It's been about a week since the Sharks were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. I'm asked the same question every day by friends, fans, family members and I've asked it of myself plenty of times too. What happened?
The short answer is that the Sharks were beaten by a better team. The long answer is a lot more complicated than that. Even after a week, my emotions are still near the surface when I think about what went wrong against the Red Wings.
I can't help but think about Game 4 and the last minute collapse. I feel like it turned out to be the decisive event of the series. What bothers me is that even though the Sharks blew it in that game, the series was still tied 2-2. They might have lost some momentum but they shouldn't have been out of it.
It turns out they never recovered from that gut wrenching blow and if you want to pick apart what happened in the series, you might as well start there. There is ALWAYS going to be adversity in the playoffs. It's how you handle it that defines you as a team and most often determines your fate.
Detroit's adversity came in the form of losing one of their top players, Mathieu Schneider, in the series. Rather than regress, the Red Wings rallied around Schneider's absence and played even better without him. That's how you overcome road blocks. That's how you win championships, and that's what the Sharks are going to have to figure out between now and the next time.
Speaking of adversity the Buffalo Sabres have plenty of it on their hands. Down 0-3 to the Ottawa Senators they have to come up with a miracle four wins in a row.
History tells us that they probably won't be able to do it. Logic tells you that Game 4 ought to be one for the ages. Lindy Ruff and company will be pulling out all the stops while the Senators will have to absorb Buffalo's desperation and find a way to close out the series at home.
The Western Conference Final got a little more interesting when Anaheim's Chris Kunitz was lost for the postseason with a wrist injury. Now the Ducks have their first adversity to deal with. Can Teemu Selanne and Andy McDonald be a top line without Kunitz or has that role already been transferred to the scary good group of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Dustin Penner?
While I am watching hockey's final four, I must admit to enjoying the Warriors and their amazing postseason run. Congratulations also to their TV play by play man Bob Fitzgerald who captured the Northern California Emmy for Best Sports Play-by-Play Broadcaster this past weekend.
For Seagate Technology’s “In the Crease,” I’m Randy Hahn.