Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

And then there were three new Sharks ACs

The way the Sharks are installing new ACs, you’d think we’re having a heat wave. (Dah-dum-dum.)  It has been warm, actually.  It took several minutes for my tap to run cold just now, and it’s after seven.

Just as I finished listening to the conference call and interviews with Larry Robinson (KNBR, 95.7, Rusanowsky), the Sharks announced that they’ve hired Jim Johnson. I’m still giddy from the first announcement.  What next?  Will the next -son be Albert’s, David’s or Robert’s?  Is there a good goaltending coach by one of those names?

David Pollak fielded that question on Twitter, minus the name specifics. He says no, there won’t be a change in that department:

@PollakOnSharks: Wayne Thomas, Corey Scwab continue to share duties. RT @perniciousducks good time to ask about a permanent goalie coach in SJ proper?

While the addition of Robinson as Associate Coach didn’t necessarily mean anyone would be leaving, bringing Johnson on as an Assistant does mean that one of last season’s Assistants won’t return. Todd McLellan told The Mercury News that it will be Matt Shaw who moves on.

Like Robinson, Johnson most recently coached in the East. His future with the Washington Capitals was uncertain during their search for a new Head Coach, and George McPhee gave Doug Wilson permission to talk to Johnson.

On the one hand, this recent Eastern experience means the new ACs aren’t as familiar with specific players and teams out here as someone from the West would be.  That may be a good thing. If you’re trying to make a change, you should get input from outside the box.  Johnson has spent time coaching in the West, with the Coyotes, but not since 1999-2000.  His perspective should be nice and fresh.

Mike Ricci will also take on increased responsibility, likely to do with the penalty kill.  More details have not been shared, but it’s worth noting since Ricci was one of the names being floated as a possible promotion from within.  I look forward to see him put some of his ideas in play.

The Sharks are clearly going out of their way to bolster their defensive knowledge base.  On the subject of whether this means someone used to coaching defense will have to handle offense, Johnson said:

“That you’re making an assumption,” Johnson said about his coaching forwards. “That’s going to be Todd’s decision to put the staff where he feels it’s best for the organization.” -The Washington Times

I could worry that offense has been forgotten on this shopping spree.  Maybe the offense will be fine if the team has enough confidence in their defensive capabilities.  I’m sure the team’s top scorers can remember how it’s done.  Surely Matt Shaw doesn’t take all the keys to the power play with him.  Of course there are other ways of helping the offense:

@PollakOnSharks: This from AZ radio guy who broke Steve Nash story. RT @Gambo620 Second team to offer Shane Doan a contract is the San Jose Sharks

To be continued, no doubt…

Of course the first thing that people started talking about with the Robinson hire was whether or not he was here to replace McLellan if the need arose.  Johnson was asked the same question:

“I don’t think [being an NHL head coach is] my ultimate goal,” he said. “My goal is to get better every day as a coach and as I continue to grow in coaching and work with great people and good organizations like I did in Washington and now I have an opportunity in San Jose, I think that’s where you really become the coach.” -The Washington Times

Long term I don’t know if that makes sense, he is only 49 and any time your see brackets you can speculate about what was being interpreted for you.  But it’s nice to have everyone say it.  Planning to steal your boss’s job is not a good place to start.  When Robinson answered the question, his tone became a little firm, as if he’d been waiting for it and really wanted to impress his answer on us.  So while anything is possible—coaches have come out of retirement—I think the staff is at a good starting point.  Everyone is eager to help get this team lined out and back on track.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: jim+johnson, larry+robinson, mike+ricci

Comments

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Solid summer for McClellan and Wilson:

- Woodcroft back up to the press box to do the eye in the sky work that he did brilliantly for the Wings in 07 and 08,
- Brad Stuart sings giving them one of the top 3 deepest defensive rosters in the league
- Robinson is arguably one of the top defensive coaches in the game, Johnson is a fine one as well.
- One of the top destination candidates for Shane Doan

This is going to be a real interesting team to watch next spring.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/11/12 at 11:45 AM ET

petshark's avatar

I agree. I am very excited about the beefed-up coaching staff.  It feels like a vote of confidence that they chose to come here, even if Robinson had personal reasons.  Maybe they see something they can work with?

I’m not usually a fan of bringing in a pricey free agent, or trading for one, but it seems like the Sharks could just squeeze Doan in if he were willing to take a shorter contract than they say he’s asking for.  I don’t see Wilson moving out any of the mainstays to make room for Doan, so I think I’d like that addition—just not for four+ years.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 07/11/12 at 02:43 PM ET

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About Petshark: Talking Stick

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net