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Eulogy: Remembering the 2015-16 San Jose Sharks

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The bloggers and fans who hated them the most. Here is Rick City, a Penguins fan, fondly recalling the 2015-16 San Jose Sharks.)

(Again, this was not written by us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don't take it so seriously.)

By @Rick_City

Awwwwwww Saaaaaaaan Joseeeeeeeee! Don't you dare be sour, clap for your world famous two-time champs and feel the powerrrrrrr!

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 - Before you get all upset, the "two time champs" line is referencing the three players in that gif: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. It's okay if you got confused, Sharks fans. It must be weird to see a team win not just one but TWO championships with their core. -

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That image would have been better if it was a shark in the boat and not a big fish. Close enough.

I'd to thank everyone for coming here today, to the San Jose Sharks Eulogy Presented by SAP at San Jose - or whatever tech company is the sponsor right now. I'd like to start off by saying that it's actually pretty sad that this eulogy is even happening. I mean, who didn't want to see what Joe Thornton would whip out if he won four series?

Now, I just have to say that a lot of you will likely be upset by some of the things written here. I get that. I mean, the Sharks are loveable. They’re the big, fun, kind of creepy teddy bears of the NHL. Plus, they have struggled for so long that it makes you like them and want them to succeed.

But that isn't the only reason people love them. There are many:

  •         They dance with kids in the crowd.
  •         They made this holiday video a few years back.
  •         Their roster is made up of equal parts old grandpas and young whippersnappers.
  •         It’s cute how they haven't figured out how to operate simple tools like razors or toothbrushes.
  •         They wear teal.
  •         They skate out of a giant shark head.
  •         The used to play in the Cow Palace

All of that makes them easy to like. But this isn't a 'like-ogy.' ‘Like-ogy’ isn’t a thing. Grow up. This is a eulogy.

And this isn't just any eulogy. This is the eulogy that no one wants to write. And that's not just because everyone hoped the Sharks would finally win one for Thornton and Marleau. It's also not just because it's been written so, so, so, so, so many times before.

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It's because there's no joy in it.

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Look at that puppy. No one wants to mock that puppy. It's trying. It's trying so hard. It just can't get up onto that curb no matter what it does, exactly like how the Sharks just can't win the Cup, no matter what they do or what captain they strip the 'C' from. 

So, when it came time to find someone to write the Sharks' eulogy, none of the usual suspects jumped up. In fact, Puck Daddy had to turn to a retired blogger to do it. I apologize in advance.

Now, just like Mario Lemieux in 2000, I'm lowering my jersey from the rafters in order to return to the blogging fold. This is a good comparison because, if there's anyone who knows how to embarrass and humiliate the Sharks organization, it's Mario Lemieux.

While writing this eulogy is a tough job, it is the job that I have accepted, and so I will do it without complaint. I'm no hero, just like Peter DeBoer isn't the coach who would finally bring the Cup to a long-suffering Sharks franchise.

Both of us are just people who like to babble on about hockey. The difference is that I have an active Twitter account. Also, I haven't ever been fired by the Florida Panthers or New Jersey Devils.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the puppy. Look at it again. Really look at it. No one wants to mock that puppy. It's all furry and lovable and it just can't make it to the next level, no matter how hard it tries. That puppy is the San Jose Sharks. I am here to eulogize that puppy. It had to be put down.

Now, a quick note before I truly start: I watched most of the playoffs in Punjabi.

It's just a better broadcast. However, while this meant that I enjoyed watching the playoffs for the first time in a while, it also means that I'm not entirely sure what to make of this series, to be honest. Without the wise minds on the official English broadcasts telling me who needs to work harder, where each player played when he was 15, why you should always hit to concuss, and why numbers are stupid and dumb, I am kind of lost.

All I know is that the San Jose Sharks are a group of hockey playing bears. Or Wookies? Again, I don't speak Punjabi.

