Jeez, some fans just have to find something wrong with everything, don't they? It doesn't matter that the Sharks are winning or that Milan Michalek is looking like a stud or that the goalie platoon thing is working. Around the Shark Tank and on message boards, there's this underlying buzz of "What's happened to Jonathon Cheechoo and how do we get rid of him?"
Please, people. Calm the fuck down. Seriously.
Yes, Cheechoo only has five goals. Yes, Cheechoo has been pretty darn ineffective this season. Yes, Cheechoo is off the Thornton line, and boy, doesn't Mike Grier look good right now?
Look, when you win the Rocket Richard with 56 goals, people expect you to come back and score, like, 231 goals the next season when in fact, most goal leaders have a bit of a slump the next season. This usually means a drop of about 10-15 goals.
Does this mean the players have become crappy over the offseason? No, but it means that defenses are keying in on them a hell of a lot more.
I've always thought that Cheechoo is a pretty good, but not great player, and that's not a knock on him. He's got a dynamic shot and is scrappy, but he can't create offense by himself the way a Jaromir Jagr or Eric Staal do, and that's fine. Put him with a playmaker and he becomes a gold mine. With an average center, he's probably a 25-35 goal guy and there's nothing wrong with that. But because he can't generate offense purely by himself a la Jagr, when defenses key in on him and his centerman more, he loses a little bit of his spark. Cheech is scrappy enough and hard working enough that he'll get it back after he adjusts a little bit (I like Ron Wilson's idea of putting him on a line that cycles a little more with Marcel Goc just to try and get him skating a little bit more).
So don't jump off the Cheechoo bandwagon yet. He's still shooting the puck even though it's not going in as much. He's still fighting through checks. And he's got the drive to get back in the groove, he's just got to adjust to the newfound attention defenses are giving him.