Sunday, October 29, 2006

Michalek promoted

The suspense wasn't whether the Sharks would unveil new lines at practice Saturday. It was a matter of how extensive the revamping would be.

It turned out that all four lines had a different look as the Sharks prepared for today's match against the Tampa Bay Lightning. ...

Milan Michalek, who had been skating as the left wing with Patrick Marleau and Steve Bernier, will switch spots with Mark Bell. Michalek worked with Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo at practice.
So much for Mark Bell's candidacy as the breakout player of the year (with my apologies to all of those who drafted him for 80 points in your pools).

To be fair, this swap comes as much as a result of Michalek's strong play as Bell's deficiencies, as the young Czech has emerged as one of the real surprises of the 2006-07 season so far. Michalek leads the Sharks in goal scoring with seven in 11 games, and is second to only Joe Thornton in points with 12.

It's all the more impressive given that he's just 21 years old, and the fact he missed most of two seasons, from 2003 to 2005, with knee injuries. Here's hoping he's put those behind him because this kid's quickly turning into one of the new NHL's young phenoms.


At 10:37 p.m., October 29, 2006, Anonymous pete said...

my apologies to all of those who drafted [Bell] for 80 points in your pools...

But party on for those of us who drafted Michalek, for much cheaper, for 80 points in our pools...


*air-humping gesture*


At 2:41 p.m., October 30, 2006, Blogger PJ Swenson said...

He definitely has changed his game since last season. Michalek was a speedy power forward, but more of pass-first around the net.

This year Milan has been taking it to the hole, and even running over a few people in the process. He still has a sick move where he can stop on a dime and create about 5-8 feet while a defenseman recovers.

Don't throw Bell on your garbage pile yet. Patrick Marleau was one of the major reasons Michalek and Bernier were able to suceed so early in their careers. Marleau could dig the puck out of the corners, blow by defenseman on the rush, he can dish the puck, play the point on the PP, or create room in front of the crease. Last year he did whatever was needed for the team to do well, and he did not receive a lot of notice around the league because of Cheechoo and Thornton with the scoring titles, and he was even overshadowed on his own line somewhat by Michalek and Bernier.

With Bell and Bernier on the wings and Marleau in the middle, that will still be a tough line for opponents to shut down.


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