SAN JOSE – Larry Robinson is well aware that his legendary career in the NHL, as both a player and a coach, is in its twilight.
Robinson is in his second season as the associate coach on Todd McLellan’s staff. He joined up in the summer of 2012, after the Sharks had a disappointing and inconsistent regular season that ended with a convincing first round defeat.
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He doesn’t want to look too far ahead, but at this point, the 62-year-old can’t commit to a third.
“It’s no different than any other year. If I was 25, I’d say I know what my future is,” Robinson said. “But, I’m getting older. We’ll see. I just take everything a year at a time, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Health also plays a role, and the Sharks’ peripatetic schedule can make things tricky in that regard.
“I got shingles in my left eye about seven years ago so every once in awhile… I keep motioning it. It’s brought on by stress, or fatigue, or [when] I get run down. It stays in your system, so it will flare up every once in awhile. That’s going to have to come into consideration as well, health issues.”
Robinson came to California partly because his grandchildren live in Redondo Beach. He left the Devils the offseason after helping lead them to the Stanley Cup Final as part of Peter DeBoer’s staff.
Other teams expressed interest in hiring Robinson, like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens, but he joined up with the Sharks despite not knowing McLellan personally.
He’s happy with that decision.
“I enjoy the people. I enjoy the organization. I love the guys I’m working with. … One of the finest groups I’ve ever been around,” Robinson said.
One of the best defensemen ever to play the game, Robinson was asked if there’s any player on the Sharks he’s particularly proud of in his tenure here.
“I’m proud of them all. [Dan Boyle] was a guy, when we came here, played a ton of minutes, and accepted the fact that we cut back on some of his minutes in different areas so that he had more to give at the end of the year and more to give on the power play.
“Matty Irwin has come ahead leaps and bounds. I think with [Justin Braun] and [Marc-Edouard Vlasic], they’ve shown what [assistant coach Jim Johnson] and I first saw when we got here. A ton of potential, and now they’re proving it on the ice. I’m proud of all the guys.”
The owner of nine Stanley Cup rings, including six as a player and three as a coach, would like to stay in the game in some capacity regardless of what happens after this season is over.
“I don’t think I ever would like to get out of the game. Certainly, when you’re 60-plus years old and you’re traveling the travel schedule we’ve got, especially this year, it takes its toll on you, for sure.”