There are plenty of positives to take away from the San Jose Sharks' 2011-12 season.
Logan Couture avoided a sophomore slump in a big way. Joe Pavelski had a career year. Joe Thornton was dominant once again. The team was the Western Conference's best during the first half of the season, and they made the playoffs for the 15th time in 21 seasons.
There are franchises and fanbases that can only dream about having three 30-goal scorers or getting to watch Joe Thornton create goals 59 times. Making the playoffs is a fantasy for some teams, let alone doing it year in and year out.
The Sharks franchise and fanbase, of course, are not among these "dreamers." People in and around this organization have come to expect more from this team, and rightfully so.
After all, expecting more is the only way to achieve more.
For the Sharks, achieving more and meeting expectations means nothing less than bringing San Jose its first Stanley Cup. So for all of the positives that could be taken away from the 2011-12 Sharks season, only negative feelings are truly present inside anyone who cares about this team.
Disappointment. Dissatisfaction. Anxiety. Anger.
The Sharks finished with the fewest wins, points and playoff wins since the lockout, and one can be assured that there will be backlash. The summer of 2012 will be one of change in San Jose.
What remains to be seen is just how drastic the changes are. Before Sharks' fans and front-office personnel crucify various scapegoats and demand that the team be "blown up," it's important to take a deep breadth, a step back and re-evaluate the situation.
Because for every Sharks fan that is jealous of this year's eventual Stanley Cup winner, there is a Toronto Maple Leafs fan jealous of the Sharks.