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Tough to Stay Optimistic about this Bunch
1/12/15 - By Paul Krill -

Usually, when writing about the Sharks, I take a negative tone. That's understandable, given the team's two-decades-long inability to get over the hump and deliver a championship, either of the Stanley Cup variety or even a conference title, to San Jose. But last month, I departed from my usual dreary tone and wrote a feel-good piece about the Sharks' catchy Christmas video and how the team had moved on from last season's early playoff exit.

These days, however, it's tough to maintain optimism. Not when the team is showing it does not belong on the same ice with the Saint Louis Blues, keeps losing at home and has long stretches where it seems like the team couldn't score if it were shooting marbles into a soccer net.

The season is certainly showing signs of what we have feared: That this edition of the Sharks is not as good as previous Sharks teams and we might even miss the playoffs. The only Sharks wins in the past week or so have come from last-second goals from defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic; this team just does not dominate anyone lately.

What is making all this a bit infuriating, for hockey fans who notice, is that the Bay Area's NBA team, the Golden State Warriors, is taking no prisoners in stampeding to that league's best record. A championship title for that team, its first in 40 years, certainly seems like a strong possibility.

Meanwhile, we see our Sharks on the decline; the Sharks' came home empty-handed in their best quests for a championship, in recent seasons' past. Not that we don't want to see the Warriors win, but we're left wondering what could have been, should have been, with the Sharks.

The Sharks have a seven-game home stand coming up, which normally would be reason for optimism except that the Sharks have lost their last three home games at this writing. If the losing keeps up and if this team cannot put the puck in the net, we could be seeing the Sharks 10-season streak of qualifying for the playoffs end. (It's depressing to look at the Wikipedia entry on this: Of the six teams with the longest current streaks, only the Sharks, with the second-longest streak, have no Stanley Cups to show for it.)

Time to snap out of this funk, Sharks. Or we might be looking at having to start a new streak in 2016.

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