The San Jose Sharks actually had some people, myself included, convinced they could be the first team in decades to come back from a 3-0 series deficit when they took Dallas to Game 6 and pushed it to overtime. As we know, they didn’t, and poolies are now hoping for a change of philosophy.
(Originally posted by The Hockey News on May 9 – four days before Wilson was fired, not bad timing eh?)
The Sharks are a defensive team and have been for a couple of years. They boasted the top penalty-killing unit in the regular season and the third-best goals-against average. However, despite being loaded with offensive talent, they ranked 19th in goals for.
Much to fantasy owners’ disdain, the rule of thumb is defense wins Cups. In the post-season, checking gets a whole lot tighter, but there is such a thing as overdoing it. When taking a look at how some of the players performed for San Jose, it is clear where things went wrong: a defensive coach such as Ron Wilson is a fantasy nightmare. A run-and-gun coach would mean the world to an owner stocked with Sharks players.
Joe Thornton – One of the most talented players in the entire league perennially posts more than a point per game, but he had just 10 points in 13 playoff contests. That pro-rates to less than 65 points in a season. He’d be a 130-point player under a freewheeling coach.
Patrick Marleau – Received a lot of criticism for his lack of production in the second round, but the bottom line is his playoff production actually increased versus the regular season. We’ve already seen Marleau tally 86 points in one season, so we know what he can do if the defensive reins come off.
Ryane Clowe – Clowe led all players in the first round with eight points, but only notched one in the second round. You will see this inconsistent production next campaign and he will likely settle in with 55 points; unless, of course, a different coach comes in. If that happens, look for 70.
Joe Pavelski – Probab