San Jose Sharks: Is this the year they win the Stanley Cup?
A legacy of disappointment
I’ve been a fan of the San Jose Sharks since I was five years old. For non-hockey fans, you can imagine this as the hockey equivalent of being a sports fan of the Minnesota Vikings or the Buffalo Bills, or any other team that’s never won it all, despite fielding strong teams in numerous seasons.
Indeed, the Sharks have the second-longest active streak of playoff qualifications in the NHL with 9. This is second only to the perennial powerhouse Detroit Red Wings, whose amazing streak of 22 includes 4 Stanley Cup championships.
Why the Sharks haven’t been able to convert their regular season success to a Stanley Cup championship, one can only guess. What was initially a few isolated incidents of disappointment, shrugged off as bad luck, has turned into the subject of ridicule, an apparent inability to get the job done in the playoffs.
While individual players in leadership positions such as Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton have taken blame for this—fairly or unfairly, depending on your viewpoint—the fact is the Sharks have had very different looking rosters over the years. None of these teams, while under the captaincy of Jeff Odgers, Todd Gill, Owen Nolan, Vincent Damphousse, Mike Ricci, Alyn McCauley, Rob Blake, Marleau or Thornton, have gotten the job done. Period.
The new hunt for blood
So, what makes this year different? If you ask me, it all comes down to momentum. If you look at past Sharks teams, you would often find a dominant regular season that fizzled out into a mediocre post-season. All of the Sharks’ past playoff pushes have ended by the second round, with two exceptions. Whether this was the result of injuries, fatigue, or just a lackadaisical mindset as a symptom of coasting into the playoffs, it’s hard to say. It might have been some of all of them, depending on the year.
This year, however, the Sharks were never quite out of the playoff picture, but they hung toward the middle of the pack most of the year. It is only now, less than a month away from the playoffs, that they have made their move and are challenging the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division.
Secondly, the Sharks have recently benefitted from a few big names returning from extended periods of injury. Forwards Raffi Torress and Martin Havlat both have returned to the lineup, to great effect.
If the Sharks can carry the momentum of their recent success and the return of key players like Torres and Havlat, I think this could be the year they finally silence their critics and raise Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time.
What do you think? Will the Sharks win the Stanley Cup? Vote on our poll below.
Latest posts by Garrett Miller (see all)
- Food addiction: How junk food affects the brain like drugs - April 3, 2014
- Taco Bell: The Breakfast of Campeones - March 29, 2014
- San Jose Sharks: Is this the year they win the Stanley Cup? - March 29, 2014