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Sour grapes
This season most disappointing ever
5/9/07 - By Paul Krill

OK, I'm going to be right up front with what you will get with this column. Sour grapes. I am flat-out bitter about how this season ended. This is worse than the second season's 11-71-2 team, because not much was expected from that squad.

But this one was tooled to win the Stanley Cup. All the pieces were in place. And everything seemed to work, including the Mike Grier, Craig Rivet and Curtis Brown acquisitions. Until there were 33 seconds left in Game 4, with the Sharks up by a goal. Then, the Wings scored and I, for one, knew there was no chance of the Sharks winning in OT after that.

They went on to score a grand total of one goal in the next two games before it was time to clean out the lockers.

So, it appears the Sharks did everything right and still didn't get one step further than last year. Perhaps it is time for a new mascot that more accurately reflects the lot in life of this franchise. Don't get me wrong - SJ Sharky is the greatest. But I was thinking of Dick Dastardly, a cartoon character in the 1960's TV series, "The Wacky Races."

If I recall correctly and it's been a long time, obviously, Dastardly would try all sorts of tricks to try to win the race. But each week, he would lose. (We'll forget for a minute that Dastardly was cast as the villain of the series. I don't see the Sharks as villains, just as hapless when May rolls around.)

It will be interesting to hear what the Sharks brass tells us at the annual season ticket holder "summit" meeting. It's not like they didn't already do what needed to be done after last season, shoring up the penalty kill, getting tougher and tightening up the defense.

Still, the results were exactly the same: Goodbye after game six of the second round.

I am looking for optimism here but simply can't find any. The Sharks gave up two first-round picks to make a run at the Cup and it didn't do any good. Now, I fear things will only get even worse. What I mean by that is Anaheim, where there probably shouldn't even be an NHL franchise, stands a good chance to become California's first Stanley Cup winner. (Sorry, there was and is no need for two NHL franchises in the Los Angeles area.)

Meanwhile, Sharks fans still wonder what it must be like to attend a Stanley Cup Finals game. Only one franchise older than the Sharks, the Phoenix Coyotes (formerly Winnipeg) has never been to the Cup Finals. Several younger franchises (Anaheim, Florida, Tampa Bay) already have been there. Ottawa may join that bunch in two weeks.

Maybe some day, the Sharks will squeak into the eighth spot of the playoffs with a superstar-less squad that overachieves and goes on to bring home the Stanley Cup.

You never know.

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