The Long Road Back
If nothing else, there is a good possibility that the San Jose Sharks offseason in some ways may prove to be more interesting than the season just completed.
Clearly still reeling from what can only be one of the most historic playoff collapses ever in the NHL, Sharks GM Doug Wilson addressed the local sports media in a conference call this past Thursday. Before the conference call, Sharks Majority Owner Hasso Plattner two days earlier in a brief statement said that Wilson would be returning for his 12th season as the Sharks General Manager.
It is understood by both Plattner and Wilson that what the Sharks will need to do during the offseason is to really take a good hard look at why this team continues to fail in the post season despite having one of the best regular season records over the past 10 seasons. It is a post-mortem that certainly will not be easy to digest, however, a lot of reality has already hit the Sharks in terms of just not being at the level of a team such as the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks or Chicago Blackhawks. The Sharks as a team are good, but as far as Stanley Cup caliber, they are simply not good enough, period. For a franchise that has lost four of their last five playoff series with the last one basically stripping them of “elite team” status, Team Teal is facing a makeover that will require both patience and understanding from the entire fanbase.
During the conference call Thursday, Wilson acknowledged that “…our (relationship) with our fans has been strained, and we have to go out and re-earn that trust.” Wilson freely acknowledged his thoughts regarding those who purchase the season tickets each year as a concern. I have been heavily critical of Wilson in the past; however at least he won me back to some degree by just simply acknowledging how important the fans and season ticket holders are. There are a lot of GM’s who don’t do that over the four major professional sports. All of this said, Wilson also recognized that his toughest job as the GM is ahead of him. He also has to know he must break from the philosophies of the past which have left this team dead in the water at the conclusion of this past season. The Sharks long offseason and road back is officially underway.