Sharks Strip Marleau and Thornton Of Captain Duties.
Over the past few weeks I've been getting emails and texts from many of you asking what I think of Marleau no longer being the captain of the Sharks, if I think he will be traded, who will be captain, what I think is in store for the upcoming season and so forth. So let me tell you my thoughts on all of this. First and foremost stripping both Marleau and Thornton of their letters was in my opinion necessary. This is a clear message to the players that the Sharks organization is not going to stand for mediocre leadership. Now before you get offended by that statement consider the reality of it. This wasn't a personal attack on Marleau or Thornton this is a business and if the job is not getting done in the eyes of the owners then they will make changes as they see fit.
We all know how they dominated through most of the regular season, Marleau alone stands out with 38 goals and 33 assists silencing his critics. Thornton has another iron man season and 86 points, but Presidents Trophy or not they got their asses handed to them in the first round courtesy of the 8th seeded Ducks. Put up as many numbers as you want what counts in the post season is character, determination and leadership. I'm not saying that Marleau and Thornton don't have these traits but they seem to fade into the background once the playoffs hit. In turn this causes a ripple affect to all players. Bottom line the same record keeps getting played and the Sharks keep being the bridesmaid.
Marleau has been quoted as saying he doesn't care if they take the "C" from him, he just wants the cup. If you all forgot he was moved from first line center to a second line winger and this didn't cause a problem so what's the big deal? The thing is Marleau is coming up on the last year of his contract, currently has a no-trade clause and is a great bargaining chip in terms of obtaining some talent for the playoff push. Do I think he will be traded? Maybe. He can waive the no-trade, is still considered in his prime, a 20+ goal scorer, and would be an asset to any team willing to pay big for him. I would love to see him stay and be our franchise player but sometimes it's best for not only the team but the player to move on.
Should Thornton get the "C"? My question is if he did would he step up in the post season? I have no problem with Thornton as captain but as a result don't expect him to produce the numbers we are so accustomed to. Accepting that responsibility will take away from his game trust me, he won't be terrible by any means but it's a lot to take on. Others have brought up that there were "too many injuries" and "the top lines were too tired from the regular season". True, but all of the other teams had the same thing going on we're no exception. Well what happened to the second and third line? They weren't producing either! To which I say, you're right they didn't. Let's not make excuses for the epic fail. The blame shouldn't just be on Marleau or Thornton I think it was a team effort or lack there of shall I say that resulted in the loss.
With Roenick retired and Grier signing with Buffalo who should be captain? Boyle, Blake....anyone? This is really up to the coach to determine. Like I stated earlier the team as a whole needs to step up and prove themselves. If no one stands out by the end of camp I think it should be rotated till a fitting captain and assistant is found. I do believe that there are a few veteran guys that can get the job done but only time will tell. Should Nabby waive his no-trade? He says he will if the teams wants to trade him. I still think Nabby is a great goaltender and should stay with the Sharks. He needs a solid back-up that can be rotated in often, and be able to take over in case of injury.
As for my thoughts on the rest of the season I'm not too worried but they need to earn some respect back. It's a long season so keeping their health down the stretch is very important as we saw how that affected them in the remaining games. They proved that we can be the best in 82 games now let's be the best in the post and bring the cup to San Jose.
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