Five Stages of Shark Grief and the Holy Stanchion


yup...that's about right.


In a handful of seconds last night, during the San Jose Sharks series elimination loss to the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference Finals, I moved at Mach 4 speed through the classic stages of mourning over the loss of a game, a series, a chance for Stanley Cup glory and the devastating machinations of a phantom puck.

I can only imagine that my journey chronicled below echoed many of your very own feelings at the events that took place during yesterday’s Game 6.


That didn’t just happen.

There seems to be celebrating going on, but I didn’t just see what I think I just saw. Did I? I mean, the light is on. Weird. Everybody is milling around confused behind the net and looking up into the stands. It’s in the netting…that’s it, the puck must be in the netting.

But if so, then what’s with the puck that Antti Niemi just swept out of the net? Isn’t it stuck in the netting?  Where did that thing come from?  What, did it fall from the sky or something? And then there’s that cluster of Canucks celebrating—morons, they think the game is over.  Sorry knuckleheads.  Whatever, any second now they’re going to blow the whistle, and we’ll be back on track.

And now there’s confetti falling.

That is going to be such a mess to clean up in order to get play going again. Where are the Toronto NHL goal review magi doing to fix this cluster? Referees are conferring and probably just trying to figure out the confetti thing. Can you penalize a team for an over exuberant stadium employee? Delay of game?


2:00...Delay of Game.


This is just all a mistake. The puck clearly went up in the netting, bounced down (I guess), and then was sent into the net.

After they get the ice cleaned up…


The freakin’ STANCHION?!

That’s how the bloody game and series is going to end?! That’s what’s going to close the book on the San Jose Sharks this season? Really, an odd ball carom off the stanchion. All we’re missing here is a “Grassy Knoll” and a crappy acting job by Kevin Costner to round this out—“Magic JFK Bullet” meet “Magic Rogers Centre Puck”.

Oh, and of course it goes right to the idiot that beat Patrick Marleau‘s face in, so that the great fight-dodger can half-connect on the game winning patented heeled floater shot? Kevin Bieksa…watching him in the handshake line now making eye contact with Ryane Clowe for the first time all series. Nice work coward. Sure, why not. You can’t be serious. Honestly, FREAKIN’ BIEKSA of all players…that’s just GREAT.


playin' possum...


Now that the television reviews are just rolling in earnest, dropping more salt on the wound with every HD rendered angle, how about that great missed call Mr. Referee at the end of regulation. Idiots. Aren’t you guys supposed to be the cream of the crop referees? The elite picked for the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Real elite you bat, the whole world just saw that puck go off his shoulder.

But NOOOOOO, let’s call an icing in the closing seconds of an elimination game!

So thanks for nothing and an awful job to you Kozari…or Walkom. Or both or you. Where is Kerry Fraser for Pete’s sake? Consider yourself lucky guys. If we were in Montreal right now, and your idiotic anti-call had just cost the Habs the series, the “City of Saints” would be a giant flambé of burning police cars, guttural wailing and outward projections of ritual hatred towards all things NHL referee and…well… probably English too, let’s not kid ourselves.


If only we had strengthened the blue line after Rob Blake retired. We were thin on D all year, but still mustered on and just made due…we should have targeted more talent. Sure, Ian White was a great pickup, but we needed at least two more of him. Yeah, Doug Murray was the hammer of Thor, Marc-Edouard Vlasic continued his improved play and Jason Demers was a great addition, but I guess even had Demers been healthy, the so-called injury depleted Vancouver defensive core would have still played better than us…and with their backups.

Why didn’t the referee just stop to converse a little on that icing call that led to the Vancouver Canucks tying up the game? They really should institute something across the NHL to ensure that calls like this don’t get made again. Maybe I should write a letter. Yes, that’s what I’ll do. Just maybe if he had called the druids in Toronto, and taken a split second before making such a crucial call. Maybe then, we could have polished off that last half minute and would be playing Thursday. Maybe.


I can’t believe this is happening again. I thought I felt bad last year after going through the Chicago Blackhawks meat grinder, but this feels even more empty—effin’ Dustin Byfuglien. Thing is, we felt totally overmatched last year against the ‘Hawks, and the result, though horribly painful, seemed almost honest. This though? A bad bounce after 56 shots?…please no more Green Men shots.


Enough. Please.


