Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why You Should Stop Worrying and Be Okay with the San Jose Sharks Missing the Playoffs

The Audio:

First, I am sorry that this clip is so long, but it is a complex issue. I also made it an audio clip because I want San Jose Sharks fans to know that my being a fan of the Los Angeles Kings has absolutely nothing to do with the idea that missing the playoffs can be beneficial to the Sharks. I love hockey, and the NHL is far better and more compelling with the Sharks making the playoffs than it is without them. I have a lot of friends who are Sharks fans, and I understand the frustration they feel towards their team. I am not saying that the Sharks should miss the playoffs, but I do not think that fans should despair should that happen. I hope that came across in the clip. By the way, I firmly believe that if Wilson had made the move for Keith Yandle, he would have gotten the GM of the Year award.

One thing that I did not cover in the clip is that Doug Wilson is currently in Boca Raton, Florida for the general managers meetings while the team is on a tour of Canada road trip. It may be good to have some distance between Doug Wilson and Joe Thornton at this time. They can both take the time to cool down and refocus to what is important. However, I can't help but point out that Wilson is with all twenty-nine other general managers who have heard the news about the rift and could be sending out feelers as to the interest in Thornton or maybe Patrick Marleau. Having players waive these no-move or no-trade clauses can be done, and we do see it all the time. Despite what has happened and Wilson's firm stance on not initiating trading these players, I have to wonder if he isn't striking up conversations with Dave Nonis of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jarmo Kekalainen of the Columbus Blue Jackets who shocked the entire league when David Clarkson was traded for Nathan Horton.

During the NHL's free agency frenzy that ended March 2nd, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded David Clarkson for Nathan Horton of the Columbus Blue Jackets. This was a bizarre deal in the hockey world because David Clarkson has a massive contract and has not met expectations during his time in Toronto. He was signed for seven years at about $5.25 million per year, and at the time of this trade, he was only in the second year of the contract. Because of its enormity and Clarkson's disappointing performance on the ice, most Leafs fans had resigned themselves to the fact that he would remain in Toronto since no team would want to take on that contract. Meanwhile in Columbus, Jarmo Kekalainen, general manager of the Blue Jackets, had Nathan Horton who had been signed for seven years at about $5.3 million a year who had not played a game in his second season of his contract because of a serious back injury. He had been relegated to long-term injured reserve, so his salary would not affect the cap. However, Horton still has to be paid.

And this is where one of the strangest deals was made. Kekalainen approached Dave Nonis, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, with a deal. The Maple Leafs are one of the highest-grossing sports teams, so they have a lot of money. However, in a league with a cap, there is not a whole lot to do with it in terms of a roster. The Blue Jackets still had to pay Horton, but they did not have the funds to continue paying him without his being on the roster. Basically, Kekalainen proposed that he would take Clarkson off of Nonis's hands if Nonis would take Horton off of his hands. This was a business transaction. Suddenly, the money that would have been spent on Horton to not play was now going to a player who could play, though Clarkson had a season-ending injury but will be back for the upcoming season. And suddenly the Leafs have some cap space to sign another player because Horton being on the long-term injured reserve means that his salary no longer counts towards the cap. Plus, the Leafs actually have the finances to pay it.

What the hockey world learned from this trade was that absolutely anything can happen and that no player is ever impossible to move. This was an incredibly creative deal, and it definitely is something that all general managers noticed. I have to wonder if Wilson isn't interested in seeing how those two brought forth the most shocking deal of late for his own purposes.

Also, if I still have your attention, I would like to point San Jose Sharks fans to a post-game show called "Pucknology after Dark" hosted by Erik Kuhre (@Puckguy14), AJ Strong (@aj_strong), Chris (@chrisjws), and Jentry Alexander (@jalexander46). You can also find them on Twitter @Pucknology, as well as online here. This is the only interactive post-game show available, and they offer great analysis along with some humor.

Initial article on Doug Wilson's open forum for San Jose Sharks season ticket holders:

Joe Thornton lashes back on Doug Wilson's comments:

Hasso Plattner intervenes:

Friday, March 6, 2015

Montreal Canadiens at Los Angeles Kings

Instead of typing it out, I just spouted off here:

Hope you enjoy! And this was an experiment, so this may never happen again.