Tuesday, May 06, 2008

5/4/08 DALLAS 2, sharks 1 4OT (Dallas wins series 4-2)

Took a real long time, but that's how it ends, in Game 6 of the second round. Again.

The Sharks 2007-2008 season came to a disappointing end Sunday night, albeit in a new and different heartbreaking fashion. A tremendous Game 6 saw the Sharks and Stars battle for more than double a regulation contest, making it that much more disappointing when it finally came to an end.

An iffy Brian Campbell penalty (called in my opinion as a makeup call for an iffy Niklas Grossman penalty in the 3rd overtime) lead to a Dallas powerplay that, unlike the Sharks man advantage in the period earlier, didn't fail to capitalize. Captain No Goal Brendan Morrow finally put one in the net on his stick, ending the last game of the series like he ended the first, in sudden death OT.

I waited an extra night to post this, because I wanted to point out that tonight could have, and was so close to being the minutes following Game 7 of this series. Mere inches played the difference in Game 6, but a crappy second period of Game 2 sticks out as the main culprit of the series. An overtime is a crapshoot, but when two teams are equal, more often then not, they even out.

That said, it's a weird feeling to be a Sharks fan right now. On one end, I've seen this story before. A great Sharks team has preseason Cup hopes, has a good regular season, and catches fire towards season's end, gets into the playoffs, wins a round, and just up and dies in Game 6 against a team they should beat.

On the other end, the Sharks, despite their ultimate expectations, and the expectations of everyone around the league, answered the bell when it rang extolling a message of a team that lacked heart, character, and a will to just win.

After losing Game 3 to Calgary in classic "playing not to lose means playing not to win either" fashion, the Sharks battled back and stole Game 4 in the waning moments, came home and won Game 5, and then after laying an egg in Game 6, they played a great Game 7, their first in San Jose, and moved on.

Yes, they did drop the first three to Dallas, but they answered the bell again in Game 4, when some 3rd Period heroics allowed the Sharks to avoid the loss, which still seemed almost inevitable. Then Game 5 happened, and the Sharks battled back from a 2-0 3rd Period deficit forcing an extra period, where Joe Pavelski sent the Tank into a state of euphoria, and almost clinching a Game 7 that was to be played, well, tonight. Obviously, that magical comeback fell one small goal short, and instead of discussing a second Game 7 this spring, I'm left to discuss Sharks hockey that won't be played for five whole months.

In summary, I am proud of this Sharks team. I'm proud of Evgeni Nabokov, who had the season of his career, and hopefully will be rightfully crowned the top goalie of the season with the Vezina Trophy, which will be awarded after the conclusion of the playoffs. I'm proud of Patrick Marleau, who, despite a less than par regular season, had a solid two series, including battling through two of the more bloody hits put on Sharks in recent history. I'm proud of Jeremy Roenick, who stuck a sock in pretty much every critic and fans mouths alike with his inspiring campaign, showing what it's like to play hockey because you just plain love it.

There really isn't anyone I'm disappointed in, at least in a form that matters to anything. I would have liked to see some adjustments made to the power play, a unit that struggled all season long, yet remained virtually the same, minus a month long blip after the arrival of Brian Campbell. I would have liked to see Nabby play less in the regular season, although it doesn't seem to have made a difference, as he was absolutely incredible this post season (that glove save on Brad Richards in the first OT this Sunday is a great save of the year candidate). I would have liked to see the Sharks finally turn the corner, cause I'm really tired of other teams and other fan bases getting to see June hockey in person, while I have to settle for my television set and teams that aren't my own.

I can live vicariously throughout the rest of these playoffs, however. I'd love to see the Flyers win the Cup, because I'm a big fan of underdogs, and to go from the worst team in the Eastern Conference to Stanley Cup Champions would be simply amazing. I guess I'd be ok with the Red Wings winning the Cup, because A) it's not Dallas or Pittsburgh and B) Brad Stuart would get to hold the silver. I can live vicariously through Evgeni Nabokov for Team Russia, Douglas Murray for Team Sweden, and Marcel Goc and Dmitri Patzold for Team Germany, who are competing in the World Championships currently going on in Canada. And lastly, I'm living vicariously through other teams and other fan bases in hopes that one day the good karma may finally pay off, and I might get to live this stuff first hand.

I'll still be posting throughout the summer, I'm going to be working for the San Francisco Dragons of the MLL, the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league in the US in addition to my post with the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. I am disappointed that I have worn my Sharks jerseys for the last time this season, but even as I hang them in my closet, the faint excitement of Exhibition hockey in September already has me flipping the months of the calendar. Come October, we'll all gather at 525 W. Santa Clara, see the 2007-2008 Pacific Division Champions banner with none of his friends, see Evgeni Nabokov's Vezina Trophy, and see our Sharks, ready to start all over again, ready to end the story differently, and ready to make everyone who cheers for the Teal just a bit happier next spring.

GO SHARKS (Draft day yet?)


Blogger Scott said...

Well said indeed.

9:02 AM  

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