Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Weekly Off-season Sharks Update
Summer is the doldrums for the NHL. Little happens in the nine weeks between the first week of free agency and the opening of training camp.
However, as co-writer for the team here pn Battle of the Pacific, I understand that fans are not satisfied with no news. I consider it my responsibility to get something of value posted to start each week despite the drought. In this case, I have three news items of note:
The team has announced it has re-signed 6'2", 220 lb., 2004 first round pick (22nd in the draft) Lukas Kaspar, a restricted free agent. In keeping with team policy, no terms were announced, but let's face it, this has to be a league minimum contract.
In the three non-strike years since being drafted, Kaspar has played a grand total of three games in the Teal, registering five shots and no points. Last season at Worcester, he managed 17 goals and 24 assists in 73 games. With Tomas Plihal yet unsigned, the 22-year old does represent the leading candidate to see action, should another Sharks forward come down with injury.
The team also announced the signing of 26-year-old, 5'8", 175 lb. RW Ryan Vesce. He played college hockey at Cornell, so we can assume he's smart, but he has no NHL experience. He played fairly well last season in the Finnish Elite league, scoring 26 goals and 18 assists in 56 games. Prior to last year, he did play in the minor leagues as a part of the Ottawa Senators organization.
Finally, the team announced the national television schedule. The Sharks will appear on the Versus Network for the following games: @ Boston 2/10/09, @ Dallas 2/23/08, and vs. Colorado 4/17/08. NBC does not have the Sharks scheduled for the first two weeks of its 2009 programming, but the flexible schedule in the final six weeks, so the team should have at least one appearance.
Comcast Sports Net can now schedule its contracted 70 games among the potential remaining 79, leaving up to nine games not broadcasted for one of the top contenders in the league. If the television executives do not want the late West Coast games, do you think they could at least work one of the league's most exciting teams in for a weekend matinee?