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Thus the Sharks off season begins with losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in a sweep.
 

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CHICAGO -- This time, the San Jose Sharks head home without feeling shame.

After five years of playoff frustration, the Sharks can empty their lockers knowing they left it all on the ice this spring, but simply ran into the NHL's best team, the Chicago Blackhawks, in the Western Conference finals.

And the perennial whipping boys, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, also escape blame this time around. Thornton was solid in all three rounds, while Marleau caught fire in the West finals, scoring five of his teams' seven goals.

"It comes down to winning. I would take those [goals] away if we were still playing," an emotional Marleau said in a dead-quiet Sharks dressing room Sunday.

They may not have underachieved this time around, but they fell short of their goal.

"We played some good hockey, it just didn't work out for whatever reason," said Thornton. "But none of these guys gave up, which is a good sign."

The four-game sweep was misleading. The Sharks played their guts out and could have easily taken a game or two.

"It's a sweep on the board, but ... there will be a lot of people that will say it was a one-way series, and that's fine, but anyone who knows anything about hockey knows that three out of four games could have gone our way," said defenseman Dan Boyle. "We're there. We're right there. I'll be here next year, a lot of guys will be back next year, we'll fight for it."

Just what this team looks like next season is anyone's guess.

Marleau, Rob Blake and goalie Evgeni Nabokov are the key unrestricted free agents, while Scott Nichol, Manny Malhotra and Niclas Wallin are also UFAs. Meanwhile, Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi are restricted free agents who will need raises. The Sharks have 12 players under contract for next season.

"Don't blow it up," was the message from the Sharks' players Sunday.

"I think we believe in this group," said Dany Heatley. "We've gone through a lot and battled through a lot of things. I'd like to see the group come back."

The betting money is on Blake retiring, but the 40-year-old Sharks captain wouldn't tip his hand Sunday.

"I know what I'm going to do, but I'll take some time here and decide," said Blake. "I'll let this sink in for a while. No rush to make a decision."

Marleau has been a Shark his entire career. His play in the first two rounds were average, but he was his team's best player in the conference finals.

Does he want to stay?

"We love San Jose, yeah," Marleau said. "So we'll see how everything works out."

Heatley is under contract for four more years at a $7.5 million cap hit. His two playoff goals this spring were not very impressive for that kind of dough; but, as we have suspected all along in these playoffs, he was not 100 percent.

"Dany Heatley had a very bad groin injury in the Colorado series," Sharks coach Todd McLellan revealed Sunday. "He really gutted it out. Over time, he's got better. In my opinion, I don't think he's ever got back to where he needed to be skating wise. I think it was evident. You know, he's a pretty noble guy. He's going to tell you he's pretty close to being good, but he never really got back to where he needed to be."

When we asked Heatley about his health, he said he felt fine, not wanting to use the injury as a crutch. Next season, the Sharks need Heatley healthy and producing to make it to the Cup finals. Just who his teammates will be next season remains to be seen.

If McLellan has his way, this is largely the team he'll get back.

"I definitely believe in this group," said McLellan. "You know, there's going to be a lot of people sitting behind a computer and a typewriter writing their stories tomorrow. I know exactly how they're going to come out because that's what you guys do. But when you're in between those walls, in those bricks, you know, we believe in that group. We have that experience now. You know, we've gone through that. Maybe we can expand on it."
Source:http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs/2010/columns/story?columnist=lebrun_pierre&id=5213317
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If Blake doesn't return to the NHL,who do you think will take his captain position? Thornton?
 

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HF-MOTM Winner - Apr 08
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I thought Washington won the President's Trophy? :dunno:

Didn't think the best team in the league, other than that President's Trophy, was determined until someone had won 16 games in the playoffs and earned the right to hoist the Cup? I guess we don't even need to play the finals if we already know Chicago is the best, right?

:n
 

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I thought Washington won the President's Trophy? :dunno:

Didn't think the best team in the league, other than that President's Trophy, was determined until someone had won 16 games in the playoffs and earned the right to hoist the Cup? I guess we don't even need to play the finals if we already know Chicago is the best, right?

:n
I was thinking the same thing as I read that.
 

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HF-MOTM Winner - Apr 08
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I was thinking the same thing as I read that.
I love the Chicago fans who think the Hawks are just going to trample all over the Flyers, assuming they finish the Habs. I don't think they pay attention to the numbers the teams are putting up and how evenly matched they really are. Hawks are better on some stats, like special teams, but by less than 1% on both PP and PK. Hawks score more goals, but the Flyers give up fewer with the best defense and goaltender in the playoffs, based on their performance thus far. Flyers have the best goals for vs goals against margin.

This could be one of the most evenly matched series we've seen in a long time. It's going to be a hell of series, so long as the Flyers take care of their business with the Habs.

