Well, the Sharks gave it their all, but fell short. And the NHL season comes to an end.
The Sharks wrote new history: winning the Western Conference, and two wins away from winning the Stanley Cup. They made it past the Kings (Beat LA), the Predators (Smashed Nash) and (Silenced) the Blues.
While sad for Shark fans, there are 28 other teams that wish they could have played this late into June. For their accomplishment, they’ll be picking 29th in each round (that they have a pick), plus a few additional picks acquired along the way.
The Sharks were without Tomas Hertl (leg), and many others dealing with injuries (three days later and still waiting for full list of injuries and their severity). Lack of the offense Hertl provided was one of the keys to not winning in the fourth round (and only scoring first in one game). Hearing Nieto skated through SCF with broken ribs (ouch).
This season proved to the fans that this version of the Sharks is worth supporting. After a few early non-sell out playoff games, the later rounds were full sell outs. Now to see if the Tank returns to full capacity in the fall. Even Bettman complimented the San Jose fans on their volume of sound in the Finals (as they did a pretty good job of drowning him out as he awarded the Stanley Cup).
Jones proved his worth – well beyond the first round pick. And the fans have found a supportive chant for him (“Jonesy”). He has convinced folks that he is the real deal, so the pre-season question mark about him is replaced with a big check mark.
Couture really stepped up this post season, providing leadership and offense. His addition after missing so much of the season with two significant injuries really helped the Sharks surprise the Western Conference with their tenacity and offense.What will the 2016-17 season hold? A lot will depend on who’s in the lineup for the season opener (and the rest of the season). Will the Sharks participating in the World Cup come back to California tired or invigorated and ready for the regular season? And injuries, puck luck. But I think you can fill in (in pen) making playoffs as an expectation.