Sharks owner Hasso Plattner spoke about his team Friday in San Jose. This is a monumental occasion since the SAP founder hadn’t talked with local media since oh … January of 2013.
And of course, when an owner is available to chat for the first time in forever, he or she gets asked a ton of questions, mostly about topics that have nothing to do with the news conference.
When asked about general manager Doug Wilson, Plattner made sure to note that the Sharks are in a re-something. San Jose missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons this year, and was kind of a mess all season long. He talked a lot, but much sounded like a vote of confidence for Wilson.
“We are very optimistic that we can rebound pretty quickly. But, history has shown that other top teams, well-managed, top ownership, had long periods of the restructuring. Other teams that have four or five first picks are still struggling. It is not easy. It is sport. It is sport.
“We are in this rebuild process. Reset, rebuild. There’s no question. Everybody knows when you look at our players, two top stars are getting older. They are both fit. That’s the good news. They haven’t had any major injury like other players. We hope that they can continue to play at that level, or even beef it up a little bit and lead the young ones we have put in to become a strong team.”
Good to know that Plattner has scoped out Joe Thornton's and Patrick Marleau’s physiques and deemed them athletically sound. Sad part is the 35-year-olds were fit last year when the team could have contended if it wasn’t internally sabotaged by the captaincy debacle of stripping Thornton’s ‘C’ then beating around the bush on the issue all year.
As for the Thornton, Wilson spat where Thornton said his general manager should basically shut up.
"I’m not commenting on who made the bigger mistake, but I think they both realized it and settled it as hockey players. I can tell you or what I know from both that it’s over.”
Will the Sharks be active this summer?
“We will do the best, Doug is sharing with me what is on the market, and the discussions he is having privately, he cannot share with me. He will only do it when there is some progress and some opportunity. In the end, we will talk about financial issues, but it is his job to do these negotiations, find us the players. You know, as everybody knows, we need a defenseman or two, and we need probably a better fourth line. Then we will have a good team again.”
He was also asked about the fact that there was no salary cap when it came to getting a new coach. It wasn’t really a major part of the transcription other than the sheer hilarity of the response.
“Now it starts already. I look deep into your eyes, what do you know?”
Wow, that’s deep. Genius, billionaire, mind reader, philanthropist? Sharks watch for Mike Babcock?
So what did we learn? It’s up to Wilson, who mostly created this mess, to turn it around. Plattner does have a sense of how his investment – the Sharks – actually works internally. It was hard to know for a while because he never really spoke about them publicly.
But again, the Sharks messed up badly this year and management may have closed its contending window.
If Plattner’s job was to allay fans’ fears that the Sharks would improve, that wasn’t the case. But at least we know he can talk about more than technology type stuff.
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