When you give up a 3-0 series lead against hated rivals, you’re bound to hear about it over and over again.
The San Jose Sharks are pretty much certain to absorb questions and barbs about their first-round collapse against the Los Angeles Kings well beyond the point of sickness. There is one painful ritual the Sharks will opt to skip, however; San Jose will stay in the visitors locker room while the Kings raise their 2014 Stanley Cup banner, according to the Mercury News’ David Pollak.
“It’s not our party, it’s theirs,” Head coach Todd McLellan said.
That’s … probably for the best.
That said, while cameras won’t capture their awkward on-ice reactions to a ceremony that will likely pour salt in still-fresh wounds, San Jose won’t be able to avoid memories of a series that slipped away. CSNBayArea.com depicts what’s likely to be a repetitive stream of recollections regarding the Sharks’ agonizing defeat and the very awkward offseason that followed:
Wednesday won’t be the last time the Sharks are reminded of what happened, as the NHL has firmly recognized that their rivalry with Los Angeles is one of the best going right now. A behind-the-scenes reality show will lead into the Sharks-Kings outdoor game at Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 21, and all five meetings between the clubs will be broadcast nationally in the United States.
Even NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a press conference last Thursday that the Sharks and Kings meeting on opening night in front of a national audience was no accident.
Naturally, the Sharks are putting a “make the best of it” spin on the situation, and it’s not as if there’s zero precedent to a team bouncing back from such a crushing failure. The Boston Bruins memorably bounced back from coughing up a 3-0 series lead against Philadelphia in 2010 to win the 2011 Stanley Cup.
It’s obviously easier said than done, but it sounds like the Sharks are eager to prove that the Kings didn’t break their spirits.
“You just have to go out and prove it,” Logan Couture told CSNBayArea.com. “There’s nothing you can sit here and say. Your actions speak louder than words and we just have to go out and prove people wrong.”
Here’s some more from Joe Pavelski: