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And then there were 8: Sharks eliminated

May 1, 2014, 12:59 AM EDT

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Five Getty Images

What can be said about the San Jose Sharks’ first round exit that hasn’t already been uttered – and harshly – already? Fair or not, losing in seven games after building a 3-0 series lead against the Los Angeles Kings seems like something that only happens to the Sharks (even if three other teams in modern NHL history have suffered that fate).

For many, wrapping this up is a matter of throwing down a typically harsh comparison – money’s on Tony Romo coming up – but let’s take a step back and look at the Sharks’ 2013-14 season and ahead to 2014-15.

  • The immediate and obvious question is if Todd McLellan will be handed his walking papers. Despite all the Sharks head coach’s successes with the team – including consecutive trips to the Western Conference finals – San Jose still hasn’t been able to “get over the hump.”
  • One obvious reason why McLellan might go is that two players who often get the blame in San Jose (Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau) were already locked up to contract extensions during the regular season. Sure, there’s always the chance that one or more of those veteran forwards will want out of the Bay Area, but this is a situation in which the saying “It’s easier to fire the coach than fire the team” is especially true.
  • Much of the team’s core is locked up to (in many cases very cap-friendly) deals beyond Thornton and Marleau.
  • It’s easy to ignore how strong a season San Jose enjoyed in a time like this. The Sharks had their best season since they generated 113 points in 2009-10, as they managed 51 points in 111 standings points in finishing second in the Pacific Division behind the Anaheim Ducks.
  • Even with a raise from $4 to $6 million per year, Joe Pavelski‘s deal looks pretty sweet after his breakout 41-goal season. Logan Couture costs the same amount and seems capable of being a regular All-Star player.
  • It all plays into the future seeming pretty bright for the Sharks, if they can get over the present. Tomas Hertl is another fine example, as he seemed primed to be a serious Calder Trophy candidate before his serious injury after colliding with Kings forward Dustin Brown.

When you lose like this, people often call for heads. There are likely to be some changes in San Jose, yet when you look at what this team has built, it’s reasonable to see some light at the end of the tunnel, too.

Even if it’s pretty difficult for Sharks fans to think about positive things right now.

  1. gcbean - May 1, 2014 at 1:03 AM

    Good series SJ fans. No words will make you guys feel any better. Anyway, moving on to the Ducks.
    GKG!

  2. titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 1:03 AM

    I want to kill everything right now. But I had such a weird feeling when this series was 3-0 that it was far from over. The Kings just played great defense and didn’t really give the Sharks space to do anything threatening to Quick. When the Sharks did get chances, Quick was on his game. All in all, as much as I hate to say it, good job Kings.

    I seriously hope this team will eventually get so sick and tired of choking that they smash through the playoffs….but that most likely won’t happen. I guess I could always just hope for the best. See you guys next season.

    • itwasafumble - May 1, 2014 at 1:24 AM

      Don’t be that upset. The Sharks gave us all we could handle, we were just the better team this year. I’ve been terrified the entire time, the Sharks are an excellent team, but I am thrilled to have won the series. You guys are mostly built for the long haul, better luck another year.

      • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 1:46 AM

        It was a great series to watch (sometimes), I honestly just would have liked a competitive game 7. I feel like these two teams are both worthy of fighting back against each other, and to not have SJ vs LA not be a fast, exciting game is just weak for everyone IMO. And incredibly frustrating for Sharks fans :P

  3. 950003cups - May 1, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    Losers!!! I hate them right now!!

  4. prd797 - May 1, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    A cherry on top of the sundae of failure that is the SJ Sharks playoff legacy.

    It’s unfortunate, because now we as readers will have to scroll past much more pointless drivel from resident front-runner blomfeld…

  5. sjsharks66 - May 1, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    Despite this painful loss, I love the Sharks. BLEED BLACK AND TEAL!!

    • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 1:10 AM

      Yeah this was the most disgusting thing I’ve watched in I don’t even remember how long. Absolutely pathetic to play like that at home in game 7. The Sharks out shot the Kings 40-30 but it sure as hell didn’t feel like we were gonna score much.

      Also, I hate the fact that Jumbo said before the game “It will be 1-0 or 2-1″ I don’t think a player should EVER predict a score they’re playing in. Once LA went up 2-1, I felt like the Sharks were probably nervous after thinking the score would be around there.

      • sabatimus - May 1, 2014 at 3:40 AM

        I remember when the Bruins traded Joe to the Sharks, and the new unofficial motto of B’s fans everywhere became “It’s called Ruins”.

        He is seriously one of the most frustrating players in the history of the league. He’s HOF during the regular season, and his performance drops off precipitously in the playoffs. He’s one of the reasons that the Sharks are known as token choke artists.

      • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 5:34 AM

        Oh trust me, I know. That’s why I feel stupid every year for believing that “this will be the year”. You would think with the talent Jumbo has, and the talent he has surrounding him, the team would be able to make a strong push for the cup.

        WRONG.

    • rocoop - May 1, 2014 at 1:11 AM

      Don’t sell yourself short..You never do. You mean BEATDOWN, right?

