Did The San Jose Sharks Complete One Of The Biggest Choke Jobs Ever?

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by Teddy Westside

The Los Angeles Kings knocked off the San Jose Sharks 5-1 last night for a Game 7 win. If you saw that sentence out of context, you might think it was a good series and the better team just prevailed at the end. Handshakes happened and lets be on our merry. Oh, and you would be wrong.

What that first sentence masks is the fact that the Sharks blew a 3-0 series lead, becoming only the 4th team in NHL history (the second oldest sports league in America that started in 1917) to choke so hard that even Mandingo would take notice. They also became only the 5th team across all sports to blow a 3-0 lead. It has happened in baseball once (2004 Yankees) and has never happened in the NBA. So, welcome to the club San Jose Sharks!

Was it a true choke job? I suppose we should define what a “choke job” actually is. Let’s go with this definition for all intents and purposes moving forward: “When you completely melt down and blow a game, match, or series that you were about to and should win.”

The answer is, in my opinion, yes, it was a choke job. It is one that should certainly not be swept under the rug either. Hockey, for the common folk, is the softest place to choke substantially and get away with it. Despite two huge game sevens last night in the playoffs, one where a young Wild team from Minnesota won and the one we are discussing, ESPN radio this morning (Mike and Mike) were talking about some horseshit that is happening in the NBA offseason, as in they were discussing if Steve Kerr could be a good coach next year. This, folks, is why the four letter sucks my left nut.

Anyway, The Sharks had a 3-0 series lead and were considered the better team coming into the series. In fact, in the latest power polls that came out, people had them as high as the 4th best team in the league, ahead of teams like the Blackhawks, Blues and Penguins. The Sharks had home ice advantage as well. They lost on their ice twice, including last night. This, ladies and gentlemen, was a true choke job. Was it an “all time” choke job? Maybe, but the stakes probably aren’t quite high enough for it to be an “all time” job. Check out some of these “all time” jobs for comparison and if any apply to your fandom, follow these quick steps:

Bill Buckner and the 1986 Red Sox: Craziest part about this series? It was only GAME SIX when Buckner let that ball between his legs! The Red Sox still had Game 7, and they blew a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th of that game. Choke job for the ages, and not just because of Buckner…

Steve Bartman and the 2003 Chicago Cubs: Much like the ’86 Red Sox, the Cubs lost the 2003 NLCS to the Marlins in Game 6 because of Steve Bartman, who may or may not have touched a foul ball that Moises Alou may or may not have been able to catch. Or wait, that was only Game 6…you mean, even though the Steve Bartman thing happened, the series didn’t really end at that moment as people like to believe? You mean there was a Game 7? And you are going to tell me that the Cubs had a lead in that Game 7? Choke job…

The Minnesota Vikings and the 1998 NFC Championship Game: The Vikings were the best team in the league that year, setting all-time records on offense for a season. But, as many will forget, the Falcons were the second-best team in that conference. The stage was set for a wonderful showdown and it did not disappoint. The game was close to over with two minutes left. The Vikings were lining up for a field goal to go up by ten. Gary Anderson had not missed all year and this was only a 38-yard FG…and…HE MISSED IT!! Gary Fucking Anderson. However, the Vikings were still up by 7 and the Falcons still had to score a TD to tie it…and they did with 40 seconds left after a near interception was dropped by Robert Griffith. The game then went to OT. The first 4 possessions all ended in punts before the Falcons kicked a field goal to win. Choke Job…

If this was the Finals or a chance to go to the Finals, then perhaps the Sharks choke would get a little more attention. Alas, it was only a first-round matchup against hated rivals. I just can’t wait to see what happens next in these wild NHL playoffs!

Obviously, I didn’t list every choke job in sports history…I implore you to leave your favorites down in the comments section. The Cleveland Browns, Greg Norman and the 2004 Yankees come to mind…

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