Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News,
It was a 12-word mini-manifesto, offered in a staccato bite for maximum impact.
"I want players that want to play here," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told me, "not just live here."
That was pretty much all Wilson chose to say in our phone conversation last week, and really, it was all Wilson had to communicate.
When he said the words, I actually stopped and asked if he meant to say what I think he just said.
So Wilson repeated: "I want players that want to play here, not just live here."
OK then. That's a very different tone than we've heard from Wilson after past Sharks playoff disappointments, and this time he definitely meant it to be different.
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
When he was acquired from Boston, he made a solid team a Stanley Cup contender overnight. If the 34-year-old retired tomorrow, he’s already done enough in his career to merit consideration for the Hockey Hall of Fame, and it’s primarily for his accomplishments during his eight-plus seasons in teal.
The Cup never came, though. And, now it could be time for Thornton and the Sharks to amicably part company.
To be clear, Thornton is far from only player to blame for the Sharks’ historic collapse to the Kings in the first round, or for any of their previous failures in the postseason. Against Los Angeles last month, the team’s core players all failed in spectacular fashion in the final three games of the series loss, the goaltending was unsteady, and the defense missed its most vital cog in Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the final two games.
But at the conclusion of that collapse, no one in the organization argued that San Jose didn’t have the talent to match up with the Kings, and a 111-point regular season backs that up. Instead, general manager Doug Wilson and head coach Todd McLellan pointed to the coaching staff’s message inexplicably not getting through to the players....
Comcast SportsNet Sharks analyst Bret Hedican said: “It does speak to the leadership group, and is saying to me that the leadership either isn’t on board with what he’s trying to do, or strictly isn’t bought in to understanding what it’s going to take to win. … If the leadership has not bought in with the understanding of what it’s going to take to win, then it probably explains why we’re in the predicament that we’re now in, watching the Sharks get beat by the L.A. Kings for the last couple of years.”
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
“We will look. We’ll explore everything. But, when you’re turning the team over to a younger core, you’ve got to be careful who you bring in from the outside that ends up superseding them. We’re giving them the opportunity. Here’s your team," Wilson said.
“It doesn’t mean we won’t add people, whether it be trades or potential free agency going forward, but if you asked me right now, I would say probably not.”...
The general manager’s ornery tone has been palpable since the team blew a 3-0 series lead against the Kings more than three weeks ago, and was still evident on the Comcast SportsNet set.
“What we want to do is turn this over to people that are going to come and play. We don’t care what your age is, there is – I’m saying this with all due respect – there’s no equity in anybody that’s been here. With our performance of what we just went through, this is where we’re at.
“You want to come in take the net as a goalie? Take the net. You want to be a young defenseman and grab it? Take it. … This is a great opportunity for people to come in and play the way that the coaches need them to play.”
via David Pollak of Working the Corners,
... there’s been a lot of speculation across the NHL that Ryan Miller might be a good fit in San Jose now that the St. Louis Blues have told him his services were no longer required.
I’ll agree that he might be if the Sharks were in their usual mode, looking for that one last puzzle piece to get them over the hump.
But Wilson has said that is not where the team is this off-season. That this is the year the Sharks may have to take one step back to eventually move two steps forward. And hard to see their interest in Miller (or his interest in them as far as that goes) because of that.
Sure Wilson could scrap his blueprint if the Sharks were 100 percent certain they were getting the right puzzle piece after all these years. But Miller time in St. Louis – both late in the regular season and in the playoffs – only points them in a different direction.
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
Adding Miller would run counter to Wilson’s stated goal of getting younger, but the general manager would still have Stalock, who will turn 27 over the summer, as well as prospects Harri Sateri and Troy Grosenick, both 24, getting more experience at the AHL level.
Miller could command between $5-to-$6 million per season, a number that likely dropped after his performance in St. Louis. Term could be an issue, too, as the Sharks probably wouldn't want to go more than two or three years on an aging goaltender. Still, depending on what other moves Wilson makes – he’s already cleared more than $11 million in cap space with Dan Boyle's departure and a buyout Marty Havlat looming – looking into Miller’s potential interest in the Bay Area may be worth doing.
via the San Jose Sharks,
San Jose Sharks majority owner Hasso Plattner today released the following statement:
“I am very disappointed in the way our team finished the 2013-14 season. Gaining a 3-0 series advantage and being unable to advance is a major blow to our organization and fan base. Our teams have been consistently built to go deep into the playoffs and this goal won't change.
