There's not much to say, really. Each game against the Blackhawks the Sharks kept it close, and had times when they were controlling the play, but they couldn't hold on to it. The Sharks' D often didn't look up to the task of containing the Hawks' forwards and play collapsed down low in front of Nabokov again and again. It was a series between two very good teams, but Chicago simply looked like the better of the two.
We've got all Summer to talk about next season, but I'm not ready to move on just yet. I'm going to spend a while longer basking in the memories of all the amazing accomplishments the team had this season. Another Pacific Division title, three of the league's top scorers, a gut-check rally against the Avalanche in round one, Joe Pavelski emerging as a playoff hero, kicking the crap out of the Red Wings, and lastly having Marleau prove why the "C" never should have left his chest.
People are going to talk shit, as is their right and as I would myself if the situation were reversed. But after all this, people saying "choker" isn't going to bother me like it did, since it clearly has no connection to reality. The Sharks were beaten by a better team (and a team that is going to absolutely demolish whoever comes out of the East), but they never gave up. They rallied again and again throughout the post-season, and showed the fans that this is a team that has the mental toughness past Sharks teams lacked. Sure it's awful to see the season end like this, and yes I'm aware it's all "meaningless" without a Cup, but the Sharks deserve credit and respect for yet another great season.
I wish it wasn't over, but I loved watching it unfold. The team and fans are hungry for the ultimate prize, but shouldn't discount what a great year we just enjoyed.
Now let's set the time machine for October 2010 and do it right this time.