ST. LOUIS – The Sharks don’t make too many national television appearances this season, but Tuesday’s game against the St. Louis Blues was set to be carried on the NBC Sports Network outside of the Bay Area.
That meant hockey analyst extraordinaire Pierre McGuire was in the building. I managed to chase McGuire down in the bowels of the Scottrade Center to ask him his opinion of the Sharks so far, and he was happy to oblige.
Here’s a transcript of what McGuire had to say:
“The Sharks had a lot of guys that played overseas, especially the top end guys like Pavelski, Couture and Thornton. That helped them a lot coming out of the gate. I think conditioning levels for the rest of the league have caught up, so I think that’s an issue right now.
“They’re not scoring now as much as they’d like, and I think that speaks more to the transition game. If you look at the teams that are doing really well right now – Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh – the transition from defense to offense is really quick. I think that’s something San Jose needs to get better at. But, by and large, I think they’ve got the right components on the team to do well. They just have to now get it to the next level.”
Are the Sharks still a legitimate Stanley Cup contender? They’d have a much better chance if they weren’t in the Western Conference, according to Pierre.
“I think they can, but there’s not a lot of room for error. I can tell you Chicago is going to be a bear to play against, and Vancouver is not going anywhere anytime soon, they are really good. Anaheim has been a tremendous story, and I still think L.A. can rebound.
“The problem you have in the West is the caliber of play is so high, and the high-end teams are so good and so deep that I don’t see them having a lot of injury problems. So, I think that’s a bit of a problem [for San Jose]. I still think they have the ability to compete, there’s no question. If there were in the East I’d say they have a better chance to compete, but they’re not.”