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Playoff pondering
Some bright spots amid the setbacks
5/8/07 - By Steve Flores

Another season comes and another season the San Jose Sharks bow out in the second round. It's becoming a bit of a tradition in San Jose. It's a tradition that the team, the players and the fans would rather not cling to.

Newspaper articles and talk radio will ponder the reasons for the Sharks annual demise over the next few weeks. I will not do that today. It is best to wait until the smoke clears before calculating the why's and wherefores of this season's failures.

The bloggers are readily laying all of this at the feet of Captain Patrick Marleau and head Coach Ron Wilson. Reading all of the internet hatred gives one a better understanding of just how the ancient Roman habit of feeding Christians to lions became so popular.

Marleau had a sub-par series. This is, perhaps, an understatement. But, remember folks Marleau has traditionally been the Sharks best playoff performer.

In this 'what have you done for me lately' society all past deeds are quickly forgotten by the masses. Relax and think about who it is that you want eliminated from the roster. Please think things through more thoroughly before ripping guys on the net.

The Sharks were handed their rears on a big silver tray. The Detroit Red Wings wanted it more - it's that simple. The shame in it is for the Sharks to deal with certain inalienable facts. The Sharks are bigger than the Wings; they are faster on the whole and probably have more skill with younger and probably slightly better goaltending at this point in time. Yet, the Wings overcame all of this and earned their way into the Western Conference Final. Kudos to the boys of Octopi!

The Sharks are still very young. I know many folks don't like to accept or think about this fact but it is the fact of the matter.

There were some pretty poor decisions made on the defensive end during both playoff series and those were mostly due to youth.

In goal Evgeni Nabokov played wonderfully for most of the playoffs and he, at times, kept the Sharks in games all by himself in the defensive end.

A special word must be said about big Joe Thornton. Thornton has been maligned by media for years as a playoff underachiever. Let me tell you I saw the exact opposite of this in his 2007 playoff performances. Thornton was seemingly every where at all times. He played rugged D; he constantly tried to make things happen in the offensive zone, was banging all over the ice and did his utmost best to will his team to victory.

He, unfortunately, needs some able assistance in this regard and not too many fellows were on the same page with the big guy. But let it be said that anyone who claims Thornton had yet another poor playoff is either ignorant, didn't watch him play or is simply a hater. The guy is top notch and above reproach.

A word to G.M. Doug Wilson - Please sign Scott Hannan. To let Hannan go would be a huge mistake. The guy plays hard every night and shoulders as much or more of the Sharks defensive load as anyone. Word is Hannan would command $3.5 million per year. Give it to him. He is worth every penny, and yes I have the right to say it as I give the team a lot of my owe money each and every season.

Bill Guerin is probably gone as are probably a few others; let's just make sure that Hannan isn't on a plane with any of them.

The next few days and weeks will be tough for Sharks fans, but that's ok. Sharks fans will be stronger, wiser and more mature come the 2007-08 campaign. Keep your chins up guys and dolls as next year's version of the Sharks will be dressed in new threads and will be ready to once again attempt to bring Lord Stanley's Cup to the South Bay.


Contact Steve at stevybo@yahoo.com




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