Sharks Collapse in Playoffs Again, Make History
Fans in San Jose might be fuming these days, and for good reason. The current version of the Sharks (we’ll go with Joe Thornton’s arrival after the lockout as the starting point) completed yet another playoff collapse last night, falling in six games to a division rival in the Ducks.
That marks the fourth consecutive season that the Sharks have failed to live up to postseason expectations. (Fifth overall if you count 2003-04 before Thornton came to town) They may have been given a free pass as a 5th seed in 2005-06 and 06-07, but eyebrows started raising after Thornton and company struggled against Calgary and then fell to Dallas last spring.
This time around, the Sharks earned the NHL’s best regular season record and then top overall seed in the West, but looked like a completely different team against Anaheim, who will now be moving to face Detroit even after a shaky season at best. It was the dreaded 8th over 1st seed upset, which has happened seven times since the current playoff system went into effect for the 1993-94 season. The Sharks’ role was reversed that year, as they bounced the Wings in the first round as an 8th seed.
What’s worse for the Sharks is that they made history on Monday. In having the NHL’s highest regular season total, they became the first team in history to lose to the lowest overall seed in the playoffs. The Ducks only had 91 points as the West’s lowest seed while Montreal had 93 in the East. Eek.
So how many questions will the Sharks be facing this summer? A lot. One that is dear to my heart: What does the future hold for Jeremy Roenick? Has one of the league’s most colorful players played his last game? Something tells me yes, even though I hope that’s not the case as he has shown he can still keep up even at his age.
Potentially joining him in retirement could be Claude Lemieux, who was unimpressive during his 18-game stint with the Sharks and only played in one playoff game. Great story this year, but seriously, it’s Claude. Who will honestly miss him?