Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cowards of the county: Your 2008-09 San Jose Sharks

I cannot begin to express in words what I feel about the Sharks right now. They are undoubtedly the most disappointing team I've ever rooted for, and keep in mind that I am a devout follower of the Golden State Warriors.

I saw this coming. I wrote on March 5th, that it was time to panic. I didn't even heed my own wisdom. I guess that's where blind love and fanaticism gets you.

Since I an unable to express myself in a constructive manner, I will let various sportswriters do my talking for me. If you're a masochistic Sharks fan, let your stomach keep churning:

Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle:

"The first act of the Sharks' postmortem ought to be for ownership to buy one arena-sized Presidents' Trophy banner - and 15,000 souvenir versions for each player, coach, investor, season-ticket holder and media member - with the bold legend, "Because we're all stupid."

"...they should all enjoy those Presidents' Trophy banners. Especially if they're made from the same material as ShamWows. At least that way, you can mop up a spill with them."

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News:

"Perhaps the Sharks did not look at that Presidents' Trophy closely enough. Did they check the fine print? Maybe the trophy was named in honor of William Henry Harrison — the U.S. president who died of pneumonia on just his 32nd day in office. Even so, William Henry lasted 20 days longer than the Sharks did this spring as presidential standard bearers.

The Sharks were supposed to be built to handle anything. They couldn't even handle the top line of the eighth-seeded Ducks or their previously anonymous, inexperienced Swiss goalie.

After such a rancid display — one that basically took dynamite to the carefully formed how-to-win-a-Cup philosophy of Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson — the next steps for him and the franchise will not be easy. Or simple.

Well, except for one part. It's hard to fathom that Patrick Marleau can remain with the Sharks. He has to be traded..."

Tim Kawakami
also of the Merc:

"The Sharks' best two players aren't leaders, aren't even wax-dummy approximations of leaders, and every spring we see the price the franchise pays for it.

I've been around a few winning teams (though not in the Bay Area recently!), and the essential element never varies: The best players are also the emotional leaders.

It's time for Marleau and Thornton to be broken up. They should have been broken up last year, but Wilson gave them one more chance because that was the easy choice."

Scott Burnside

"At the start of the playoffs, we posed this question about the San Jose Sharks: If not now, when?

And in the wake of yet another stunning playoff collapse, the answer seems patently obvious: Never.

At least not until dramatic changes are made with a franchise that has become California's hockey answer to baseball's Chicago Cubs.

The culture of losing is deeply embedded in this team. Ownership will need a strong stomach if it wants to change the pattern. Many owners lack that kind of stomach. We'll see what kind of stuff ownership is made of, or whether it will be more of the same in the Choke Tank."

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