San Jose Sharks: The Disconnect Within the Organization

So, I’ve been a fan of the Sharks for five years now, going on six, and I don’t think there’s ever been more turmoil that I’ve seen between the players (or rather just Joe Thornton) and the general manager than there has been lately.

For my fellow Sharks fans reading this, I know you’ve already read the following paragraph about 50 times now and are pretty damn sick of reading/hearing about it, but I’m sorry. It still has to be brought up again.

Of course, everything started when San Jose blew their 3-0 series lead to their most hated cross-state rival, the L.A. Kings. That alone was enough for management to start taking almost everything apart and try to put things back together, AKA what GM Doug Wilson has constantly called “rebuilding”. First, Joe Thornton had gotten stripped of the “C” on his jersey before being named at least an alternate captain along with Patrick Marleau (who really just got his leadership role back after being stripped of the “A” he already had), Joe Pavelski (future Sharks captain, in my opinion), and Marc-Eduoard Vlasic. After that, phase two was supposed to be letting all the young rookies see more time on NHL ice.

Now, let’s break this situation down one at a time.

Jumbo Joe initially hadn’t said much about being stripped of his captaincy by DW. He might not have liked the decision, but he went along with it because it was supposed to give everyone else in the locker room a chance at being leader. Obviously, that hasn’t worked out really well this season. But, wait, that’s not all. Before the Sharks were set to take the ice against the Nashville Predators last night, a game in which they shut the Predators out 2-0, Wilson held an invitation-only Ice Insights session which was essentially a Q & A session with the Sharks’ season ticket holders.

One of those questions was why he and others decided to take the captaincy away from Jumbo Joe.

He cares about the game so much. The reason we took the ‘C’ off him … Joe carries the weight of the team on his shoulders, and he’s got such a big heart that when stress comes on him, he lashes out at people and it kind of impacts them.

The pressure and stress, I felt, was getting to Joe. And I sat him down and said we need other players to step up and share this. He got it. He didn’t like it, but he got it and he understood it.



– Sharks GM Doug Wilson at Ice Insights STH Q & A session on why Joe Thornton was stripped of captaincy

When asked about it earlier today by San Jose Mercury News’ David Pollak, this is what the former captain and future Hockey Hall of Famer had to say (via Pollak’s tweet):

(You can read more about Thornton’s response here.)

That’s just the latest of the issues within the San Jose Sharks organization. Now, let’s make one thing clear. I’m not here to spread rumors, and this site is not for rumor-spreading purposes, but it does kind of give all of us something to think about. A lot of things actually. Where exactly is this team headed? We know that the veterans ain’t going to get any older. Sooner or later, the young rookies are going to have to step up. Question is who’s getting the captaincy next season? What about Todd McLellan’s job, as rumors of he and Wilson not seeing eye to eye are becoming increasingly more apparent? I’ll bet the most important question of all right now that Shark fans like me have uttered is how in the hell does GM Doug Wilson even have a job? Is owner Hasso Plattner actually agreeing with his decisions and points?

Amid all the drama within the team, one thing’s certain. The Sharks still have a slim chance of making the playoffs with just 14 games left. All the players really need to worry about for now is just playing hockey like they know how to. The coaches still need to coach, and they’ve still got games they need to win. Once that’s over with and they hit the off-season, boy… it will be one hell of another interesting off-season for San Jose.

Follow Felix on Twitter, and while you’re at it follow Ice Nation UK for all the best hockey talk!




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