Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

The longest meetings: Doug Wilson to stay, nothing else confirmed

The LA Kings have a bus going around Lala Land today, its ultimate destination Game 3 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals at Staples Center.  Their Twitter account is keeping us all updated on its progress.  Because I bought a ticket to a Sharks @ Kings game, I also get emails keeping me informed of the Kings’ adventures, stinging little missives like salt in a wound.

The Sharks ownership group has given Doug Wilson a vote of confidence for the time being.  I can’t say that was the wrong thing to do.  One really bad year shouldn’t erase the value of several very satisfactory years past.  So, no big surprise that Wilson will stay.  Where should he start, fixing this thing?

Few returning Sharks looked like themselves this season.  Most shined in brief stints that lasted only long enough to tease us.  Unless you believe that a hockey team is comprised of so many interchangeable position-marked blocks of stats, it is more difficult to evaluate players on a team that performed badly than on one that did well.  It’s hard to tell the natural stragglers from those who are simply overburdened.

Wilson says that he has not completed the review process with Todd McLellan.  He says the decision about the coaching staff is weeks away.  In my experience, deciding you are not going to change something doesn’t take as long as deciding you will change it and how.  So I expect change in the coaching staff.  No reason to assume the existing coaches will change how they do things- they have been around long enough to do that if they could.

McLellan and Wilson are both having meetings with the players.  I would consider it moderately alarming if McLellan is learning much he didn’t already know.  Unlike Wilson, he has been in a position, even had a duty, to hear and know what the players were thinking all season.  Even if players didn’t want to point fingers or whine, their coach should have been able to get a picture in broad strokes out of them.

Wilson’s player meetings are going on much longer than in seasons past:

The meetings themselves have been lengthy, and Wilson said one particular meeting ran “five times longer” than originally scheduled. Some are taking as long as a couple hours. -Sharks Talk

Sounds like players have a lot to share.  If it was Wilson with so much more to say than before, he would have scheduled accordingly.

Well that’s great, I am glad the guys are talking.  What took them so long?  Isn’t that the definition of a dysfunctional group, if people do not say what is on their minds, you know, as it comes up instead of after everything fell apart?

Are the players just like the fans, they have a lot more to say about failure than success?

Is the problem that the team is stacked with players not inclined to speak up, people who are conflict-averse?  I doubt it. I don’t think you get very far in professional sports if you are easily shut down or overly concerned about hurt feelings.  Besides, good group leadership should account for that if it were the case.  Use a talking stick if you have to, find out what people have to say.

Are they all just making excuses now, trying to save their own asses?  Wouldn’t speaking sooner and winning more games have been a better way to do that?

I do not think the players have all spent the last couple of weeks thinking up long-winded excuses.  I think they are spilling their guts.  I desperately hope that Wilson is listening, understanding, and can find a way to address their concerns.  Clearly he wasn’t able to anticipate them, but that doesn’t mean he can’t do something to help now.  All we know at this point is that he’s the one who has to do it.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: communication, doug+wilson, exit+meetings, todd+mclellan

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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