The team the San Jose Sharks had a 3-0 series lead on in the first round of the 2014 Pacific Division semifinals earned a trip back to the Stanley Cup finals Sunday, June 1. The Los Angeles Kings are the first team in NHL history to win three Game 7s on the road, but will have home-ice advantage for the first time this spring.
How well the Kings are doing is irrelevant to determining what the Sharks on the whole lack, as outlined by Examiner May 4. Moreover, the last Stanley Cup champions after a full season are back in the finals because the photo list shows their five Conn Smythe contenders.
San Jose had its worst performances from its biggest stars when the opportunity to advance came. In fact, no Shark has ever been a serious Conn Smythe contender once the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs was underway.
Those problems are certainly well-known to general manager Doug Wilson, who should not think if his team had just finished off its Pacific Division rival off that it would have been able to win either subsequent series. In reality, both the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks played Los Angeles better, putting up much more of a fight in the final three games of their series.
San Jose was also the only team to have been in position to put away the 2014 Western Conference champions four times. Any of those games would have been a great time for a star to be a star, and that might have carried the team through to its first-ever Stanley Cup finals appearance.
Instead, the Sharks will watch one of their current Pacific Division rivals play for the Stanley Cup for the fifth time in the last 10 seasons (two were Northwest Division at the time). Expect Wilson to make more significant moves than the signing of Melker Karlsson reported by CSN Bay Area Friday as the 2014 NHL draft approaches in late June.