McLellan likely to return as Wilson begins evaluation of Sharks

McLellan likely to return as Wilson begins evaluation of Sharks
May 2, 2014, 12:15 pm
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The Sharks have reached the playoffs all six years under Todd McLellan, but have never advanced to the finals. (USATSI)

SAN JOSE – Todd McLellan’s job as the head coach of the San Jose Sharks appears to be safe.

General manager Doug Wilson will recommend to team ownership that McLellan and staff remain in place for 2014-15. It’s believed that McLellan, who just completed his sixth season behind the bench, has two years remaining on his contract.

The evaluation process of what went wrong as the Sharks lost to the Kings in the first round has already started.

“Our coaching staff is part of that, and they will be,” Wilson said. “My recommendation is that our coaching staff be part of this going forward.”

The timeline for further decisions is “probably 10 days to two weeks,” Wilson said. “Obviously with our ownership group being told and certain players, that will be the process. You make mistakes by having emotions run the day, but … the right decisions will be made by the head, for what’s right for this organization.”

Wilson has not yet spoken to team owner Hasso Plattner.

“I have purposefully not talked to Hasso because the meetings I need to take place, and the recommendation needs to be presented to him with the right process being followed. We’re very fortunate to have him as an owner. We’re very, very fortunate. And he should be extremely disappointed.”

As he did immediately following the Game 7 defeat on Wednesday, McLellan accepted part of the responsibly for the team’s historic loss, in which it squandered a 3-0 series lead against the Kings.

“I took responsibility and I still do for the performance, or lack thereof obviously, of the team,” McLellan said. “With accepting the role as a coach, you accept that responsibility.”

In a final meeting with the team on Friday, Wilson expressed his sour feelings, according to the coach.

“Doug had [a meeting] today with the players and made it very clear how disappointed he was in the whole organization, not just the players,” McLellan said. “That included all of the staff, and anything up and anything down. That’s the way it should be.”

McLellan's staff includes associate coach Larry Robinson and assistants Jim Johnson and Jay Woodcroft. Robinson indicated several months ago that retirement or a reduced role was a possibility.

Some other notable quotes from Wilson:

  • “What’s said in this room stays in this room. To our organization and to our fans, this is not a nick or a scratch. This is an open wound. When the emotions are raw, the emotions should run deep and resonate and live for a long time."
  • “We didn’t get it done. Performance speaks. There’s no sugarcoating it. When you’re up 3-0 in a series, you step on their throat and put them away. They came back and were able to buy and establish their game for four games. We played it for three. It’s not good enough. That’s the truth.”

  • “With all due respect to James Sheppard and Matty Irwin, they can’t be your only goal scorers the last three games. You can’t go [0-for-15] on your power play. That’s the way it is. We got beat by a good hockey team, a hockey team that’s won the Cup. They established their game. We all take responsibility.”

  • On if the Game 5 performance, a 3-0 loss at home, was a head-scratcher: “I wouldn’t use the term head-scratcher. I’d use more severe terms.”

  • On the top guys not getting it done: “We will dig into that really deep. No chance of using injuries as an excuse.” 

    “People talk about guys being ‘good guys.’ Jonathan Toews is a good guy, Anze Kopitar is a good guy. It’s about performing up to your capability when it’s on the line. We will get into that with different people, and we will make decisions accordingly.”

  • “This one should hurt. I do feel for our fans and organization. It should not have happened. It did. We will make some decisions going forward. There are options. Status quo is not one of them.”