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Will Jumbo Joe Thornton finally get a shot at the Stanley Cup? Maybe, but it won't be easy.
An asterisk might as well accompany any success that San Jose incurs throughout the course of the regular season. Winning streak, asterisk. Dominant victory, asterisk. Division championship, asterisk. At the footnote, that asterisk will be defined as, “So what? They’ll still choke come playoffs.”
The Sharks have more than proved their mettle in the regular season, winning the Pacific Division five of the last nine seasons, including one Presidents' Trophy for the league’s best record.
Over the course of those nine seasons, the Sharks played a whopping 107 playoff games (ranking second only to the Detroit Red Wings during that span), and still have yet to play in a single Stanley Cup Final. In fact, San Jose is a lowly 3-12 in their three Western Conference Final appearances and continues to be haunted by the “playoff choker” moniker.
It’s gotten so bad for San Jose that there is literally nothing that the Sharks can accomplish in the regular season that will have people believing in a different playoff fate.
A Stanley Cup Final appearance should be enough to rid San Jose of the playoff-failure stigma, but given the strength in the Western Conference and Pacific Division, that won’t be easy.