Sharks Captain Rob Blake retires

San Jose Sharks Captain Rob Blake will be retiring after 21 NHL seasons, according to CSN Bay Area.

CSN explains that Blake had held off on announcing his retirement due to the current Stanley Cup Finals between Chicago and Philadelphia. Blake did not want to take any attention away from the event, and therefore, his decision will likely not be confirmed by the organization until next week.

This marks the second time in a year that a Hall of Fame worthy player has retired in San Jose after a twenty year NHL career. Jeremy Roenick, who was brought on in 2007 due to his ties with General Manager Doug Wilson and veteran presence, announced his retirement in San Jose on August 6, 2009 following the Sharks first round loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

Blake, however, goes out with a bigger bang. He took over the Captaincy from Patrick Marleau last summer, and despite receiving criticism from many for his defensive miscues and lack of mobility during the regular season, elevated his game during the 2010 postseason. Blake logged 23:20 of ice time in the Sharks run to the Western Conference Finals, and was a notable presence in his own end throughout the playoffs, leading the team with 44 blocked shots.

With Blake's retirement, questions have begun to surface as to who the Sharks will target during the 2010 offseason in order to shore up a defensive unit that was 20th in the league in terms of shots against. With goaltender Evgeni Nabokov's future uncertain with the team, going after a top-minutes defenseman such as Paul Martin or Dan Hamhuis would be an immediate boon for the franchise, and allow a less talented goaltending tandem to flourish by restricting shots on net.

Another story of this summer will be the Captaincy position. Attentive readers will remember the debates that raged across the city when Patrick Marleau was removed of the C last year, and it is likely a similar debate will take place this offseason.

However, the choice may not be as difficult. With defenseman Dan Boyle being one of the most outspoken Sharks to the media, and possessing a fire that many find admirable, it stands to reason that he will be the leading candidate heading into August. Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton will likely be the front-runners for the assistant duties.

Fear The Fin would like to thank Rob Blake for his two-year service to the organization. Although his booming slap shot had lost a little bit of it's net nose as the years began to pile up, Blake was a world-class individual in San Jose and a player who elevated his game when it mattered most.

A Hall of Fame career to be certain, and a fine player who will most certainly be missed on Opening Night next year.

Go Sharks.