It's mid to late March, and besides the NCAA March Madness tournament, if there is one thing you can count on at this time of year, it is the San Jose Sharks collapsing. I feel like I'm reliving the same nightmare over and over again, and I'm certainly not alone.
You've all seen me write on this subject before, that is because it is the one that comes most easily to me, largely in part because it happens so frequently. For the fourth season in a row, the Sharks find themselves drowning down the stretch that is the NHL season.
For most fans, this time of year is thrilling. All of your favorite teams are making a push for the playoffs, many of them succeeding, some of them failing. For those of you who are cheering for teams that are failing, chances are this is not your fourth year in a row, and 7th time in the last 9 years of watching your extremely talented team falter. For Sharks fans, this is the case.
As I sat back in my usual chair in my room, the place where I always watch Sharks games, I couldn't help but notice that for the third game in a row, I turned off my television before the third period had even begun. Some of you may claim I am disloyal for this. Go ahead and accuse me of such, but until you are forced to watch a team with no heart stomp on your Stanley Cup dreams over and over again, I suggest you not throw the first stone.
Tonight, the Sharks lost their 6th consecutive game, this, arguably the most brutal of them all, a 5-1 loss to Edmonton of all teams. During that 6 game losing streak, the Sharks have lost to 5 non playoff teams. If that isn't scary enough for you, they've lost all but two of those games by 2 goals or more.
It's interesting to watch really, interesting in a sick kind of way. It's interesting in the same way that racist jokes are funny, they're gross, but you can't help to laugh. I was on a Sharks forum earlier in the day and a fan said this:
"Is there anyway we can just forfeit our playoff rights? I'd prefer we not go through last season all over again."
That hit me hard. I realized that the Sharks have done something to our fans that I'm not sure any other fan base could ever say has happened to them, not even the Cubs or Maple Leafs. The fans would rather see their team not make the playoffs than force us to watch them get dismembered by an inferior team.
The thing I don't get, is that the players just don't seem to care. I mean seriously, in post game interviews, not once do I ever hear any of the players mention the fans. Not even long time guys like Patrick Marleau or Evgeni Nabokov, guys who have spent their entire 10+ year careers in San Jose. All the players ever say are broad, general things like "We'll just have to work this out ourselves" or "We got a few too many unlucky bounces".
After watching by far the worst team in the NHL destroy us today, for the first time in my life, I actually questioned whether or not my dad should renew our season tickets. I went to 18 games this season, 8 more than last season, and 6 more than the year before that (I can't really remember any further back than the 07-08 season). My dad has owned his Sharks tickets for the franchises entire 19 season history, and not once has he ever had second thoughts about spending thousands of dollars per year on the Sharks. However, both he and I who value those tickets behind only our family, friends, and house, both looked at ourselves today and wondered, "why bother"?
I know I am still young (17), and not seeing one of my teams win a Championship really isn't that unusual, but I really have to wonder who will ever break that streak, and when. Every year the Sharks provide the most hope, but with seasons like this repeating themselves over and over, I can only wonder.