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That's how the story ends
Sharks simply lost to a better team
6/13/16 - By Paul Krill -

We've all heard this expression 1,000 times: So close, yet so far.

This season, we saw a rebirth of our Sharks, After disappointing ends to the past two seasons, the Sharks came within two games of the Ultimate Prize: The Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, after dominating through the first three rounds of playoffs and finally, at long last, getting to the championship round, the Sharks were like Rocky Balboa facing off against Apollo Creed in the first "Rocky" movie. It became apparent quickly that the Sharks were outmatched and they'd have to will their way to competitiveness in this series.

Without tremendous performances from goaltender Martin Jones, the series would not have been as close as it was. Star Shark performers, Joe Pavelski in particular, were stymied by the Penguins, who waltzed off to their fourth Stanley Cup while we here in Shark Land will try again in October to get into position for our first championship. Oh well. That's the way it is.

For me, there is not much left to do but savor the victories we had and shrug shoulders at the final two victories we didn't get. When given a chance for a photo with the Clarence Campbell Bowl, I accepted that offer, rather than holding out for the Stanley Cup that we ended up not getting. And it will be fun to see a "Western Conference Champions" banner hanging from the rafters next season.

The Sharks' resurgence this past season led to a rebirth in my own affection for the sport. You see, for a good portion of the season, I was losing interest, dealing with the declining health of my 15-year-old Maltese dog, Owen, and his eventual passing. (You can take a wild guess as to who my little guy was named after - somebody who wore number 11 for the Sharks.) Also, I spent the better part of a year dealing with a health issue that made it difficult for me to ascend to my seats at the arena.

But this all cleared up in time for the playoffs. And while I was disappointed with the final result, I did enjoy finally, at long last, getting to attend Stanley Cup Final games. That and participating in the time-honored tradition of booing Gary Bettman as he presented the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Stanley Cup to the other team. I'd never seen a team win a major sports championship before, not in person anyway. Too bad it was the wrong team. I was glad the Sharks won Game 5 and forced the Penguins to fly all the way back out here, something Pittsburgh certainly did not want.

Now, we will enjoy an unusually short off-season and wonder what happens next year. Who stays? Who goes? Do Nikolay Goldobin and Timo Meier crack the lineup? Will Patrick Marleau be back? I sure hope so. All these questions remain unanswered. These and the big question of how far can the 2016-17 Sharks go? It's going to be tough for next year's edition to outdo the memories of this year's team and the special season just completed.

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