SAN JOSE (CBS Sports) — Even after their loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night, the San Jose Sharks have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the past couple of weeks, moving all the way up to the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference.

In the weeks leading up to the NHL trade deadline the Sharks were teetering on the playoff bubble, struggling to stay in the top eight. When they started selling off veterans like Douglas Murray, Ryane Clowe, and Michal Handzus for draft picks it would have been easy to assume the Sharks were throwing in the towel on the 2013 season and that their championship window had officially closed.

Not so fast.

The Sharks have now won seven of their past nine games, earning at least a point in eight of them, and are once again looking like the team that put together seven straight wins to open the season. They’ve solidified themselves as a playoff team, and their championship window might still yet be cracked open.

So what happened to the Sharks over the past month that turned everything around?

Did the trades send some sort of message to the team and serve as a wakeup call? Perhaps. Or perhaps the players they sold off were doing more to hold them back than push them forward. Almost as if it was a case of addition by subtraction.

READ MORE from CBS Sports on how the Sharks have turned their season around…

(Copyright 2013 CBS San Francisco and CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.)


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