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Sharks' season ends in familiar spot
5/29/13 - By Paul Krill -

The San Jose Sharks have a reputation for choking in the playoffs. But that's only partially true. Actually, the Sharks have had a lot of playoff success - in the first round. The team has won 11 times in the opening round since joining the league in 1991. But it's after that round where the success ends. The Sharks are a whole 3-8 in second-round series.

And those three times that they did advance to the conference finals have led to an abysmal 3-12 record in games and 0-3 in third-round series. Ouch. The fourth and final round? It's still just a dream for the Sharks and their fans. Even in this abbreviated season with delayed playoffs, we still won't get to see a Sharks game in June.

And so this season again ends in the second round. The Sharks' making the playoffs nine years in a row and sweeping the better-seeded Vancouver Canucks in the first round don't mean a thing now. It'll be another year of hearing about the underachieving Sharks. Players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau only have a short time left to achieve a Stanley Cup title. And nobody can be confident that it is going to happen, especially not here.

Right now, Sharks fans are like kids on Christmas night. All the anticipation and excitement have come and gone and now it's all over. We'll have to wait another full year to maybe get something better. I kind of knew the Sharks were not going to advance once they went down zero games to two in the second round. Winning four out of five games was just not likely to happen. It didn't.

Now, it'll be another summer with no hockey, then the usual Sharks pre-season autograph signings, I suppose, and paying for full-priced exhibition games. Then, it's another 82-game season before we see if the Sharks can make another playoff run next spring. It's a long way off.

During the Sharks' stint at the Cow Palace, coach George Kingston told a gathering of fans that the team was "building." Twenty years or so later, the building continues. The Sharks have become San Jose's modern-day version of the Winchester Mystery House: Always building, never finished.

Some of us have been fans for the entire existence of the franchise. Others were born later and are young Sharks fans. For both young and old, the experience is the same: Unfulfilled promise and watching other teams waltz off to the Big Dance in - the Stanley Cup Finals - while the Sharks never get there. This is our lot, I suppose. Maybe some day it might actually change.

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