(I'm having trouble figuring out if this is Joe Thornton or Brent Burns. Does anyone have a media guide?)

 

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I have some other questions as well. What we all know is that the San Jose Sharks have always been labelled as choke artists, but has that all changed now that they won one more series than they ever have before? That's how narratives work, right? Those couple of extra wins change everything? Or was that narrative always dumb to begin with?

Narrative or not, fans this year witnessed the most successful team in San Jose Sharks history. Sure, its wasn’t a team that actually won anything, but we all define success differently. For example, the San Jose Sharks haven’t won the Stanley Cup since the team was founded in 1991, but it’s important to remember that winning the Cup is a tough thing to do. I mean, the Penguins have only won it four times since 1991. Only four! We all have our problems.

Speaking of strange narratives, the loss is all due to Joe Thornton’s beard, right?

Of course not. That’s ridiculous. And, for just a minute, let’s get real here. Does it really count as a “playoff beard” if you’ve been growing it for 400 years?

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Whatever the case, the beard clearly didn’t give Joe Thornton the super powers that he must have been hoping for.

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Pictured: Joe Thornton during a moment of reflection.

Before I go too off track, the most important thing to remember is that the Sharks didn’t choke this time. This wasn’t the 2009 Presidents’ Trophy Sharks losing in the first round. This wasn’t blowing a 3-0 series lead against the Los Angeles Kings in 2014. This was a team that did very well, made the Stanley Cup Final and got beaten by a team that was faster, more talented, better coached and didn’t have Roman Polak on their blue line.

So, let it be known that the NHL’s Wyatt Family had a great run in 2016. But then, like the actual Wyatt Family, they were swiftly beaten by the face that runs the place.

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Now it’s time to shave those beards and provide comfortable bedding for thousands of stray dogs and cats at animal shelters around the country.

Except for you, Brent Burns, we all know that your beard is already home to more than one stray animal.

Anyway, I liked the Sharks better when they were dancing with Katy Perry.

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Yeah, that's a reference that's over a year old, but if you wanted to have it used last year, the Sharks should have made the playoffs instead of whatever mess they did instead.

Given their relative success over the past decade or so, it feels a little strange that the Sharks are the only California team to not have a Stanley Cup. In case you’ve forgotten the Sharks history, here’s NBC Sports with a kind and gentle reminder:

The Sharks must feel pretty awkward at California summer beach parties.

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Face it. You guys will forever be chasing the Kings and Ducks.

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While losing in the playoffs is nothing new for San Jose, what made this year's San Jose Sharks Playoff Loss™ even better is that, Sidney Crosby, the golden boy draped in praise, awards, Olympic gold, and near sainthood was the captain who prevented the long suffering Sharks and their dedicated and respected captain Joe Thornton... Patrick Marleau.... Joe Pavelski from finally claiming the Stanley Cup. And he cheated to do it too

You see, he managed to use a thing called "timing" to win more faceoffs than his opponents. Quite frankly, it's shocking. While not currently illegal, using skill and timing is certainly frowned upon in the NHL. Much like “fun” and “fan enjoyment,” the NHL has been trying to get rid of skill and timing for years.

However, it remains a legal grey area that Sidney Crosby is more than happy to exploit for his own selfish personal gain.

And what personal gain it is.

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It’s nice to see him finally win something, isn’t it?

Sorry San Jose. It just wasn’t meant to be this year. At times like this, it’s important to look on the bright side. At least you had Martin Jones. Otherwise this series would have been over a lot sooner. He is the only reason the Final wasn't a four game sweep, so I guess that's good. Plus, his performance probably meant that you made some Los Angeles Kings fans mad a couple of times in these playoffs too, so bravo. Good trade.

Speaking of player transactions, how about the bounty that you got for trading Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in 2015? Those trades sure worked out well for you.

