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Instant Karma's Gonna Get You
Sharks on downward slide after collecting playoff ticket fees early
3/7/12 - By Paul Krill -

Since boldly sending out playoff ticket invoices with two months left in the regular season last month, we have watched the Sharks slide from what looked like another phone-in division title to teetering on the edge of a complete meltdown. As in, it looks very much like they could miss the playoffs altogether, something that hasn't happened in nine years. Something is seriously wrong here.

We have a team with Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Ryane Clowe that is only scoring about one goal or so a game lately. What good is firing dozens of shots on net if so few of them actually go in the net?

These days, everybody beats the Sharks (except Philadelphia). From league bottom feeders like Columbus and Edmonton to league powerhouses like Detroit. Doesn't matter. Pretty much everybody facing the Sharks skates away with two points.

It was bad enough when the Sharks tanked their annual long February road trip, picking up a grand total of five points out of a possible 18. But in returning home, the Sharks have not fared much better, earning just three of a possible eight points and amassing just four goals in four games. Yuck.

Previously, I've compared the Sharks to the late-1970s Houston Oilers: Always good, but never quite good enough to make it to the Big Dance. The Sharks were good enough to make it to the Conference Finals three times in the past decade, but never good enough to actually win the third round and get to the Finals. And now the Sharks could very well be on the cusp of a long, downward slide, with top players getting older and no hot shot prospects waiting in the wings in the AHL or Canadian junior leagues.

Yes, it is still too early to write off the Sharks for this season. But the bewitching hour is getting closer and closer. The regular season is over in just about a month. It's very much a tossup right now whether the post-game festivities on Fan Appreciation Night will feature fans rallying behind the team as it embarks on another playoff run or whether we'll be hearing someone from the Sharks organization apologizing and vowing to get the team back into the playoffs next year.

Yes, these are some stressful times for the Sharks, coaches and fans.

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