Potential is a funny thing. In the sports world, it can hold incredible value. Think about that insanity for a second.
Teams spend boatloads of money and high draft picks on guys with no real proof that they can succeed on the big stage. Fans and writers gush over a team that looks perfect on paper, but hasn't been able to put it all together.
Would this ever work in the real world? Can you imagine a big time stock broker who knows a guy with the ability to successfully wager on sporting events then deciding, "Hey, this guy would make a great broker!"? Not a chance in hell.
So why are things different in the sports world? It's due to an unrealistic hope that success is right around the corner. That's not really healthy.
The San Jose Sharks are a glowing example of potential. They have a dominating offensive player (big Joe Thornton, the game's best passer), a star goaltender (Evgeny Nabokov) and a fast, talented supporting cast.
Historically, they've been great in the regular season and always come out as a sexy pick to make a run to the Finals. Except for their trip to the Conference Finals in 2004, they've failed to reach that potential.
So after acquiring All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell from my beloved Sabres, the Sharks looked like the complete team and became favorites to make it to the Finals.
So naturally, they struggled with the Flames in the first round. Granted, the Flames are no pushover. They're physical and tough, with a solid defense and great goaltending.
But they can't match up with the Sharks. Still, they took the Sharks the distance.
The slate was cleared for Round Two against the Stars, but the Sharks decided it might be better to drop the opening game at home. Familiar times, indeed.
This all brings me to my main point: if the Sharks can't make the Finals with this team, they need to give up. Just give up on life.
Disband the team and start over, because things will never change. Do your poor fans a favor before one of them snaps and pulls a Private Pyle.
That potential thing is tricky. But here's to hope, right?
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