1) While it would be unfair to totally characterize the Sharks as choking or imploding since they are playing a pretty dam good LA Kings team, it still seems this happens to this franchise almost annually. To review the Kings became only the ninth team in NHL history to force a seventh game after trailing a series 0-3. Only three teams have come back to win a Game 7 after losing the first three games. The Detroit Redwings in 1941, the NY Islanders in 1975 and most recently, Philadelphia. They won four straight to win a seven-game series against Boston in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals. That Flyers team by the way featured current Kings Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
2) The San Jose Sharks, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.... wait, no, they've never made the Stanley Cup Finals have they? Always the usher, never the bridesmaid? That pretty much sums up the existence of the San Jose Sharks over the last 10 or so years. They have been one of the best regular season teams in the NHL, remarkably consistent in their ability to make the playoffs only to suddenly perish. The Sharks are like that guy in a movie you recognize, but can't quite place what else he's been in. The Sharks are the guy in the red shirt they always sent down to search the planet on Star Trek who always ended up dying.
3) This year was different, this year was special, this year was the year the Sharks were going to finally put it all together! Right? They looked amazing in the first 3 games, who could stop them? How low have they dropped? Well this is a team that has gone from chanting "We Want the Cup" to chanting "Beat L.A." Rumor has it next year they plan on chanting "Score a goal!" and if that fails, "Make a pass?” said in a questioning tone, since at that point they really are in no position to demand anything.
4) Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have this "choke" label that has been hung around their necks their entire careers. This of course comes from not winning "the big game" as they say, and not advancing to the Finals, ever! To be fair Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are valued leaders who help make sure the team gets into the playoffs, but for many and varied reasons annually they never seem to have enough to get the team to the next level. We will find out tomorrow night if this team will be yet another to add their amazing long resume of epic fail, and yes, choking!