Friday, May 15, 2009

Recapping the State of The Sharks

The best recap is the video of the event itself. You can find it here. If you have 3 hours to kill, watch it all. If not, the players are present for the first 90 minutes. Just watch those parts.

For those who are unfamiliar with this event, State of the Sharks is a yearly event that follows the team's exit from the post season. It usually comes a few weeks after the exit, allowing for both players and fans to have cooler heads. It's relatively new, started a few years ago to address fan's concerns about the team. And by fans I mean "season ticket holders." Single game and ten pack holders as show up. It usually draws several thousand people, which should tell you something about the passion this town has for its team.

It's a good idea and pretty damn good PR for the organization. Jamison & DW will stay late into the evening to make sure all questions are answered. How many other teams can say that? This year, coach Todd also stayed late to finished answering questions. He and DW put a few people in their place.

This year's attendees were Sharks CEO and Pres. Greg Jamison, EVP and GM Doug Wilson, Coach Todd, Mike Ricci, Patty Marleau, Joe Thornton, Danny Boyle and JOE PA! Randy Hahn emceed.


First, I was sad no one asked JOEPA a question. He was punted some to answer, but come on! Ask him something!

Secondly, I noticed no one had the cojones to ask Marleau HIMSELF about the C. All those questions came after he'd left, and Ricci had joined the group. Here was the perfect chance for all the naysayers to hear directly from the players about Patty's leadership, and no one asked them.

Thirdly, DW amazes me. He can look completely detached and cool under and sort of stress. I don't know how he does it.

Questions and Answers:

There was a question about emotional leadership, which got all the players looking at each other. You could tell they were trying to figure out who would answer the question, but their silence may everyone laugh nervously and cause the woman behind us to exclaim "There's your problem!" I don't doubt that the team has various emotional leaders, as they later explained, but I also don't think any of those guys had any desire to name names. They were in front of a firing squad. A surprising well behaved one, but a firing squad nonetheless.

Why would you come to this thing drunk? A few people always do. I think a few of the folks might have been high as well. (WHERE DO THEY FIND THESE PEOPLE?!)

McLellan put plane guy in his place. I swear the guy shrunk a few sizes by the time McLellan was done. Maybe next year he won't ask about the plane AGAIN.

Plane guy was one of a very small group of questioners to be heckled by the crowd. He comes every year, lists various complaints about the team plane and either suggests new planes, or in this case, sort of asks for a job. I think Jamison yelled at him last year, IIRC. While I applaud his tenacity, it's time to let it go.

Ricci had some GREAT points on leadership in hour three. Listen to him if you can. He didn't see a point in trying to emulate other teams. As he said, "there's no leadership handbook." he even mentioned how Sakic and Lindstrom are quiet leaders. All types exists and each team needs to find what's right for them. Great stuff.

Many versions of the same questions were asked: what would you change, leadership drama rama, how can you improve for next season...many of which were preceded by life stories from the person asking the question. That got old fast.

The first few versions of these questions did yield some good info, but after that it was like the record was skipping.

I love anecdotes, and I use them with way too high a frequency, but this was neither the time or the place for long ones. If you say you attended your first Sharks game at 2 weeks old, it's implied you're a life long fan so you don't need to spend several more minutes explaining that fact to everyone.

There were moments of levity that provided everyone with a much needed break. Be it the players and coach joking around or the little kids getting nervous and forgetting questions, it was nice to see the evening didn't get to bogged down.

As expected, there were no big player announcements, and no word on trades, that may or may not occur during the summer months.

Someone did ask about JR returning and DW basically said he was leaving it up to JR. There were some comments about heart v ability and energy level that made me a tad worried. We'll see what happens on that front in a few weeks.


Sarah said...

(WHERE DO THEY FIND THESE PEOPLE?!)I would love to go to more events with the team or individual players, but the few times I have, I've had this exact thought.

Is it a hockey fan thing? And does that mean I'm that weird? Y'all don't seem to be, so maybe I'm not either. But yeah, in general, these things are just uncomfortably weird...

Gray said...

No, it's not you and it's not just hockey. I've heard some really creepy baseball fan stories.