Oh, they didn’t happen and you didn't want us to remember that mess? You want to be able to talk about your dedicated veteran core that stuck with the Sharks through everything, right? Everything is sunny with those guys. Everything is fine. There were never any issues. Nothing to see here.

After watching how Thornton and Marleau have been treated, I wonder if Joe Pavelski is prepared for what's coming to him in a couple of years. Logan Couture has probably already started sewing a C on his own jersey in anticipation.

Speaking of which, whatever happened to Joe Pavelski anyway? Why didn't he play in the final? Did you guys manage to trade him already?

.

.

.

Well this is embarrassing. I'm being informed that technically, since he dressed in uniform and skated on a regular line with his teammates, Pavelski did officially "play" in the series. My mistake. I’m not sure how I missed that. He even scored a goal! I mean, there wasn’t a goalie in the net, but good for him! Way to contribute!

Of course, he played quite well in the earlier rounds, but I’m pretty sure that the thing everyone will remember most about Joe Pavelski this year is the incessant spamming of #NHL17Pavelski all over Twitter. If he ends up winning that vote, it will be the greatest accomplishment by a San Jose Sharks player in years. That’s true. No, really.

And what about the vaunted Sharks power play? All of the Jaws music and cute signs didn’t work forever. I guess you forgot that the shark died in that movie. Or maybe that black cat running across your ice was bad luck after all.

Anyway, the good news for San Jose is that the team made the Stanley Cup Final, so I guess that means the rebuild worked. Or was it a rebuild? No one knows? I’m sure someone has a plan, right?

Despite the loss, it was nice to see Thornton and Marleau finally play on the NHL’s biggest stage. Those were moments that will live forever, like when Patrick Marleau, after working hard for all of those years, finally picked up his first Stanley Cup Final controversial headshot.

Or when noted Muppet Joe Thornton crosschecked and punched Evgeni Malkin and then crosschecked and punched Sidney Crosby. Those are the kinds of inspirational moments that we will never forget. Young children in San Jose will grow up knowing that, no matter what obstacles life puts in front of them, if they work hard and believe in themselves, there’s nothing stopping them from acting like immature punks on the world stage. And then losing.

All of this is only true, of course, if anyone in San Jose had stayed up to watch the games.

To be fair, even those who did stay up to watch sometimes missed the end of games.

Sorry Sharks.

Before I wrap this up, I have to mention the human interest stories of these playoffs.

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This San Jose Sharks playoff run wasn’t just about a team or a city. This was about a group of guys who the whole world could empathize with finally accomplishing their dreams. And the world watched and cheered them on the whole way, knowing that players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau probably only have one or two more chances to lose in the playoffs before their careers are over.

Unless this is actually the summer that Marleau is traded.

So, San Jose Sharks, today we say goodbye for another year. At least you finally got to see the Stanley Cup presented in the Bay Area. The team with the logo of an animal with a hockey stick inside a triangle finally won the big one in San Jose.

Sure, that team was the Pittsburgh Penguins, but that’s pretty close. In San Jose Sharks terms, that’s a big victory.

I know it seems tough now, but it’s important to think positively. You have a lot of nice things to remember about this season. Like how Brent Burns stepped out the van down by the river where he lives to shoot a puck at a fan.

Loveable guys, I tell you. Salt of the earth. That right there is a moment you’ll want to keep with you forever.

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Or that time you traded Raffi Torres. That was nice. Good work!

Or what about that time Cuba Gooding Jr. swore on TV when talking about the team? He just wanted the Sharks to win so badly. It was heartwarming. He’s a true diehard fan and living proof of the undying spirit that is the San Jose Sharks fan base. They’ll stick with their team through anything, no matter how rough it gets. Just ignore the fact that he then celebrated the Cup win with the Penguins in their locker room. I mean, can you really blame him? He just wanted to watch a team celebrate a Cup victory in San Jose for once.

So, keep your heads up, San Jose. It’s not so bad. At least you didn’t choke again in the early rounds. But there’s always next year!

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