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Olympic Flame-Out
The Wheels on the Bus have Fallen Off
3/22/10 - By Paul Krill

All of us, I'm sure, enjoyed the Olympics tournament, even if our guys on Team USA came up an OT goal short in the gold medal game against Team Canada. At least we got to see the silver and gold medals won by Sharks players on display at Sharks games post-Olympics.

But we all had to be keeping our fingers crossed that the Sharks would pick up the pace, or at least keep winning regularly, after the Olympics. Unfortunately, this has not happened.

The shellings both our goalies took in the Olympics have carried on into the regular season. And players such as Joe Thornton have had their mishaps, too. As of this writing, the Sharks are enduring a six-game losing streak, including five consecutive regulation losses on the road, featuring an 8-2 demolition at the hands of the Stars and a total flop against the league's worst team, Edmonton, who whipped the Sharks 5-1 with a goalie who has played only a handful of NHL games.

It's tough to win, however, when you're already in a 2-0 hole halfway through first period night after night despite out-shooting the other team. Now, Phoenix has passed the Sharks for the division lead.

(FWIW, I took my entire family to the Panthers game, figuring we'd all get free pizzas out of it with our Sharks tickets. When the team was up 2-0 after the first period, that proposition seemed like a done deal, given the four-goal requirement for the pizza promotion. Nope. Didn't happen. My young daughter, at her first-ever Sharks game, decided she wanted to go home after the first period. So my wife took her home. Turns out she didn't miss a thing as far as Sharks highlights go.)

We have to wonder now if the wheels again have fallen off right before the playoffs as they did last season, when the team endured the inglorious distinction of having the best regular season record only to lose in the first round to the eighth-seeded Ducks. And that series didn't even go seven games.

At this point, we all must be asking ourselves, "Not again?"

If this team doesn't get solid goaltending and players keep making mistakes, we'll all be saving lots of money on playoff tickets again this year, since the Sharks will be done by the end of April. It's all out of our hands, though.

Can the Sharks shake their reputation as Regular Season Heroes/Playoff Zeroes? At this writing, it doesn't look too good.

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