Two class NHL franchises
After the Atlanta Thrashers obtained a private box for the Snyder family, the Toronto Maple Leafs displayed a short message on the jumbotron during the first period:
"To the Snyder family and the Atlanta Thrashers: Over the past few weeks, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the people of Toronto have been thinking about you."
Atlanta came from behind in the third to win the game 3-2.


Shark Notes
- After the 6th worst attendance against Ottawa [14,807], and the 3rd worst attendance against Anaheim [14,362], one solution that will raise fan interest in San Jose: Ice Girls.

- I had only one problem with the excellent article by David Pollak "Sharks salary drop NHL's largest". Pollak detailed the Sharks drop in salary from 47.8 million to 35-38 million this season.

Any mention of the salary cut from last season should include an asterisk from Pittsburgh, see Exhibit A [that the league is in financial trouble]. Teemu Selanne left San Jose on his own. Subtract that figure from Pollak's total, and the Penguins surpassed it with one trade.

- 2 of the positives I mentioned at the start of the season are already quashed. Milan Michalek will miss 4 months of the season with a knee injury, and Christian Ehrhoff was sent down to the Cleveland Barons.

- New pages added to this site: 2003-2004 Sharks photos, and NHL posters.

- The NHL opened the "negotiations" for the next collective bargaining agreement with a proposed 31 million hard salary cap.

[Update] It is always cool when one of the best NHL writers, Tim Panaccio, turns his attention towards San Jose: Sharks in state of transition.


Milan Michalek out 4 months with knee injury
Milan Michalek

First round draft pick Milan Michalek is out of the Sharks lineup with a torn ACL knee ligament. Milan may miss up to four months of the season.


Sharks hockey: It's not going to be as ugly as you might think
I respect Mark Purdy. He brings a lot of enthusiasm to his columns, if not humor. But this is what he comes up with after opening night?
There won't be much beautiful hockey at the Tank in 2003-04. But it's not going to be as ugly as you might think.
Why not say: Come see the Sharks because the beer vendors will get lonely, or that watching the Sharks is not going to be as bad as grabbing a foul ball that keeps your team from the World Series.

If you are writing about the upcoming season, at some point offer an intelligent prediction. I guess I will help Mark out a little. This year the Sharks are gambling that Evgeni Nabokov will rebound from an off season. If Evgeni struggles, this is a lottery team pure and simple.

For the Sharks to fight for a playoff spot, Sturm and Marleau will not only have to match their numbers from last year, but improve on them. The addition of Michalek, Ekman, Ehrhoff, Korolyuk, and Preissing adds speed and skill to the lineup, but also the expectant fear of rookie mistakes.

More goals, less folds, and the curse of Ed Belfour may just yet be broken.

happy belfour

[Update] Don't expect much this year - SF Chronicle

[Update2] Sharks ahead on Nolan deal - Toronto Star


Great article by Eric Francis for the Calgary Sun, Forgotten Fans. He takes a look at both sides of the CBA negotiations, but he also draws an interesting parallel to the baseball strike in 1994. How many hockey fans will return if there is a strike?


San Jose Sharks Notes
- Mike Ricci was selected to wear the "C" as captain of the San Jose Sharks. After every 10 games, coach Ron Wilson will select a new captain from the roster.

- San Jose all-time captains: Doug Wilson [1991-1993], Bob Errey [1993-1995], Jeff Odgers [1995-1996], Todd Gill [1996-1998], Owen Nolan [1998-2003], Mike Ricci [2003]

- Hockey Future's new San Jose writer Jeff Zank has a great interview with rookie defenseman Christian Ehrhoff.

- Negotiations last week between the NHL and the NHLPA were a tad less optimistic than initially reported. Vincent Damphousse was on hand for the discussions.

- Double hearsay trade rumor: Spector notes a Calgary Sun report that Ron Sutter, now a scout for Calgary, was seen scouting a pre-season game in San Jose. Rumor has it the Flames are interested in Kiprusoff or Toskala.


Opening day roster
I have been getting a lot of email 1. asking about the new Sharks added to the lineup, and 2. can I please take more pictures of them.

1. Here is the opening day lineup. 2. Yes, I will try.

Left Wing:
Jonathan Cheechoo 6-1, 195
Nils Ekman 6-0, 190
Alyn McCauley 6-0, 192
Scott Thornton 6-3, 215

Right Wing:
Alexander Korolyuk 5-9, 195
Milan Michalek 6-2, 205
Scott Parker 6-5, 225
Marco Sturm 6-0, 195

Vincent Damphousse 6-1, 205
Patrick Marleau 6-2, 210
Wayne Primeau 6-3, 220
Mike Ricci 6-0, 190

Rob Davison 6-2, 225
Christian Ehrhoff 6-2, 185
Jim Fahey 6-0, 205
Scott Hannan 6-2, 215
Kyle McLaren 6-4, 225
Mike Rathje 6-5, 240

Evgeni Nabokov 6-0, 200
Miikka Kiprusoff 6-2, 190
Vesa Toskala 5-10, 195


R.I.P. Dan Snyder
Dan SnyderThe death of Dan Snyder weighs heavy on many during the start of the 2003-2004 NHL season. Dan Snyder, a young forward for the Atlanta Thrashers, and Dany Heatley were involved in a horrible single-car crash.

Snyder was taken to the hospital in a coma, and 6 days later succumbed to his injuries. The Atlanta Thrashers later won their opening game 2-1 against Columbus. In addition to a moving tribute, the players dedicated this season to their fallen teammate [photo gallery].

On Friday with his family, his friend Dany Healtey, and many of his teammates, Dan Synder was buried in his hometown of Elmira, Ontario. RIP.