September 10, 2009
Hey, San Jose Sharks fans: It's time to get your chomp on! The Sharks are headed back to the ice and feature such notable players as Joe Thornton(notes), Dan Boyle(notes), Rob Blake(notes), Devin Setoguchi(notes), Joe Pavelski(notes), Ryane Clowe(notes) and ... uh ... and ...
Who's that one guy, with the eyebrows and the latent captaincy? And that other guy, who plays the most important position on the team and wears a cool mask?
Oh, right: Patrick Marleau(notes) and Evgeni Nabokov(notes). Forgot about them. Then again, so did the San Jose Sharks in their promotional materials sent to season-ticket holders, as those two (and Jonathan Cheechoo(notes) as well) could be found after the players listed above, under the nebulous label "and all the rest."
You know, like they used to refer to the Professor and Mary-Ann when "Gilligan's Island" debuted? Poor girl; always a Mary-Ann, never a Ginger.
Normally, a few names missing from a season-ticket letter wouldn't pique any interest; unless those names are prominent unrestricted free agents next offseason and, in Marleau's case, have been traded in the media this summer only slightly fewer times than Dany Heatley(notes). (Hey, imagine if Patty and Dany end up in the same trade?) If those guys are missing from promotional materials for the upcoming season, fans are going to notice.
Coming up, check out the letter from the Sharks, the response we received from the team and some theorizing from Sharks blogger Mike Chen about why Ryane Clowe merits more promotion than Patrick Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov.
First up, the Sharks' season-ticket letter:
A San Jose fan informed us today that "Thornton, Vlasic, Boyle, Pavelski, Mitchell, Murray, Setoguchi and Shelley are pictured on tickets for 2009-10 games," which again means no Marleau or Nabokov.
We asked Scott Emmert, director of media relations for the Sharks, about the snubs and he encourages fans "not read into them." He said that just because a particular player isn't listed doesn't mean they aren't going to be featured in another promotional venture for the season. One look at the online season-ticket info page reinforces that: Marleau and Nabokov are still among the players pictured.
Blogger Mike Chen noticed the absences in the mailing and offered a few theories on Battle of California, and felt this was the most logical answer:
The marketing department had to finalize the details of their campaign early in the summer. They probably asked the hockey ops folks who they should feature, and their answer was the safe folks: the guaranteed-to-be-here stars (Boyle, Thornton), the build-around-them young guys (Pavelski, Vlasic, Mitchell, Setoguchi), and the he's-cheap-and-no-one-would-want-him tough guy (Shelley).
Just not the former captain and second-leading scorer. Or the Vezina-caliber goaltender. Perhaps they weren't so safe?