Poor San Jose Sharks, ever since the Kings overcame a three-games-to-none deficit to knock them out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the opening round, it's been a bit of open season on their long-held core.
For years the favorite targets of many have been Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. They've both been around for years and fair or not, have been labled as playoff choke artists by a lot of people. Losing that series to LA did absolutely nothing to help that image.
Nor did Kings defenseman Drew Doughty on Wednesday before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Doughty was talking about what his team experienced coming back in that series and how his Kings can't afford to let the Rangers get any belief. But in doing so he sort of threw the Sharks' veterans under the bus.
"Once we won that first game in the San Jose series, we kind of had a feeling we were going to come back and win that series, and you could see it in their eyes and their team and their captains and leaders that they were worried about us coming back, so we don't want to give these guys any life," Doughty said ("these guys" are of course the Rangers).
Harsh? A bit, yup, and indeed it won't help their reputations as not being clutch, even if they are a touch ill-founded.
Then again, it's also easy to say this in hindsight, too. It's doubtful that for one second the Sharks ever thought the Kings were put away and it's understandable if they began to feel the pressure of the Kings coming back.
But looking back and seeing the Kings defeat the Sharks by a combined score of 12-2 in the final three games of that series, perhaps there was a bit of loss for the Sharks on how to respond. Either way the loss was already tough on them as players and the organization as a whole as it will likely lead to some changes in San Jose (Thornton is already in trade rumors), this just hurts matters that much more.