My how seven days changes things. Three games into their Western Conference First Round series with the Los Angeles Kings, the San Jose Sharks now face a Game 7 at the Shark Tank on Wednesday. The ramifications of the result of this upcoming game could be paramount to the future of the franchise.
First let's look at the history of what has occurred. The Los Angeles Kings became the ninth NHL team to force a Game 7 after losing the first three games of the series. On the other hand, the San Jose Sharks have become only the second North American major professional sports franchise to have two blown 3-0 series leads in team history. Only the Boston Bruins from 1939 and 2010 have played a Game 7 after being up 3-0. For Boston they won Game 7 against the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Semifinals back in 1939. However they were on the opposite end of the result in 2010 when the Philadelphia Flyers not only came back from a 3-0 deficit, but came back from an early 3-0 in Game 7 to become one of four teams in pro sports to do the "reverse sweep".
I could go on about the Sharks collapse and Kings takeover of this series, but that will be discussed later on. The importance of this game is important for the potential viability of this franchise. With the Golden State Warriors thriving in the NBA playoffs, the Sharks have done fairly well in keeping the Shark Tank full. However, the move from San Francisco to Santa Clara for the 49ers in a brand new stadium, could lure fans who like both teams to football on Sundays. But the key issue here is sponsorships. Part of the Sharks success has been the lone show in town from late September - mid May in the South Bay with the SaberCats and Earthquakes jumping in as the NHL playoff push is on. The momentum of the NFL closer to the capital of Silicon Valley may put a decision on companies and corporations on whose side to jump on? The one with five Super Bowl titles or one that is on the verge of the bad side of history with playoff struggles year in and out? We won't get started if the Athletics move across the street eventually.
On many media outlets, while the focus has been on the NBA and comments from one of their owners, the Sharks have been the talk for the wrong reasons. Many have said while the Sharks have home ice, the Kings and their "Stanley Cup pedigree" have enough momentum and dominance to be victorious. The Sharks have been in this situation before in 2011 with the Detroit Red Wings and were in a battle the entire series and the final game. But twice in the last four seasons to blow a 3-0 lead is never good. While a win could help this go away, a loss could be the final straw to make changes on ice and in the front office. What has been said about the best roster the team has ever assembled, now must find a way to get reengerized and find the killer instinct to right the track to beat LA and head to Disneyland to start another battle with another California rival.