Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Carl Steward of Inside Bay Area,
Reading the long list of possible candidates to coach the San Jose Sharks, only one name runs me up against the boards and slams me with intrigue—Mike Ricci. If nothing else, what a face to identify your increasingly faceless franchise, eh?
Stop snickering. I know there are a lot of things wrong with pinning Ricci’s name high on the candidate board. He has barely stopped playing, he’s never coached, and with those long locks and that hard-knock hockey mug, he doesn’t really look like a coach. He’s not button-down or buzz-cut, and unlike Ron Wilson, probably doesn’t spend half his day logging line rotations and brainy theorems into his laptop.
from Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News,
The Sharks’ first phone call, which I’m assuming took place earlier this week, had to go to Pat Burns. Just had to.
It makes so much hockey sense. It helps explain how General Manager Doug Wilson persuaded himself to fire Ron Wilson, a coach he defended and kept through previous tense times.
Everything about the early stages of the Sharks’ search points to Burns - if he’s interested in moving to the West Coast and he’s healthy after two recent bouts with cancer (it sounds as if Burns is doing fine).
Sharkspage does a great job covering the Ron Wilson firing and takes a look back at his coaching career in San Jose.
Update 11:34am ET (alanah): An article that I don’t think PJ references at Sharkspage, that I also thought was very good—Ray Ratto of the SF Chronicle considers that the issues in San Jose may be more systemic than specific to Ron Wilson.
From the San Jose Sharks,
San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has relieved Head Coach Ron Wilson of his coaching duties. The Sharks general manager also announced that team will begin a search for a new head coach immediately.
“Ron helped foster a new era in San Jose Sharks hockey with some record-setting regular season performances,” said Doug Wilson. “However, ultimately we have decided that it is time for a different voice and a different approach to lead this team. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished as an organization but we feel that this team is capable of achieving greater success. I want to thank Ron for his level of commitment and desire to make our organization successful. Our entire organization wishes him well.”
added 9:40pm, from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
If his motivational strategies had worked, Wilson would have been applauded. But after four-plus seasons of attempting every possible ploy, what could Wilson have done differently next season to get a different result? I am sure that’s what team management was thinking. I can’t disagree.
Still, you won’t catch me saying “Good riddance.” I will miss Wilson, though he won’t believe that. We had our differences. We dug in for some, shall I say, spirited discussions when he disagreed with something I wrote.
Jeremy Roenick confirmed he’ll return to San Jose next season for another run at the Stanley Cup.
“I think it would be a shame to go one year and out,” the 19-year veteran said at the bittersweet conclusion of his first year in teal.
Roenick also echoed the dual sentiments of every coach and player in the room. He insisted the Sharks will be unfulfilled until they advance further in the postseason, but they don’t need major changes to get there.
more on the Sharks…
Update 1:46pm ET: From Charlie Teljeur, a Sharks cartoon…
from Carl Steward of Inside Bay Area,
Seriously, at this point is extraordinary effort enough from the Sharks if it doesn’t deliver victory and playoff advancement beyond the first round?
Blunt answer: No way, San Jose. This conference semifinal “Groundhog Day” elimination routine is getting old for fans, and it should be getting embarrassing for the Sharks, who are becoming the Atlanta Braves of hockey. Of course, the Braves won a World Series and got to a couple more, so maybe they’re not even on that level.
Something significant has to change with these guys, because mere minor tinkering to achieve the same sour result next year is foolhardy, and that’s precisely what will happen if the Sharks try to maintain the status quo. They’ll still get the sellouts, they’ll still win their share of games, but they’ll never get a sniff of the Stanley Cup.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
Now that the San Jose Sharks are gone, you can be sure of one thing. Coach Ron Wilson won’t be far behind.
Wilson had been hanging by a hair all season long, even though to the casual viewer, the Sharks appeared to be forging a first-rate season.
In fact, Wilson barely made it back after last year’s postseason collapse (hey, in San Jose, anything short of a Stanley Cup is seen as a collapse.)
On its heels, the Sharks held one of the longest exit interviews in the history of hockey, and every player was required to give full and frank views of the team, its future, and its coach. The coach didn’t fare very well.
from the 2008 Stanley Cup Blog at CBC,
On the cover of the Dallas Stars media guide, Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen amd Sergei Zubov prowl in the background in black and white, while Brenden Morrow and Marty Turco stand defiantly in color in front of the aging veterans.
The statement is clear - this version of the Stars belongs to Morrow and Turco.
The captain and the goalie have taken over and become the core of the team. While Modano, Lehtinen and Zubov are the sole remaining components of the 1999 Stanley Cup championship team, they are taking on different roles this time around.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
The Sharks took the Dallas Stars into a Game 7 here Sunday night. And then into a Game 8.
That’s not what the official result will say, of course. It will say the Sharks lost a four-overtime game to the Stars 2-1. And that the Sharks lost their playoff series bitterly in six games.
Yet as the scoreboard clock moved into the second overtime, then the third, then the fourth, Game 6 did not just become the longest Shark game in history. It became the most remarkable game of this year’s entire NHL Stanley Cup tournament.
And for the Sharks, the worst loss.
...and it ‘only’ took 129 minutes and 3 seconds, the 8th longest game in Stanley Cup Playoffs history (so sayeth TSN).
From Richard Durrett at the Dallas News blog:
The half asleep AAC is now fully awake. Stars headed to the Western Conference Finals.
Wow. What a game. Third longest game in Stars playoff history.
Quite fitting that captain Brenden Morrow got it. He’s been leading this team during the playoffs. He got it on the PP. Marty Turco was sensational. So was Evgeni Nabokov.
The Dallas/Detroit series opens Thursday and the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia series opens Friday. [Complete schedule here]
Update 3:08am ET: More from the AP via the Dallas Morning News here. Game highlights on video below, plus a few more notes.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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