  6. rocoop - May 1, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    Hey Shark fans..Your team is finally in the record books!! My god..EPIC FAIL

    • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 1:17 AM

      And who is your team again? Because unless your a kings fan, I don’t think you should be so excited. If you are a Kings fan, your a pretty damn bad one.

      • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 1:18 AM

        you’re*

  7. barkar942 - May 1, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    Aah, the words of Torts just screamed out loudly in my head.
    “Joe hasn’t won a g*d d*mn*d thing in this league.”
    Still rings true three years later.

    • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 1:12 AM

      Meh, I don’t think anything John Tortorella has to say means much to anyone anymore…

      • stcrowe - May 1, 2014 at 1:25 AM

        Well, he is about to be fired by Vancouver. What would be beautifully ironic is if the Sharks fire McLellan and replace him with Tortorella.

    • psunick - May 1, 2014 at 1:33 AM

      Unlike Thornton, that loudmouth will be out of a job by Friday.

  8. rainmaker1982 - May 1, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    Oh……my…….G——.

  9. nothanksimdriving123 - May 1, 2014 at 1:10 AM

    A great comeback requires a great choke. A great choke requires a great comeback.
    FWIW, the last bunch of losers to drop 4 after winning the first 3, well, the next season, they won the Cup.

    • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 1:13 AM

      Yeahhh but that bunch of losers wear a B on their chest. I don’t think SJ is at that level, but god do I hope you’re right. I’ve seen everyone mentioning Boston’s next year cup win but somehow I find it irrelevant right now, my rage level is past 9000.

    • sanfranbruinsfan - May 1, 2014 at 1:43 AM

      That Boston team was also made possible by trading away Joe Thornton several seasons earlier and building around Patrice Bergeron.

  10. sharksfan754 - May 1, 2014 at 1:13 AM

    I will always be a sharks fan. Not even a historically awful failure will kick me from this team. This team brings me so much joy (usually), and yet always breaks my heart in the playoffs. Sigh. Why guys? Such uninspired hockey during the last 4 games. I’m more depressed than angry. You have to give the kings credit for not quitting and winning on the road but damn this is a much too familiar feeling and sooner than it should’ve happened yet again. So much talent and so little to show for it. It kills me but I will always be loyal.

    • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 1:15 AM

      Completely agree. I said I’m pissed about the loss but I’m more just bummed, really. Can’t believe we could have such high expectations for this team and this is what they give us in game 7, at HOME. What a joke, really. They BETTER win the ******* cup next year! (Hmm, haven’t we heard that one before?)

      • rocoop - May 1, 2014 at 1:23 AM

        Face it, your team lost to a better team.Regardless of how hard you crossed your fingers…BTW, I’m a really bad Kings fan..

      • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 1:44 AM

        Yeah rocoop, your opinion is nothing…look at the top of the page,”itwasafumble” would be what you call a FAN. $hit talkers are nothing, in fact I wouldn’t get so cocky. Take a look at how many big mouth Sharks fans there were just because we were up 3-0. Didn’t turn out so well for us. And to you saying you the Kings were just “the better team”…well, obviously if you just won a 7 game series.,,you are most likely the better team. Congratulations for being able to realize the obvious x D

        And when I say “better”, that has a lot to do with the mentality aspect of the game. The Kings fought adversity and handled it much better than San Jose, but I think San Jose is a “better” team in terms of pure skill. We just need the right mindset. Also don’t forget we were without our best defenseman the last two games.

    • tdaveniii - May 1, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      Very disappointing, obviously. The worst game for me was Game 5 (which, along with Game 2, I attended). They just did not play hard. Sloppy with the puck and lazy. In Games 6 and 7 their effort at least seemed better, although the lack of presence in front of Quick was maddening, as was the inability to enter the L.A. zone, whilst laying down the red carpet for the Kings to enter their zone.

      Even with all that, I can’t call them chokers. It is such an incredibly fine line between defeat and victory in the Cup playoffs. Almost always each team can point to one or two turning points. What if the refs didn’t call the hooking penalty that led to the first L.A. power play? Horrible call and it led to a goal — although the Sharks should have killed that PP. What if the NHL gets the call right on Marleau’s goal? The whole complexion of the game is changed as L.A. cannot just sit back.

      Of course, even with those bad breaks (and I suspect L.A. could point to its own bad breaks in this game), 0 for 6 on the power play is just plain inexcusable. 12 minutes of man up advantage without a goal? A bunch of lazy perimeter passing with no presence in front of the net? Maddening.

      The reality is that only 1 team wins the Cup each year and even if you have the best team, it is a brutal road to get there.

      I’ve had a blast this year rooting for this team, and even with the aging of their top guys, I am optimistic for next year. Nieto, despite his defensive breakdown last night, came to play for the playoffs, and Hertl was pretty special, especially considering that he was coming back from the extended absence.

      Congrats, L.A.

  11. imnotyourbuddyguy - May 1, 2014 at 1:14 AM

    Relocate the Sharks to Cleveland, it will give Columbus a rival and they would fit right in with the sporting history of the city.