I just think because the Flyers are a 7 seed, snuck in the playoffs on a shootout win in game 82 of the regular season, and underperformed all year getting a coach fired, and have had 5 different goaltenders, that they're going to be cannon fodder for the Hawks. People aren't looking at the numbers the Flyers are putting up or what they're doing to teams along the way so far.



Sorry, I was basically responding to the article. Carry on with San Jose discussions.
 

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Playoff-choking jokes aside, I expected the series to at least go 6 but for what it was San Jose kept it pretty close. That said I wasn't impressed by the Sharks's defense at all, likewise with Thornton and Heatleys performance going into the series, the former was -11 on the post season and didn't even show up versus the Hawks. As for the three key UFA's, I couldn't see Marleau wearing anything but a Sharks jersey, Boyle would surpirse me if he didn't retire and as for Nabokov...I honestly don't think his futures in San Jose. I could see the Sharks restructuring their defense a bit, not to the extent of the 09 offseason though.
 

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Boyle would surpirse me if he didn't retire
Why? He's only 33 and has played 12 seasons in the NHL. He just finished a season with a good Sharks team that made the Western Conference Finals. I can't see why he'd want to hang up his skates yet.
 

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Why? He's only 33 and has played 12 seasons in the NHL. He just finished a season with a good Sharks team that made the Western Conference Finals. I can't see why he'd want to hang up his skates yet.
He's probably just mixed up Blake and Boyle. I wouldn't be surprised to see Blake retire.
 

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He's probably just mixed up Blake and Boyle. I wouldn't be surprised to see Blake retire.
Oh, haha, you're probably right. Yeah, Blake's 40 and has played 21 NHL seasons. I can see him retiring after this year for sure. In fact, I'm surprised he hasn't already.
 

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Oh, haha, you're probably right. Yeah, Blake's 40 and has played 21 NHL seasons. I can see him retiring after this year for sure. In fact, I'm surprised he hasn't already.
I'll go ahead and correct myself. It was only 20 seasons. :redface:
 

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Personally I think it may be time to blow it up and try again. I don't mean finishing bottom 5 in the league or anything. Still remain a playoff contender but not in the race for the Pacific division or Presidents trophy. The biggest problem would be what to do with Heatley?

His NTC is still in effect. This is one thing I think needs to be adressed in the new CBA. If a player with an NTC or NMC waives his rights once then it should be voided for the rest of the contract.

Thorton would be easy to move, but hard to replace. Even though he wasn't on the scoresheet as much as he should have been he had a fairly effective playoff run.

Marleau is let go, and the cap space is held onto for July 2011, when they might again be in position to make a run for it all.


To PIT:
Setoguchi
Horton
Reinprect
Petrecki(SJS 28th OV 2007)

To FLA:
Thornton
Despres(PIT 30th OV 2009)
Sneep(PIT 32nd OV 2006)
SJS 1st 2011
SJS conditional 1st 2012(only if Thorton does not re-sign)

To SJS:
Malkin
Repik

------------


To BOS:
1st 2010

To SJS:
Thomas



Malkin would be a nice addition. Thomas needs a new scene and can play at a level equal or above Nabby.
 

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The biggest problem would be what to do with Heatley?

His NTC is still in effect. This is one thing I think needs to be adressed in the new CBA. If a player with an NTC or NMC waives his rights once then it should be voided for the rest of the contract.
You can structure it so that it is void after being waived once and Heatley's was structured in this way.

http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/28419-Screen-Shots-Notrades-no-class-and-nonsense.html

There’s just one small problem with that line of thinking: Heatley’s infamous no-trade clause that got him out of Ottawa is no longer valid; that much was confirmed exclusively to The Hockey News for our most recent cover story (issue date: Oct. 12).
http://blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks/2009/10/23/mystery-in-cyberspace-not-sure-what-caused-the-problem-but-heres-the-rest-of-previous-posting/

Also on the Heatley front, I can confirm that The Hockey News got it right when it reported the Sharks will not be bound by the no-trade clause that caused headaches in Ottawa.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Oh, haha, you're probably right. Yeah, Blake's 40 and has played 21 NHL seasons. I can see him retiring after this year for sure. In fact, I'm surprised he hasn't already.
It's been only 2 days since their playoff elimintaion, in an article I read,he said he won't rush his decision.
 

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It's been only 2 days since their playoff elimintaion, in an article I read,he said he won't rush his decision.
Maybe I should clarify. I meant, I'm surprised he hadn't retired before this season. He's had a pretty successful career, having played in six All-Star games and having won a Stanley Cup.
 

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That is good. Still where do you send him? Or do you give him a mulligan on this year because of his supposed hamstring/groin injury?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Viewing Heatleys stats , he was a -4,had 6 penalty minutes,and only 3 points in the WCF.That is certainly not the production they expected from him when they received him in the trade.Those three points were also insignificant because the team did not defeat the Chicago Blackhawks even once and none of them were goals,all were assists in the series,he had two goals in the 2010 playoffs.He was one of the factors why the Sharks were unable to win one game against the Blackhawks let alone the series.
 
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