Eulogy: Remembering the 2016-17 San Jose Sharks

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(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 Megan Fowler, Edmonton Oilers blogger from TheOilersRig.com, fondly recalling the 2016-17 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 Megan Fowler

(June 2032, outside Aneroid, Saskatchewan.)

Kid: Auntie, who’s Patrick Marleau?

Woman: Oh, he was one of the best players never to win a Stanley Cup. He had all the talent in the world, and even when he was 37 he could skate like the wind and had a wicked wrist shot and one of the best playoff beards I’ve ever seen. He stayed in San Jose his whole career, and that was the wrong choice. Why do you ask?

Kid: I was looking through that box of hockey stuff you gave me and I found a letter you wrote to him before I was born. Why didn’t you send it?

Woman: You know, I’m not exactly sure.

****

April 22, 2017

Edmonton, AB

Dear Patrick:

Can I call you Pat?

I know we’ve never met, but I feel like I’ve known you my entire adult life. I remember seeing you get drafted, and being annoyed that a kid from Aneroid, SK (a scant 20 miles from my dad’s hometown of Mankota) didn’t go first overall. I liked Joe Thornton, especially after the World Junior tournament that year, but I decided that I was going to be a Patrick Marleau fan (though not a Sharks fan) from day 1.

I regret that choice.

You see, despite being a lifelong Oilers fan, I’ve always had a soft spot for you. During the Oilers recent years-long playoff drought, I sort of figured that I’d like to see the Sharks win the Stanley Cup – not for the team, mind you, but because I think you deserve one. Last season was the closest you’re ever going to get in San Jose, and that’s not debatable. It’s been a long time since the Sharks won a President’s Trophy; in fact you could say that they’ve been #SharkWeak ever since.

It’s not like the Sharks haven’t tried to get better. I mean, picking up Jannik Hansen at the deadline this year wasn’t a terrible move but that Mikkel Boedker contract is going to cause some serious trouble, maybe as soon as July 1.

Despite the changes around you, it was a decent season for you.

I watched you score 4 in a game and was delighted when your wife tweeted this:

You’re getting a little long in the tooth and it might be time to consider that a 20-plus-year career in San Jose might not be the way to get your name engraved on Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Why do I say that? Well, like most other years you’ve been in the playoffs, this year’s postseason started with such promise. An OT victory in Edmonton in game 1 should have been the catalyst for a quick round 1 victory, but instead your team was beat by Zack Kassian and David Desharnais – the most threatening of the 2016-17 Oilers.

Looking back at it, it’s not really surprising that you lost to the younger, faster Oilers – it wasn’t until Game 4 that the Sharks really got things going. And Pat, let me tell you, that game should have turned the tide. A 7-0 shellacking of the Oilers should have been enough to put them away. Unfortunately for you, it wasn’t.

If Game 4 was the hockey equivalent of a Sharknado, Game 6 was absolutely #Sharknada.

At the end of it all, experience should have trumped youth like it often does in the postseason and your Sharks should have won.

You know why they didn’t?

I mean, besides not being able to score on the power play (and it’s not like you didn’t have ample opportunity), and not taking enough shots in the third periods of any of the games?

Besides Joe Pavelski complaining about the ice at Rogers Place as the reason the Sharks never had the puck and weren’t able to stop the Oilers from taking over in Game 5 OT?

Besides Brent Burns leaving Jones exposed, forcing him to make five-hole save after five-hole save, letting in more pucks through there than not?

Besides allowing Zack Kassian (!) to score the winner in consecutive games? (I know that everyone thought a former Windsor Spitfire on the Oilers roster would eventually be the downfall of playoff opponents, but Zack Kassian isn’t that guy. )

You want to know why the Sharks are looking for tee times instead of practice times?

#WreckTheRig

I get it. The Oilers are in Oil Country, and there’s oil rigs in Oil Country. On the surface it makes sense. So imagine my surprise when the Sharks marketing department came up with the single dumbest playoff hashtag/rally towel combination in history.

Copying every other team in the league with a playoff hashtag is bad enough but to get one so egregiously wrong is the most San Jose thing imaginable, and don’t think I’ve forgotten that you’ve played in a building called The Cow Palace AND a building named after a desktop computer.

The hashtag was so dumb, and I can’t even believe that someone got paid for this design work.

For future reference: The nearest ocean is 900 miles from Edmonton; a better image would have been a shark biting through a pipeline, like the Keystone XL that’s definitely getting built.

Needless to say, it wasn’t very menacing, and it wasn’t successful. To be honest, it’s got to be embarrassing to play for a team whose marketing department can’t even get basic facts right.

So to save you the trouble, I did a little brainstorming for playoff hashtags for next year. Here’s what I came up with. You can thank me next season.

#SkinTheFin – this might not make a lot of sense right now, but you and I both know you’re on your way out of San Jose, so you might as well suggest this one to whatever Pacific Division team you end up on next year.

#DrainTheTank – Get it? Shark Tank? Anyway…this Sharks team as you know it is done. It’s time to accept that you and Jumbo aren’t going to be playing together anymore. It even feels like Pavelski’s overstayed his welcome, so it’s time to empty things out and start anew.

I’ve got more, but they only really work when it’s an opponent creating them FOR the Sharks. #ParkTheSharks #FlushTheFish #SquishTheFish – they’re all dumb, but they’re no worse than #WreckTheRig.

But Pat, before I really #jumptheshark and make a fool of myself — like the fan who dumped popcorn on the Oilers bench after McDavid’s empty-netter — by calling the Oilers victory an oil spill or something dumb like that, here’s something to think about: no hashtag can cover up the fact that the Sharks fell short of the ultimate goal yet again.

Maybe it was Logan Couture not being able to breathe properly with all those wires in his jaw. The kind thing to do is take an animal out to pasture when it’s struggling that much, and shame on you guys for not doing that for Couture. (And whoever in PR decided that his nickname should be Clutchure needs to join him.)

Maybe it’s having a top line made up of two senior citizens and a pest.

Maybe it’s never having the opportunity to see Joe Thornton score a rooster trick.

Maybe it was this guy being your leading scorer all season long.

Maybe it’s Martin Jones’ five-hole being larger than a Volkswagen Beetle.

I don’t know for sure, but a team with as much playoff experience as this year’s San Jose Sharks should have easily handled the Oilers.

Instead, your Stanley Cup hopes are dashed early – again – and being on the outside looking in must get tiring after a while.

So I’ll tell you what – we’ve got room here in Edmonton for you, maybe on a one-year deal. Before you say no, consider this: Connor McDavid.

If you want that Cup, and I think you do, it’s time to leave Northern California and bring your glorious playoff beard back home.

Besides, if you do, you’ll never have to worry about a dumb playoff hashtag again.

Sincerely,

Megan

*****

(Fast Forward, June 2032)

Woman: Now I remember why I didn’t send that letter. Those hashtags are awful.

Kid: Auntie?

Woman: Yeah kiddo?

Kid: Who’s Joe Thornton and what’s a rooster trick?

Megan Fowler writes at TheOilersRig.com, hosts a podcast called The Garbage Fire Podcast with her friend Kelsey, teaches high school. She loves/hates the Oilers and I misses Taylor Hall.

NHL EULOGIES 2017

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