    • steeltuff - May 1, 2014 at 2:47 AM

      Columbus has a rival . . . the Penguins.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 1, 2014 at 2:48 AM

        Columbus rivalry will never trump the one the Pens have with the Flyers.

  12. valoisvipers - May 1, 2014 at 1:14 AM

    This was going to be a 7 game series from the get go, the wins just came in a weird order. This was not a choke by the Sharks but well done by the Kings. Carter and Richards now have 2 of these historic comebacks under their belts.

    • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 1:18 AM

      Ehh, I’d say it was pretty much a choke by the Sharks.

      • rocoop - May 1, 2014 at 1:25 AM

        Bad Kings fan here again..Your a dreamer…You got beat up in a game 7…

  13. nothanksimdriving123 - May 1, 2014 at 1:24 AM

    Now, revisiting the PHT wizards and their crystal balls. Here are the Round 1 winners (the guys won nailed it***; and the ones who came closest**). Brough and Yerdon seem to pop up the most.
    Western Conference
    Anaheim vs. Dallas
    Halford: Ducks in 6***

    San Jose vs. Los Angeles
    Yerdon: Kings in 7***

    St. Louis vs. Chicago
    Brough: ‘Hawks in 6***
    Yerdon: ‘Hawks in 6***
    Dadoun: ‘Hawks in 6***

    Colorado vs. Minnesota
    Brough: Wild in 6**

    Eastern Conference
    Boston vs. Detroit
    Tucker: Bruins in 5***

    Montreal vs. Tampa Bay
    Halford: Habs in 5**

    Pittsburgh vs. Columbus
    Halford: Pens in 6***
    Brough: Pens in 6***
    Yerdon: Pens in 6***
    Tucker: Pens in 6***

    New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia
    Brough: Rangers in 7***
    Yerdon: Rangers in 7***

  14. jason9696 - May 1, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    I wanted the Kings to win the series. But I really feel for the Sharks. They’ve been such a good team for so long. But for whatever reason they just can’t get it done in the playoffs.

  15. seitz26 - May 1, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    I’d actually pick the Sharks to win it all next year. They’ve reached the mountaintop of choke. They cannot possibly out choke themselves. They’ve got nowhere to go but all the way to the cup.

    • jason9696 - May 1, 2014 at 2:29 AM

      Boston won the Stanley Cup against Vancouver the year after they choked up a 3 games to 0 lead against Philadelphia. Maybe next year San Jose can do the same thing.

  16. cybernetikghost - May 1, 2014 at 1:38 AM

    I just don’t see how that team that the kings played for the first two games could let this series end like this. The mental toughness of the sharks is….less than impressive.

  17. gsprulz - May 1, 2014 at 2:22 AM

    Been a Sharks fan since the horrific 96 season. You never get use to this kind of heartbreak. I know people are trolling us like crazy but, truth is California hockey is legit. People especially in the east coast teams trolling the sharks be thankful you don’t play in a elite division because you wouldn’t have made it likely 6/7 games with Anaheim or LA unless your Boston.

    • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 3:24 AM

      That’s very true. SJ is expected to win and it’s not like they’re always playing teams that suck. It would be interesting to see if CBJ would have made such a big impact against a D like LA’s.

  18. dboldave - May 1, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    As a Bruins fan, I know how much it sucks to watch a team go up 3-0 and then lose the series. It’s not fun and you have to wonder what is coming next. I really think some big changes will be made in SJ. It’s going to be an interesting offseason.

  19. wishingtonredslur - May 1, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    I hate the Sharks. Not Anaheim Mighty Ducks hate or even Penguins hate but hate nonetheless.

  20. slysipops - May 1, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    all you guys complain about BLOMFELD ,yet he hasn’t shown up to rub your noses in it !

    • blomfeld - May 1, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      IF …

      If you can keep your head when all about you
      Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
      If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
      But make allowance for their doubting too;
      If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
      Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
      Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
      And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

      If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
      If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
      If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
      And treat those two impostors just the same;
      If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
      Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
      Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
      And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

      If you can make one heap of all your winnings
      And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
      And lose, and start again at your beginnings
      And never breathe a word about your loss;
      If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
      To serve your turn long after they are gone,
      And so hold on when there is nothing in you
      Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

      If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
      Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
      If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
      If all men count with you, but none too much;
      If you can fill the unforgiving minute
      With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
      Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
      And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

      be good comrade Slysipops, for we are destined to meet yet again ‘up there’ on the high ground, where heroes are made …

  21. penguins87and71 - May 1, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    I know the Kings are a good team, but cmon Sharks! How do you let a 3-0 lead in the series slip away? All you needed to do was win 1 game.

  22. reinventedworld - May 1, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    I’ve been a ice hockey fan for years and have followed the Sharks. But this time, they’ve lost a fan.
    Perhaps the team needs a complete overhaul, I’m not sure.
    Its not the losing that bothers me it’s the playing without spirit and motivation. I don’t mind cheering for a team even if its losing – if they give it their best shot.

    Sorry Sharks fans, for the love of the game I’m searching for a team with heart.

    Maybe when the fans depart and the money stops – you’ll find your hockey soul!

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