Sports

Sharks see positive signs for future after 2nd-round loss to defending champion Kings

  • San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi, of Finland, reacts to Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams's goal during the second period of Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. The Kings advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 2-1 victory over San Jose. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi, of Finland, reacts to Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams's goal during the second period of Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. The Kings advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 2-1 victory over San Jose. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)  (The Associated Press)

  • Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick makes a save against the San Jose Sharks during the third period in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick makes a save against the San Jose Sharks during the third period in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)  (The Associated Press)

  • Los Angeles Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr, left, pushes San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski off the puck during the third period in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr, left, pushes San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski off the puck during the third period in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)  (The Associated Press)

Two days after being knocked out of the playoffs with a Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, the San Jose Sharks started the all-too-familiar process of packing up for the summer before the Stanley Cup finals have even begun.

The mood at Sharks Ice on Thursday was a little different than years past during a stretch of nine straight playoff appearances without a championship.

Along with the disappointment of another year without a Stanley Cup, there was optimism that came from a strong close to the regular season, a first-round sweep of Vancouver and a razor-tight seven-game loss to the defending champion Kings that gives the organization hope for the immediate future.