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Bad banner logic
Hollow accomplishment doesn't inspire
10/14/09 - By Mike Lee

If you were at HP Pavilion for the regular season opener last week, the experienced all the typical pomp and circumstance associated with an opening night. Street fair, balloons, pre-game video extravaganza, etc. etc. etc. were all wrapped up into the evening's festivities. Mixed into all the glitz was a painful unveiling. An unveiling that felt more like a scab being torn off an unhealed wound, than a celebration.

During the traditional pre-game video, meant to stir the crowd into a frenzy, the team slipped in the unveiling of three new banners which hang from the rafters. Joining the three Pacific Division Champions banners, was a similar banner for last season's division championship, a President's Trophy banner, and a "Western Conference Regular Season Champions" banner.

The regular season champion's banner is peculiar, given that a President's Trophy is awarded to the team with the best regular season record. Therefore the best regular season record automatically means that a team would be the regular season conference champion.

I suppose that by default, that also means that the same team would qualify as the division champion, so even that banner is a bit superfluous.

If you're going to all that trouble, why not thrown in tiny banners for each regular season win?

I get the fact that teams, especially young teams, want to establish some history and everyone loves banners, but these aren't just recognition of team accomplishments.

Those banners also callout the colossal failure of this franchise last season. If the Stanley Cup is the only thing that matters, as you will hear team officials often proclaim, then hanging reminders of your failures in triplicate doesn't make a lot of sense.

If winning the grand prize is what it's all about, winning the President's Trophy followed by a first round exit isn't something you memorialize. It's something you bury. Yet, the shroud of Thornton is there for all of us to commiserate with. Glaring reminders of the season that seemed primed for success.

And yes, the Detroit Red Wings have the same banners hanging at Joe Louis Arena for a similar accomplishment, but the only thing the Sharks need to mimic Detroit in is their Stanley Cup success. Hanging banners isn't going to get you any closer to that goal.

If the Sharks think any particular should hang as motivation for those that participated in last season's meltdown, then yank it from the rafters and hang it in the locker room. Let it serve as a not so subtle reminder of what the real prize is.

If it doesn't serve as motivation, then it's a hollow representation of a hollow accomplishment anyway. Don't rub it in the faces of those who paid to go through it. Rub it in the faces of those who have yet to pay enough.


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