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All can share the ups and downs
Foundation being forged?
5/15/06 - By Steve Flores

Oh how the end seems near and the taste of bitter not of sweet. Hey that would make Shakespeare spin in his grave, which is exactly where the San Jose Sharks will be if they cannot find the game that got them to this point in the 2006 NHL season. Out hustled, outworked, out driven and outplayed have these Sharks been since the start of game three in Alberta.

Mistakes in the mental game, miscues on offense, and turnovers in the defensive zone have personified the team in the past three Edmonton Oilers victories. The Oilers have been skating and, yes, swarming like, well, like Sharks!

I find it hard to single out names of the culprits in this series after the fine efforts that this very young team has put together to actually achieve all that they have as a group this season, so I won't.

If you have watched the games you have seen where the errors have been made. Errors are errors regardless of cause. Youth is a cause, lack of effort is a cause, and very simply being beaten by an opponent that seems to want it more is a cause of the resulting effect.

The fact that remains despite the forthcoming conclusion of this series is that the Sharks have finally laid the groundwork of talented youth and the right mix of veterans along with solid goaltending that should reap rewards from here on out.

This team has the world's best two-way player in Joe Thornton. Thornton's arrival has led to the fruition of Jonathan Cheechoo as a league-feared sniper.

Captain Patrick Marleau continues to develop into a truly beautiful hockey player. No one in the league skates better or plays harder than the Sharks Captain. In game #5 he played with the heart and desire of a champion and, despite the games lopsided outcome, surely won over the minds of any detractors he may have had prior.

The team is solid in the nets despite a couple of less than stellar contests and the youthful defense and rookie forwards all seem capable of not only staying in the NHL for awhile, but also excelling within it.

It is always more frustrating and more difficult to reach this far into the playoffs and come up short. Many fans showed this when the booing of the Canadian National Anthem started to waft through the arena before game 5. This was classless folks and it doesn't matter what may or may not have happened in Edmonton prior to game 5. I travel to Canada quite frequently and have been present in Vancouver where our American Anthem was butchered by the singer and booed by the minions at GM Place and I thought it was classless then. Two wrongs do not make a right as the cliché says.

We in the Bay Area pride ourselves on being worldlier, more eclectic and more open-minded than the rest of the country and I know that those of us that did not partake of the booing feel badly. I just hope that those that did boo can remember that the bulk of the players on the Sharks are Canadian and that they also were present for the poor display of respect.

Losing is never fun guys and dolls. The Sharks players know it and we know it. The series isn't over just yet but let's just hope that we find a way to win or lose but with dignity either way.

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