Now that I’ve had some time to recover from the hangover of a 4 OT loss and a truly noble effort by the Sharks, I feel comfortable speaking with a little more objectivity.
But it took some time.
The series was a tough one, and the Sharks managed to recover some of their pride in their push to game six. It was an amazing performance by all accounts—although if they could have mustered a little more patience in those late scoring chances, it might have gone the other way.
If JR would have deked, if Pavelski would have put just a little less heat on the top-shelf shot, if, if, if. They found the heart and desire in the game, but alas ‘twas too late.
We leave the playoffs behind with a few positive qualities in tact—the first is the knowledge that the Sharks can fight for games (they just need to find the fight earlier). Another is that Nabokov can be one of the best goalies in the league, even when he has to face a lot of shots.
Lastly, despite a repeat record of the last two playoff campaigns, fans can still have pride in the team, at least I feel like I can. It wasn’t an outright drubbing.
The realities of the team remaining in tact is yet to be seen. It sounds like most of the forwards will still have their jobs, but defense is in question. The big question mark is, of course, Ron Wilson, a man who gave a huge sigh of relief when he managed to land the job at the helm after last season’s crumble.
The consensus (and team administration logic) says that he is on his way out. I think that is probably true, although you can’t rule out human elements beyond logic—they say that hockey is an emotional sport. I have to say that if he stayed, I wouldn’t be surprised or upset, but maybe a little disappointed. I think a shake-up would be beneficial, at least in the short-term.
Certainly everybody hopes for positive change, but there is also the risk of loss in the coach-swapping equation—we have a solid regular season and shaky post-season leader that could be given up for someone who could do worse on both accounts.
I feel like the law of averages dictates that as a very real possibility. Until the seat is determined, the only sure thing is that there are a lot of hushed conversations around the Sharks’ office.
As for the remainder of the postseason, I don’t foresee too many surprises left. Detroit will likely get another cup, and I find that somewhat disappointing since they were probably the prevalent pick for the big win four months ago. As long as their goaltending can prove more solid than Pittsburgh’s, it should be a go (and Biron is the reason I don’t think Philly has a legitimate shot). An exciting final round, no doubt, but not something I’ll go out of my way to see.
What about that other team, you say? While I like and respect Dallas as a West-Coast Warrior (yeah, I can be big like that) I have given up on underdogs this year.