Okay, Everyone Get Up And Stretch... It's Time For The Stretch Run

Before action resumes tomorrow, a brief glance at where things stand with Los Tiburones de San José.

For all the kvetching everyone (including yours truly) does about the Sharks, the fact is they have the second best record in the Western Conference behind only Detroit, which is threatening to lap the field before the playoffs start.  Yes, there are legitimate concerns -- the scoring would have to take iron pills (no, not Iron Mike Keenan; he's in Calgary, silly) in order to work it way up to anemic, and that home record... yeesh.  These things duly noted, the defense has been far stronger than anyone would have dared believe before the season started, Evgeni Nabokov has been one of the if not the best goalies in the NHL, and contributions from unexpected sources both young (Torrey Mitchell) and old (Jeremy Roenick) have been nothing but a positive.  The glass is half-full with legitimate hope for becoming filled.

Things that will be necessary for the Sharks to be a legitimate Cup contender?  A big one is Jonathan Cheechoo regaining his scoring touch, thus showing the last game against St. Louis wasn't a fluke.  Patrick Marleau needs to either show up or step out of the C on his sweater.  Nabokov has to stay healthy.  Ryan Clowe has to get healthy; his physical and scoring presence on the left wing is sorely missed.  There's always the possibility of a trade or two, but of these things only Doug Wilson knows, and despite our sharing the same last name he hasn't tipped me off to any possible dealings.  And me a season ticket holder starting with the inaugural season, too.  Ah well.

Lace 'em up, men.  The quest for the Cup is back in session.