Doug Wilson and I have met over the past two weeks. He has shared his support of the coaching staff, as well as his recommended changes to our team’s roster, and he has my complete support moving forward.
I want to thank our extremely loyal fans and partners for their continued support and to let them know that we are not satisfied with the status quo of the last several seasons.
I am confident that with the proposed changes, Doug and his staff will build a team we can all be proud of.”
With Mother’s Day weekend many were out with family. I, myself, spent yesterday at my mom’s house getting asked by my family for hockey updates and being asked to recap the playoffs thus far. Here are some hockey highlights (or low lights depending on what way you look at it).
In case you missed it Friday kicked off the start of the preliminary round for the IIHF World Championship taking place in Minsk, Belarus.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
“We can’t keep what we have, or at least keep the same approach. Something has to change,” Todd McLellan said on Friday. “It’s two years in a row losing to that team, and it’s a very good team, too. Let me make that very clear.
“But, it’s two years in a row losing to them. And, in fact, when we thought we had improved our group – which I believe we did – we got a weaker performance (in 2014) than we got the year prior.”...
The more intriguing options are up front in Pavelski and Burns, both of whom are under contract for the next several years at reasonable prices and are in the prime of their careers.
Pavelski is coming off of a 41-goal season, third in the NHL. If there were ever a time to sell high on the 29-year-old, this would be it, as the majority of Pavelski’s goals came on the wing of Thornton. His five-year, $30 million contract extension (that includes a limited no-trade clause) kicks in this summer, and the Wisconsin native could get a huge return if he became available.
As for Burns, who just completed his first full NHL season as a forward, his streaky play carried over into the playoffs. There aren’t many players in the game like the six-foot-five, 230-pound 29-year-old, who can take games over with his physicality and shot when he’s playing well. He also brings with him the option of returning to the blue line, where he didn’t work out in San Jose. Maybe he could fit in somewhere in the Eastern Conference, where teams typically play a less structured style. He’s set to make $5.67 million for the next three years.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Todd McLellan may be the most hydrated coach in the NHL behind the San Jose Sharks’ bench because he always has a water bottle in his hands, taking healthy swigs throughout the game but on Wednesday night in game seven, there wasn’t enough aqua to cool the raging fire in his gut as the Sharks gassed a 3-0 series lead to the Los Angeles Kings.
Now the question is whether one of the game’s best coaches and best guys will pay for the lowest of low Sharks’ results–only the fourth team in NHL history to win the first three games and lose the next four. McLellan, one of the NHL’s sharpest coaching minds, in his sixth year in San Jose, would be out of work about 10 minutes. About as long as it might take Brendan Shanahan, the new Toronto Maple Leafs’ president, who used to play for McLellan in Detroit when McLellan was Mike Babcock’s right-hand man, to pick up the phone if Shanahan doesn’t want Randy Carlyle back as coach.
McLellan, who was hired in San Jose after the Wings’ Cup ride in 2008, is a heckuva coach. You would be hard-pressed to find anybody better, but hockey’s a playoff results-driven business.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Neither general manager Doug Wilson nor coach Todd McLellan should be sacrificed just for the sake of it – just to show the Sharks are doing something and won’t settle for the same old, same old; just to sell change. Firing McLellan would be the simplest and perhaps the most effective move, but the Sharks would need to upgrade. Whom would they hire to put this particular group over the top?
The core should not be broken up. The core cannot be broken up. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau just signed extensions through 2016-17 with no-movement clauses, so they aren’t going anywhere if they don’t want to.
Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are all signed to long-term deals. Tomas Hertl has two years left on his entry-level deal. Does anyone think they aren’t players to build around?
The Sharks need to take a long, hard look at themselves. Maybe they’ll part with Dan Boyle, a pending unrestricted free agent, and buy out Martin Havlat, who has a year left on his contract and a no-movement clause. Maybe they need to find a new goalie, if they don’t trust Antti Niemi anymore.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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