SAN JOSE, Calif. - Two days after being knocked out of the playoffs with a Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, the San Jose Sharks started the all-too-familiar process of packing up for the summer before the Stanley Cup finals have even begun.
The mood at Sharks Ice on Thursday was a little different than years past during a stretch of nine straight playoff appearances without a championship.
Along with the disappointment of another year without a Stanley Cup, there was optimism that came from a strong close to the regular season, a first-round sweep of Vancouver and a razor-tight seven-game loss to the defending champion Kings that gives the organization hope for the immediate future.
I think everyone left it out there. Every game this season, regular season and playoffs, we played as hard as we could. We're not out of the playoffs right now because of lack of effort, and that's all that we can ask of each other.
— Predators defenseman Seth Jones after Nashville was eliminated by Chicago in Game 6 on Saturday