Programming note: Capitals-Sharks coverage starts tonight at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE -- The Sharks are on the verge of making the postseason for the 10th straight season, and it could become official as soon as Saturday night when they host the Capitals.
The magnitude of that feat isn’t lost on the one player who has been here for all of them, Patrick Marleau.
“It builds up pride, and [shows] the commitment that a team has,” Marleau said. “When new players come in, it’s expected of them. That bar is set that you’re a team that’s always in the playoffs. You have to bring it each and every night, and do the things that it takes to get in the playoffs.”
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Captain Joe Thornton is in his ninth season with the Sharks, joining the club early in 2005-06, one season into the streak which was interrupted by the lost lockout season of 2004-05.
Thornton said: “It’s a model of consistency. Ownership and management definitely deserve a pat on the back, but we’ve got bigger and better things we want to accomplish here this year. It’s just not about tonight, but a couple months down the road.”
Thornton and the Sharks, of course, have yet to make an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in franchise history. Todd McLellan, who has never missed the postseason in 19 years of coaching at various levels and in different positions, will have taken the Sharks to the playoffs in each of his six seasons here.
He’s more focused on playing until late May and early June, than making a big deal out of just qualifying.
“Just getting there, getting to the race and to the tournament isn't what we set out to do,” he said. “Obviously, finishing it is the ultimate goal. But, to get there 10 years in a row in a cap-type league where it's tough to win every year, is a remarkable feat. Obviously, Detroit doing it for many more years is the measuring tool, but for us to be able to do that, we're proud of that, of course."
The Red Wings have been in the playoffs for 22 straight seasons, including when McLellan was an assistant coach there from 2005-06 to 2007-08. Detroit is currently one point out of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
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