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.
It was definitely emotional. I really appreciated the fans. It was a cool feeling and it felt special and the ovation there at the start and then you kind of feel funny out there standing by yourself. Thinking back, I was saying just a bit ago, you think back just trying to make the NHL and then you kind of reflect on all the years being able to play for a great organization here in Calgary and all the fun I've had so far in my career. I feel very fortunate and blessed.
— Boston forward Jarome Iginla on his return to Calgary, where he played for 16 seasons