How to Tell if You Have Mad Shark Disease

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks are engaging in some very strange behavior. They seem hell bent on alienating a fan base that they spent decades building up. They are firing favorites and making deranged threats about a losing season and possible relocations. Someone put something funny in the San Jose water.

The relocation noise seems to be connected to complaints about a painfully horrible 14 year tv contract that the Sharks have with CSN Bay Area. In theory, if the Sharks moved to Seattle, where they have no new arena, they would no longer be in the Bay Area and CSN could not hold them to the punitively bad agreement. The other relocation theory is that the Sharks would move only as far as Santa Clara, to be near the fancy new Levis stadium. Like Seattle, Santa Clara also does not have a new rink waiting for an NHL team to move in.

So either destination requires a lot of waiting and building. After the waiting and the building, there’s more waiting while people figure out that there is an NHL team in town (Seattle) or where their NHL team went (Santa Clara). Neither option will save the Sharks, directly or indirectly, from the gushing monetary losses they are (theoretically) suffering at the hands of CSN Bay Area.

The second symptom of mad Shark disease was the firing of Drew Remenda.

@MercPurdy: Just my opinion: Drew sometimes too honest on air for team’s taste. Also, were issues involving him not living here.  “@indgiuli1. Remenda?”

That is just one journalist’s opinion but it is ironic that he used the word “honest,” since that is Doug Wilson’s new catch phrase. The Sharks don’t have a problem with honesty. Their issue is with openness. There are obvious reasons to keep business dealings confidential but the degree of secrecy displayed by this team baffles the mind and I suppose reflects poorly on the reporters who are expected to dig things up. Nonetheless, it isn’t that the Sharks lie to the public, they just withhold so much that it borders on the absurd.

And that, I would argue, is where the team might have been at odds with Remenda. He shared his opinions… but if that isn’t an analyst’s job, what is?

Maybe it was because of Twitter. Remenda would not join Twitter and clearly everyone must join Twitter.

Whatever reasoning behind that decision, it was petty. It also revealed a complete disregard for the fan base, and for what worked for the Sharks. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Yet another symptom of Shark madness is all this rebuild talk. Granted, Doug Wilson may be planning to take a different tack this Summer but to be throwing the R word around is confusing. The notion that the Sharks need to move their remaining vets out and prepare to lose a season or more has most people crying cuckoo.

Does he say “rebuild” to convince his vets to move on? Will that word send Thornton or Marleau running for the Eastern hills? Really? If they want to win so badly as that, do the Sharks want them to leave? And if it took outsiders a matter of minutes or hours to figure this ruse out, what are the chances it would work on hockey players or their agents?

Wilson doesn’t describe this rebuild process as anything like the many seasons the Kings and the Blackhawks spent missing the playoffs. In his interview with NHL Live, he talked about one or two poor seasons. If he can bolster a team so significantly in just one or two seasons, he’s redefining “rebuild.”

What I think it means is simply that Wilson has no plans to add major pieces to the team. He is not going to follow a “win now” plan. He will use his draft picks, he will give his younger players time to mature. He won’t tinker. Or I hope that’s what he means, because my second choice explanation is that Wilson has cracked up.

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