For the record, I picked the Sharks to win the Cup last season.
I like the Sharks.
I thought the Blake and Boyle signings were genius as they brought some talent AND championship experience to a Sharks roster severely lacking in the latter.
I thought hiring Todd MacLellan (previously an assistant coach in Detroit) was another brilliant move.
Who better to coach your team than the guy who just won a championship with the team you'd likely have to beat to win yours?
Most of all, the Sharks had spun their season into the ground when it mattered most the past two seasons.
That tendency, surely, was behind them.
But, as has become an annual tradition, the Sharks found a way to drown in the 2009 playoffs, being eliminated in the first round by Anaheim in six games.
Then it began, again.
The incessant "trade Marleau" talk, the "Thornton has no heart" cry, a common phrase most Sharks fans were aching to retire. The team as a whole went into another early offseason, disappointed and in disbelief.
"We did this AGAIN?"
GM Doug Wilson, addressing a crowd of similarly dejected fans at the State of the Sharks meeting after the season, held up a roster sheet devoid of names. "This is our roster for next season," he said.
The implication being that he was going to shake up the roster to the extent that none of the current players could even be counted on returning.
Three months later, it looks like he might have thought he was holding up the roster for '08-'09.
Despite another season of very high expectations, top talent, and the uncanny ability to utterly dominate their competition translating into jack squat, the Sharks roster hasn’t changed much.
Granted, they kept Ryan Clowe, Rob Blake, and Kent Huskins by signing them to new contracts, and brought in tough guy Scott Nichol from Nashville.
But what many thought was going to be a huge shake-up of a summer in San Jose never happened.
Marleau is still there, as is Thornton, and Nabokov. In fact, the only Sharks to swim out of the tank this summer were role players like Mike Grier and Jeremy Roenick.
The big names, credited with the success enjoyed in the regular season and the failure endured in the postseason, are still there.
The question is, will the results this year be the same?
The Sharks announced last week that Patrick Marleau will not be the captain going into training camp. The "C" and the corresponding "A"s are up for grabs.
Not quite the announcement most Sharks fans were waiting for, but maybe the problem in Silicon Valley isn’t just a personnel one but a leadership one.
Maybe the same parts re-arranged will finally allow what should be a playoff machine to function correctly.
Still, isn't it just conspicuously odd that the Sharks have made NO major moves this offseason, despite such an obvious expectation to do so?
Maybe this isn't what the team needs. Maybe we will see a totally different Sharks team take the ice come April because they can change themselves from within.