Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sharks: Will This Help?

So the Sharks have followed their latest second-round playoff exit by showing coach Ron Wilson the door.

The move obviously doesn't do anything for fans who thought this would be the year for the Sharks. We'll have to wait 12 months to see if it makes any difference in the only thing that really matters to an NHL team: its performance in the playoffs.

Wilson was reportedly startled by the decision (to say the least). He's a veteran coach who knows what it takes to win a Stanley Cup and has hinted broadly that the Sharks remain short of what's required. His boss, G.M. Doug Wilson, obviously thinks otherwise.

There's a tendency, I think, for people to generate unreasonable expectations for a team's playoff prospects based on its regular season numbers. But there's a reason NHL oldtimers call the playoffs "the second season". Everything changes (including, it often seems, the rules).

The question is whether the Sharks are really built for the second season. To be sure, it's a team full of exciting players, but the nagging question of whether all the pieces are there to dominate in the rarefied air of the playoffs lingers. That's on the G.M., not the coach.

One thing's for sure: if the Sharks don't go deeper into the playoffs next year, it won't be Ron Wilson's fault. It might be Doug Wilson's.

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