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All is not lost
Season was not a failure
5/28/10 - By Paul Krill -

OK, so it wasn't the season we wanted. But with the expectations so high (Stanley Cup or bust), we were bound to be disappointed by anything short of that. The Sharks did, however, get to the league's Final Four and did have some playoff success, winning two of three playoff rounds.

Yes, the team did not win the title, but only one team out of 30 does. Still, it stings that the Sharks remain one of the few teams to never get to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Sharks are the second-oldest franchise never to make it, exceeded in years only by Winnipeg/Phoenix.

The others are expansion teams that joined the league more recently than the Sharks. Once again, we go through the euphoria of early-round Sharks playoff victories only to be back watching "Dr. Phil" a few weeks later because the Sharks aren't playing anymore.

Can't help but think the Sharks are just in the wrong conference.

Now, for some other observations:

  • The team that whipped the Sharks in the Conference Finals, the Blackhawks, finished poorly enough in 2007 to the get the top pick of the draft (Patrick Kane). Now, they have breezed right by the Sharks, who are forever stuck in playoff limbo and unable to run away from the pack.

  • The interesting phenomena in which no team has ever beaten the Sharks in an earlier round enroute to the Cup championship looks to be in serious jeopardy in coming weeks.

  • Anybody else notice a pattern here? Sharks fans made Ed Belfour their pet whipping boy some years ago and he went on to win a Stanley Cup. The same thing then happened with Chris Pronger. Now, the Sharks fans' latest villain, Brian Campbell, moves on to the Stanley Cup Finals, where his team will be heavily favored. Prior to all this, original pet whipping boy Theo Fleury already had won a title before the Sharks' first season. Sounds like it's a good gig to be the Sharks fans' pet whipping boy.

  • Looks like the clock struck midnight for Cinderella Joe Pavelski late in the Red Wings series, when the avalanche of goals from him stopped.

  • It's been fun to have Evgeni Nabokov on board. I remember the first goal he ever gave up - a puck thrown back in his direction while he was skating toward the bench so the power play-bound Sharks could have an extra skater. And he's the only Sharks goalie to ever score a goal. But the bottom line is he keeps getting outplayed by nobodies in the playoffs. It's probably time for him to move on unless he wants to take a dramatic salary cut.

  • The other big UFA for the Sharks is Patrick Marleau. It would be a shame for him to celebrate his 1,000th NHL game next season in a another uniform. Let's bring him back, Sharks.


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