"Ugh, same old Sharks."
I saw some variation of that enough times following Wednesday's loss that I felt the need to close Twitter to do something more productive. You know, like banging my head against a wall or closing a car door on my fingers for several hours.
This sentiment doesn't really bother me when felt by fans of rival teams. If they want to suck joy out of someone else's sadness, that's their problem. I don't care much when it's some national media sap who watches the Sharks for all over 10 minutes over the course of the regular season.
What gets me is seeing the Fear the Fin Twitter mentions filled up with Sharks fans who are ready to write off the most successful team in franchise history after losing a pair of one-goal games. What gives? San Jose by no means played its best two games in franchise history to start off its first Stanley Cup Final, and frustration is to be expected after losing two games that felt immensely winnable at the end, but let's gain some damn perspective here.
This team, and the core that makes it up, hasn't failed — not yet anyway, I suppose. The Sharks lost two close games on the road to an extremely good hockey team. I'm sorry if that doesn't lead me to believe we should relocate the franchise or send Joe Thornton to Siberia for his crimes against Silicon Valley.
No, what this loss showed isn't that this is the "same old Sharks" — what it showed is that sports fans will never change. There's so much to celebrate about this team and yet every loss seems to be an indictment on the character and heart of a group of men who have given everything to this city since the season started back in October.
Instead of issuing vague platitudes about what Wednesday's loss means to the team, how about instead we talk about what actually happened. The Sharks lost a game they didn't play all that well in to a team that is immensely talented and features the literal best player in the world.
If that loss leads you to question the talent or character of this team, why are you still here? I don't mean that to be aggressive or an attack — I'm earnestly asking. If all it takes for you to jump ship and declare these guys losers and failures is a pair of one-goal losses, then is this ever fun for you? At all?
Listen, you can be a fan however you want. If writing off this team is what you need to do in order to keep watching, more power to you. But it's immensely disappointing to see a fan base that seemed to remember why it fell in love with these guys to begin with turn on them at the first sign of trouble.
I'm not asking for blind support of every play or decision the franchise makes, far from it. But back-to-back losses and a 2-0 hole in the Stanley Cup Final shouldn't lead you to drop the team like a basket of rotting fruit. The Sharks are a great hockey team, and they've lost a couple games to another great hockey team. Now they come back to San Jose for their own chance to hold serve on home ice.
So let's spurn the narratives we've had forced on us by hot-take columnists and fans of franchises that are universally despise. The Sharks might be down, but they're not out. Not yet.