1) Of course we at Fauxrumors were not shocked to see the Sharks fall to the Ducks in their first round match up. In fact we predicted the outcome we saw last night. http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2009/04/2009-playoff-predictions-west.html However, after completing their Presidents Trophy season; almost leading the entire NHL from start to finish, and having choked in the past several seasons, its long past time to examine why this franchise seems to choke, colossally annually.
2) Before we do, we of course have to acknowledge the Ducks accomplishment of beating the regular season champs with relative ease. If an outsider were to have tuned in it would have appeared that the Ducks were the #1 overall seed and the Sharks the lower positioned team. It has to also be acknowledged that the Sharks got the shaft in the matchup. As we mentioned a few weeks back many times a first round success/failure can be traced to what team plays whom. http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2009/03/its-match-up-stupid.html. We believe that if San Jose had played either Columbus or St Louis (or even Calgary) they probably wouldn't be booking tee times this morning. Instead they drew perhaps the hottest, best equipped playoff hardened team in the Western Conference (Not to mention bitter rivals).
3) If the Sharks had previous playoff success this years flop would probably been more understandable/palatable to the faithful Shark fans. However coupling past seasons disappointments and this years relative huge upset serious questions have to be asked with regard to management/personnel. We suppose the crutch that it is the coaches fault can not be used here as Ron Wilson, the whipping boy the previous years, was replaced by Todd McLellan who has followed Wilson, and Daryl Sutter as coaches who have failed to get the Sharks past the second round despite perennial regular season success. The man who (deservedly) is at the fore front of the picture of playoff failure after regular season success is Big Joe Thornton.
4) Perhaps the Bruins knew something when they traded the big center, and first overall pick in the 1997 draft early in the 2005-06 season. At the time the B's were trashed as making an awful deal (it didn't bring back much) However now in retrospect perhaps it was addition by subtraction? Since then the Bruins have retooled and appear poised to make a serious Cup run, while Joe's team is 'one and done'. In 76 playoff games with both SJ and Boston Thornton has a whopping 12 goals. Yes, his totals are decent (53 points), but when you are in the top 5 of NHL scoring during the regular season, you can't just be mediocre, you have to lead. Teams that succeed have their best players play at their best. Joe has NEVER been at his best in any of his 8 playoffs.
5) So can SJ pull a Boston and unload Thornton this summer? Unlikely as Joe has 2 additional seasons left on his current contract that will pay the underachiever 7.2 million! With the contracting/flat lining salary cap that's hardly the kind of salary a team would take on to add a player who plays at his worst when his team needs him most. The Sharks are in a bind and will probably end up making other changes to their team that we believe will not likely change their spring fortunes. In the meantime its very likely the image below will soon become the picture denoted as the Universal Choking sign.