Another long year ended by being kicked to the curb in the Western Conference Finals, and another summer of what-ifs? They’ll probably blow up the team, I mean they shouldn’t, but Doug Wilson looks as though somebody just ran over his dog…or dogs.

On second thought, he looks worse. I need a hug…where’s Jamie Baker? On second thought, where’s Drew Remenda?

I should have gone to more games. I should have at least traveled to Vancouver to support the team.  I’m sorry. Why do they keep losing my press pass application? Probably was that story slamming Patrick Marleau. Seriously, they protect that guy like he’s royalty or something. Sorry alright, I like emotive players on the ice, and ergo, Marleau bugs the “Holy Jumpin’ Panger” out me sometimes…was just exercising a little Freedom of Speech you lifeguards…so petty.

Or maybe, they just haven’t heard of me or the wonder that is Blades of Teal…actually, upon reflection, that seems far more plausible. Yeah, well screw the bourgeoisie and war unwashed blogosphere!!!


It is what it is.

The San Jose Sharks battled their hearts out, and nobody can throw around that scalding, derisive team of “passengers” any more when talking about the men on this year’s squad. They peppered Roberto Luongo all series, fought through separated shoulders, bum hands, picked unwinnable fights to make a point, taped up sprains, dealt with concussions and surmounted numerous other unspoken injuries to display to the world the very best character that a hockey team could display.

In short, the Sharks made us all proud and reminded us what a phenomenal group of players they are, and what a treat it is to call them our very own.


simply the best...yeah, you too Heater. Good game last night man.

Finally, I hereby affirm to chase no personal badge of courage by trying to deny to my heart the magical puck my eyes just witnessed 12 times on replay…the specter that sealed the Sharks’ fate.

I will instead bury that anger and disbelief deep down inside like a real man does, probably kick a can around the house for a couple days and annoy the hell out of my fiancée. I’ll probably mumble about top-4 D signings in my sleep for while and avoid wearing green, but will wait to officially purge the cobwebs of loss in the best possible way on Earth this weekend…the only way to really clear the head of any dark toxins of utter disappointment.

I’m going to go play some pickup.

Yerba Buena Ice…Sunday at 6AM…catch you there.

Game on.


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Tags: #sharks #sjsharks #VanSJS Antti Niemi Chicago Blackhawks Darren Pang Doug Wilson Drew Remenda Dustin Byfuglien Ian White Jamie Baker Jason Demers Kerry Fraser Kevin Bieksa Kevin Costner Marc-Edouard Vlasic NHL NHL Playoffs Patrick Marleau Rob Blake Roberto Luongo Ryane Clowe San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup Playoffs Vancouver Canucks Western Conference Finals

  • Devin Di Nardo

    It’s still tough to watch the replay of that goal. I get this sick pit in the middle of my stomach as I quickly close any window that’s playing the Bieksa goal.

    This was the first time in my entire experience as a San Jose Sharks fan that I was truly emotionally involved in the game. I had a great feeling during those overtime periods that San Jose could overcome and bring the series back to San Jose.

    I’m still in a bit of a shock as to how exactly that goal transpired.

    I’ve seen a lot of comments across the internet from fans angry at the refs for blowing calls here and there, including the legal puck that Bieksa snuck past everyone on the ice.

    For me, the most frustrating aspect is not the refs missing the calls, but how the boys in teal responded. If a ref doesn’t make a call that you’re expecting, letting up off the gas isn’t the best way to attempt to get that call in your favor, as we saw with Vancouver tying the game extremely late in third.

    And of course, everyone lost sight of the puck late in the 2nd overtime, and still the team let off the gas for the briefest of seconds, which was all Bieksa needed to bring our boys back home empty handed.

    • S.M. Williams


      Thanks for weighing in and great comments.

      I just kept hitting the 30 second rewind button in this daze…

      That one view from behind Beiksa where he is clearly the only one on the ice who knows where the puck is. Brutal…a brutal and very legal goal.

      Not sure if you catch Puck Daddy over at Yahoo!, but he had this great take how the Sharks seem to have these 3-5 minute complete lapses during almost every game. Total futility for about 200 seconds…and enough to have lots of bad things happen. That lapse was right there at the end of regulation.

      Frustrating is the operative word sir.


      • Devin Di Nardo

        It’s definitely a hard pill to swallow.

        I’ve made the consistent claim in my circle that hockey is indeed a 60 minute game, and the Sharks just never got there. San Jose seemed to allow too many of those lapses and it cost them in all 3 series at some point or another.

