Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Irwin (52) celebrates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, March 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SAN JOSE – George Barata attended Patrick Marleau’s number retirement ceremony at SAP Center last weekend, and it was a reminder of the San Jose Sharks’ glory days: lots of familiar players on hand from standout teams, and another packed house at the downtown arena.

Those glory days seem like a distant memory.

Some star players have been traded away, the Sharks are among the worst teams in the NHL, and on several nights, crowds appear to be a fraction of what they once were.

With some uncertainty as to when things will improve under a new front office and coaching staff, it’s not easy to be a Sharks fan right now.

“Fans just have to be patient,” Barata, 69, said Saturday before the Sharks were blown out 8-3 by the Washington Capitals. “I mean, it’s been ugly. It’s going to get uglier.”

“It’s going to be probably a few more years before (the Sharks) build it up,” said Caroline Chavez, 76, of San Jose. “They made so many bad contracts, so now they’re kind of paying for it.”

The Sharks are a week removed from trading leading goal-scorer Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils, and eight months removed from dealing Brent Burns, the 2017 Norris Trophy winner, to the Carolina Hurricanes. Sharks fans are still getting to know some of the faces on this year’s team, as eight of the 20 players who dressed Saturday weren’t with the club last season.

“I think there’s potential,” said Dave McCready, 82, of San Jose. “I’m not sure that giving away your scorers, which they seem to do, is the right way to go. But there’s also the young kids that they just brought up.”

Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Irwin (52) celebrates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, March 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) 

Forward William Eklund, the top prospect in the Sharks organization, was recalled from the AHL on Friday and made his season debut in the NHL Saturday. Going forward, Eklund could be part of a talented young nucleus that includes forwards Thomas Bordeleau and Filip Bystedt, and defensemen Shakir Mukhamadullin, Nikita Okhotyuk, and Mattias Havelid — all players age 22 or younger.

Still, more than one Sharks fan who spoke with this news organization Saturday said they wouldn’t mind seeing the team take on more of a rough-and-tumble personality.

“We need to get …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

      

When will good times return for Sharks? Not anytime soon, some fans say: “It’s going to get uglier”

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