Monday, May 5, 2014

Joe Thornton, Steve Yzerman, and the tricky business of labeling "winners"

You have to give the San Jose Sharks some credit: Just when you thought they’d run out of ways to have their season end in disaster, they go and surprise you.

This year’s Sharks’ implosion came in the first round against the L.A. Kings, with San Jose becoming just the fourth team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead. They lost all four by three goals or more, and were outscored 18-5, including a 5-1 Game 7 loss on home ice. And once again, we’re all left to wonder why this team can’t win when it counts.

There’s no question that the Sharks have been one of the league’s best teams for the past decade and a half. Since 1999, they’ve made the playoffs more times than the Penguins (14), won more playoff rounds than the Bruins (12), have more division titles the Blackhawks (six), and been to more conference finals than the Kings (three).

And of course none of that matters, because those teams have won Cups and the Sharks have yet to even make the final. Consistency is a wonderful thing, except when you’re consistently not quite good enough.

And now, the Sharks now find themselves facing a similar decision asthe St. Louis Blues: do you stick with the core and try again, or blow it up and start over?

>> Read the full post on Grantland


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