        I just hope that going back to the drawing board in the offseason, our coaching staff can address the issue and hopefully find a solution.

        • S.M. Williams

          I think they will, and I think Wilson, after a couple days of reflection, keeps the team mostly intact. Hate to see Seto go, but that’s a name I hear kicked around, more so after his often times frustratingly inconsistent play during the playoffs.

          In a totally unrelated point, love you blog title…”” = STRONG. Always had this fascination with strapping on the goalie gear. I mean, who amongst us doesn’t dream of the post-push-off-double-pad-stack save?

          My son wants to do it, but I’m worried about the 4 bags of gear I’ll have to lug around. Besides, like any Dad, a part of me wants him to follow in his old man’s footsteps…meaning a grinding, 3rd line winger, awful at going to his right, with a propensity to take awful penalties at inopportune times and run into his teammates.

  • wally

    Canucks fan here…We were extremely lucky to win the last game.The Sharks dominated.
    I still think that if the Sharks had finished off Detroit in in 5 or 6,this series would still be on

    • S.M. Williams

      Hey Wally,

      Thanks for checking it out, and I wonder the same thing. Actually, wonder a lot of things but that’s what you get to do on the losing end…wonder.

      The Kings’ series was taxing, and the Sharks, though the better team in that series, were absolutely taken to the wall by L.A. Then, you come off that and run into the Red Wings and a brutal 7-game series. A quiet part of me felt I was celebrating the apex of the Sharks’ season when we took Game 7 against Detroit.

      Those battle scars showed in Game 1 against the Canucks and that fatigue just wouldn’t abate. Add to that the injuries and it was going to be a rough go against Team Sedin. Those guys totally creep me out with their “twin-sense” no look passes…just amazing stuff.

      Though not over matched like they were against Chicago last year, the better team won. The Sharks job is to now make the WC Finals their annual beach head…and work from there.

      And I love the Green Men, always have…c’mon the upside down against the glass deal? The Canadian flag? Pretty awesome…really just needed a break from them after losing my grasp on reality Tuesday night.


  • Sean

    I hit up this website by googling ‘marleau’ and ‘stanchion’, wwondering if he had yet owned up to him being the one who put it on Bieksa’s stick. The last stick that puck hit before it was on Bieksa’s was Marleau’s. You can see it when you zoom and watch frame by frame. Look at the whole scene… Marleau is just too bagged to get there and he doesn’t manage to rally his team. Then he skates to the corner in shame.

    The Sharks skaters, as a team, had a better first three periods that night, but they weren’t better than Luongo and the Canucks D-corps.

    Marleau dropped his gloves first. You can’t keep bagging on Bieksa for feeding him some fists. As for Clowe, he seems a big man when the mike is in his face…. but that’s about it. I didn’t see it on the ice.

    • S.M. Williams

      Hey Sean,

      I’m with you on almost everything. Reason the Bieksa thing pisses off Sharks’ fans is that he is a known spot picker. For every Voros he squares up against, there are five guys like Penner, Hinote or now, Marleau, on his resume. Or there’s his cheap shot on BJ Crombeen, who then drops them only to have Bieksa skate away.

      I will take most exception to your Clowe comments though. Clowe had 7 points in the LA series and then another handful against the Red Wings before getting hurt in Game 5…probably the Kronwall hit. All year he stood in and fought guys like Parros and many more…and his PIMs speak for themselves. Scoring, physical and nobody would ever accuse Clowey of ducking. Huge heart and the Sharks need more guys like him. His shoulder is soup and he wasn’t at his best, but not just a mic courage guy by any stretch.

      In the end though, it’s all noise and what ifs while the VC get ready to play for the Cup.


  • John Phen

    Awesome stuff SM, loved the different stages lmao.

    We’ll be back next year, the team was so beaten up from the Detroit series that just didn’t have enough for the Canuckles in the Final. We’ll be back next year, hopefully with defensive reinforcements and minus Heatley! I kid I kid.. (maybe)

    • S.M. Williams


      I’m coming around on Heater, don’t know why but I believe!

      Btw your B/R worst alternate jerseys list is perfection. I’m leaning towards the Las Vegas Wrangler’s Santa jerseys but hard to argue against your number 1…that Ducks jersey is pure nightmare.

      Sign a D, then sign another and get Heater on a program or something stat.