Sunday, May 23, 2010

That's It And That's All

The San Jose Sharks' season is over after a disappointing series against the Chicago Blackhawks resulting in the Sharks being swept 4-0.

A long season for the Sharks came down to this dream series featuring the Western Conference's top 2 teams. After this series, we found out who truly was the #1 team.

The Sharks could not have had more momentum coming into this series after previously defeating the Red Wings in 5 games. Yet, the Blackhawks seemed to be the wrong team for the Sharks. This series simply came down to match-ups, and the Blackhawks were a horrible match-up for the Sharks. It's the only way to describe it.

The Blackhawks were too quick, too prepared and too good for the Sharks. It felt that way from the drop of the puck in Game 1.

What impressed me about the Blackhawks was several things, but one stands out. Each game of this series, the Sharks came out with intensity, wanting to get on the Blackhawks quick. Every game, the Blackhawks answered and made the adjustments needed to turn the pace of play around, as well as momentum, in their favor.

Even in the games where the Sharks had chances to win, like Games 1, 3, and 4, the tempo for the game was still controlled by the Blackhawks, it sure seemed that way, and you were just waiting for Chicago to score, and they did.

Antti Niemi, what can you say, hot goaltender, wrong time for the Sharks. The Sharks could simply not figure him out, the 40+ shots on net in Game 1 shows that, as do clutch save after clutch save at the end of every game.

All around, the Sharks were outplayed and it is extremely disappointing to see as talented a team as the Sharks look so befuddled as to how they were going to solve the Blackhawks. No answer.

Where do the Sharks go from here? Patrick Marleau has been rumored to leave the Sharks for the last couple seasons, but that was because he was who everyone put the blame on for losing in the playoffs the past several seasons. Now, he is the only bright spot, and there are several other players who you can blamed for this one. Yet, he is a free agent. The Sharks would be wise to sign him, but maybe he rather not.

Evgeni Nabokov has played his last game as a Shark, that's my opinion. The free agent will depart San Jose in disappointing fashion, as he was never able to get the Sharks over that hump to greatness or the Stanley Cup Finals. Some would say it was because of him. Duh.

Lucky for the Sharks, the free agent goalie class of 2010 is impressive. With guys like Ray Emery, former Shark Vesa Toskala, and Marty Turco headlining, as well as several other starting goalies for other teams, the Sharks should have no problem replacing Nabokov. There's not much to replace.

In my opinion, the Sharks should sign Marleau and let Nabby walk. This is too good of a team to split up, and for the Sharks to go out and let Marleau leave along with others would set this franchise back even farther than a series sweep at the hands of the Blackhawks would.

With possible free agent pick-ups and the best top-line in all of hockey hopefully staying together, expect the Sharks to be back contending again next season, but the Stanley Cup Finals still looming.

No comments:

Post a Comment