sharks can too. Chatters, your concerns and questions should be asked, but rest assured Doug Wilson asks the same to his staff every day. I've known Doug for 15 years. I'd follow him to the depths of Hell if he said that's how to win a Stanley Cup.
Up front the Sharks have speed and skill. Don't forget Marco Sturm comes back well rested and rehabilitated from his injury. He's a big piece of the puzzle. Marcel Goc proved in Game 6 against Colorado that he's got big time capabilities, so I'm not concerned there. There should also not be cause for concern when questioning if Alyn McCauley and Alex Korloyuk can do it again. Of course they can. Both are veteran guys who, when given the opportunity to play with an expanded offensive role, thrived. And even though many of you in the chat room don't think so, the Sharks have the Best Goalie in The League in Evgeni Nabokov, (yeah-I know the guy in Jersey is really good but I'm biased).
In the Crease,