Sharks can see 'big picture' despite missing playoffs again

Mario Ferraro

The lights went out on the Sharks' already-dim playoff hopes on Monday night with a frustrating 5-4 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche, guaranteeing a second consecutive campaign in which San Jose will miss out on the postseason. The Sharks entered the night with the thinnest possible margin for error, so the end and ultimate result didn't exactly come as a shock.

"It's not a surprise," Sharks coach Bob Boughner said after the loss. "If you look around the league at the 31 teams, as of right now, I think every team that missed the bubble, last year's playoffs, is still out. So it just goes to show you don't flip things around in this league in six months, in eight months or 10 months ... it takes time, and there's pain involved in that, and there's some growing to do. And that's where we're at."

Every NHL team hopes to contend for the Stanley Cup, but obviously, that's not realistic. And while Boughner and the Sharks certainly regret the fact that they've been eliminated from playoff contention, they're also keeping things in perspective. 

"We've tried to work on certain things this year -- systematically, in culture and things like that -- there's a lot of things going on behind the scenes that are real, real solid in the young guys," Boughner continued. "It's a situation where you're going through some stuff and it's a little disappointing not to be in the playoffs, obviously, but we know what the big picture looks like and where we're going."

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As for where the Sharks are headed, the obvious intent would be upward. After finishing dead last in the Western Conference last season, they won't finish much higher when the current season comes to a close. This is the first time since 1995-96 and 1996-97 that the Sharks have failed to qualify for the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, so you can be sure there will be increased pressure to bring that streak to an end next year.