Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea,
Doug Wilson now gets to do something he hasn’t had to do in more than a decade -- redefine the franchise. His stance on the benefits of incremental change has to change, as the evidence that this team has dead-ended itself is now too overwhelming to ignore or wallpaper.
He has always had owner Hasso Plattner’s ear; now he has to sing a new song. And it isn’t just Joe Thornton that’s the issue. It’s a roster-wide examination that is needed, and an organizational one as well. The old Sharks are dead or close enough to it to require a new Sharks. The question that never had to be asked -- “Do you want to be here?” -- now has to be asked of everyone in the organization, and the answers aren’t as easy to come by as they used to be.
Wilson needs to be good not only at asking the question, but in understanding the answer. If San Jose was once a destination franchise, it is not one currently. In fact, for the next several months, the operation will be defined not by who stays, but by who goes.
And Todd McLellan was the first shot. As in “fired.”
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks and Todd McLellan have mutually agreed to part ways.
In related moves, Assistant Coaches Jim Johnson and Jay Woodcroft, and Video Coordinator Brett Heimlich have been relieved of their duties. Associate Coach Larry Robinson moved into his full-time role of director of player development at the conclusion of the 2014-15 regular season.
“I want to thank Todd and his staff for their years of service to the San Jose Sharks organization,” said Wilson. “Sometimes a change is best for all parties involved but nothing will take away from what Todd and his staff accomplished here over the last seven seasons.”
“San Jose will always hold a special place for me and my family,” said McLellan. “I would like to thank Doug and the Sharks organization for allowing me the opportunity to coach at the National Hockey League level. While we both agree that a change is in the best interest of myself and the team, I’m proud of what we accomplished as an organization.”
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
A little more than a month after Joe Thornton told his general manager to "shut his mouth," the veteran center took two jabs at his coach during Wednesday's locker clean-out session.
No changes were made in the Sharks hierarchy, but Todd McLellan's future remains in doubt. McLellan has said he wanted to discuss his situation with his family before deciding if it made sense to come back for the final year of his contract.
"I have no idea," Thornton said when asked if a coaching change was needed. "Todd has to talk to his family. Maybe he should talk to this family as well in here. We'll see what happens."...
When Thornton was asked, he said failure to make the playoffs shows there is room for improvement as far as team culture. Where would that improvement need to come from?
"Everywhere," he said. "It comes from the coaches, and they bring it down to us. It comes from everywhere."
from Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury News,
Todd McLellan remains the coach of the Sharks, saying Wednesday that he and the organization need more time to decide the next course of action after the team missed the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2003.
McLellan, who has become the winningest coach in franchise history over the last seven seasons, said a decision on his future with the team will probably be made before he leaves April 24 to coach Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.
"The answers you guys are looking for today, I'm not going to be able to give them to you," McLellan said. "I need a little more time, I'm sure the organization needs a little bit more time."
from David Pollak of Working The Corners,
Nobody should be surprised if coach Todd McLellan’s tenure behind the Sharks bench ends Wednesday.
But don’t necessarily expect a conventional firing. Signs indicate that a mutually agreed upon parting of the ways is more likely with both general manager Doug Wilson and McLellan acknowledging it is in everyone’s best interest for him to depart with one year left on his contract.
No muss, no fuss, no blood on anybody’s hands.
Wednesday is locker clean-out time, when players, coach and general manager address the season past and the one ahead. Normally, it comes two days after the final game — not four. A team spokesman said the extra time was needed to accommodate staff doctors, but it might also have been used to frame what happens next.
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
The fates of general manager Doug Wilson and head coach Todd McLellan are uncertain, with McLellan’s status the first question that is likely to get answered over the next few days.
But McLellan, whose reputation has remained as solid as ever despite the circumstances, wasn’t ready to commit to the final year of his contract just yet.
It’s not difficult to see why, and it starts with what happened immediately after last season’s playoff debacle.
Minutes after the Sharks blew their 3-0 series lead to the Kings, McLellan indicated that the coaching staff wasn’t able to get through to the players anymore.
from Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury News,
The Sharks' elimination from playoff contention became official just minutes after they began their last home game of the season Monday night.
Unofficially, it happened well before then.
Roughly two hours before the final seconds ticked off in a 5-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, the Sharks were eliminated from the playoff picture when the Winnipeg Jets beat the Minnesota Wild to move into the second wild-card spot. Nine teams in the Western Conference now have at least 93 points.
With that, the Sharks, stuck on 87 points, find themselves out of the postseason for the first time since 2003, ending the second-longest active postseason streak in the NHL.
from Nichols On Hockey,
Elliotte Friedman was on Calgary’s Sportsnet 690 on Monday morning.
On what he sees as the first shoe dropping with the San Jose Sharks after the season:
“I’ve been told that when – and I have no proof of it – but when the owner stepped in when everybody kind of blew up at each other there, the word I was given was that Joe Thornton was told he was not going anywhere. That he’s going to stay and he’s going to retire a San Jose Shark. Which I do believe is the case. Joe Thornton has made it very clear he’s not getting traded unless he wants to be and he doesn’t want to be.
“And to be perfectly honest, he’s been their second-best player this year. So why would you want to trade him anyway.”
Later in the discussion on the Sharks:
“I’ve heard – I don’t know, I probably shouldn’t be passing along rumors, but what the heck – it’s radio and that’s what we do. Last year, that when this whole thing started and there was a debate about whether or not they wanted to trade him, he basically said: ‘You know what? I’m not moving. If you want to get rid of me, buy me out. Then I can go anywhere I want.’
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
So what went wrong? How did a team that finished with 111 points last season -- tied for fourth best in the NHL -- fall so far?
"We can't look at a single faction of our team, whether it's the youth or the older players or the leadership or the coach or the coaching staff," coach Todd McLellan said this week. "Whatever it might be, we're team-deep as far as where we've put ourselves in the standings."
There is no shortage of things you can point to by looking at stats.
Patrick Marleau is a minus-16 and, with only 17 goals, is having his poorest season offensively since 2007-08. A year ago, Marleau had 33 goals and was even when it came to plus-minus.
Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto, two of the young players around whom the Sharks constructed their rebuild, did not show the improvement that was expected after their rookie seasons. Hertl, in fact, went backward. He has 12 goals in 74 games; last season, he had 15 goals in 37 games. Rookie defenseman Mirco Mueller also struggled at times as he tried to make the jump from junior hockey.
Same Page, Sarah Kwak and Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated discuss a few hockey topics...
Losing three of their past four games has pretty much put the kibosh on the Sharks’ playoff hopes. Following on the heels of several years of postseason frustration, you have to think change is coming to San Jose. Which shoe drops first?
KWAK: Change must come in San Jose, but the Sharks have been parroting that line for the last two years and so far, nothing. So I don’t know if change is coming. If it does, it’ll be GM Doug Wilson because he’s the one who has promised change and then not delivered.
PAGE: Wilson has to go first, right? It’s the order in which these things usually go, and he’s the instigator of the team’s recent dysfunction. It will then fall to the new GM to decide what to do with Todd McLellan and Joe Thornton, though it’s hard to imagine that either will be back with the Sharks next year.
MUIR: Thornton’s not going anywhere. They’ve stripped the C off his sweater, they embarrassed him in public and he doesn’t care (which really speaks to the bigger issue with Jumbo Joe, but that’s not the point of debate here). He’s happy in San Jose and he wants to stay. And with two years left on his contract and full no-movement protection, you can bet that’s exactly what he’s going to do. McLellan and Wilson, though? I think this is it for both of them. Not to wish ill on either man, but this organization needs fresh thinking before it considers a roster overhaul.
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