For Sharks fans, the 2008-09 season represented the best of times during the regular season and the worst of times in the playoffs. The tough part is what to make of the whole package.
The end goal is the Stanley Cup and this year the club fell as short of that goal as they have since 2003 when they failed to qualify for the postseason. That fact can’t be ignored. Yet, neither can the fact be that this year San Jose won the Presidents’ Trophy as the best regular season club.
Maybe the truth for this group is somewhere in the middle. As the NHL’s top seed, San Jose should not have had a couple of lackluster performances to start the playoffs and prevailed in the first round, but at the same time, most acknowledge the Ducks weren’t the typical eight seed.
Normally the eight seed is a young rising club looking for a taste of the postseason. The Ducks were a veteran club that many feel has the NHL’s best defense. Remember that every time Joe Thornton
, Patrick Marleau
and Devin Setoguchi stepped on the ice in Game 6 they were staring at not one, but two Norris Trophy winners, in addition to three other top flight defensemen. Can you name a previous eight seed that could promote that for the postseason?
So the question is what are the Sharks to do? The outside opinions are all over the map, but it would be a fair guess to suggest that some degree of changes will be made. That happens whether teams win the Stanley Cup or simply make the playoffs.
The good news for Sharks fans is the club’s management group has continually put forth the effort to play into June and they will not curtail their resolve. The Sharks postseason success has not reached the bar set internally, but that is because the bar is the Stanley Cup. If there is enough talent to win the Presidents’ Trophy, there is enough talent to work with to refine the club and eventually reach the goal.
How will they do it? Well, that is up to Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson and his staff. Wilson will be smart about the process. He won’t make any rash decisions, but those who know the Sharks top hockey executive know he evaluates everything about his club and when the fall rolls around, he will have done something to give his franchise another shot at success.
It will be a long summer for all involved with the Sharks, from the management group, to the players to the fans because of the early exit, but hopefully it will be another talented club returning to take another shot at the playoffs.
The only Sharks that reported to the training facility on Tuesday were those that required treatment. On Wednesday, the players will report to Sharks Ice to clean out their lockers, take their final physicals and adhere to other administrative matters before going their separate ways for the summer.
Sharks winger Jamie McGinn reported to Worcester to help them in their second round matchup with Providence in the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs.