Instead of getting closer to Lord Stanley's Cup, the San Jose Sharks are losing ground each season under Todd McLellan.
In 2009 they had their best chance, finishing the regular season with the best record in the NHL. They lost in the first round in six games to the Anaheim Ducks, and the series was not even as close as that would seem.
In 2010, they finished with the best record in the Western Conference. They got through the first round in six games and knifed through the two-time defending conference champion Detroit Red Wings in five.
Then they were swept by the Chicago Blackhawks, who went on to win the Stanley Cup. They were in all four games, no more than a goal down in the third period, but were done in by the Hawks' superior play in front of and in net.
Last season, the Sharks finished second in the West. They needed six games in the first round again, but seven to get past the Wings in the second. They did win a game in the conference finals, but were not competitive in two of their four losses.
This season, they may not even win the Pacific Division. In fact, they are two games away from missing the playoffs altogether. At best, they will finish third in the conference and could be considered its fourth-best team.
McLellan talks about the process, but I always assumed that the team was supposed to progress, not regress.