“I want to thank Todd and his staff for their years of service to the San Jose Sharks organization,” said general manager Doug Wilson on Monday. “Sometimes a change is best for all parties involved but nothing will take away from what Todd and his staff accomplished here over the last seven seasons.”
Throughout those seven seasons, McLellan put up a record of 311-163-66 in the regular season. His teams made the post-season ever season except 2014-2015. The trouble came when attempting to move on through the playoffs, as the Sharks never really had much luck in that department. Despite high expectations, they saw three first round exits and really blew it against the Los Angeles Kings last season. The writing was always on the wall, it seemed.
And now news has emerged that the “culture of the team” wasn’t that great either.
Between the rift between Joe Thornton and management and the comments from Logan Couture, one has to imagine the locker room in San Jose isn’t exactly a happy place to be. The players have traditionally supported the coaching staff, as is usually the case, but a lot of the trouble seems to involve the aforementioned Wilson.
In this instance, it looks like McLellan has chosen to fall on his sword and the team was more than happy to have him do it. It keeps Wilson out of the line of fire for now and allows the beginning of a new beginning in San Jose, so to speak.
“We don’t want to rush,” Wilson said when asked about finding a replacement. “I want to get the right person. There’s people that would like to coach here. We’ve got a lot of good players. We’re in a good position to go forward. There will be some coaches that will probably become available in the next little while. So I don’t want to rush the decision from a shortened pool.”
The Sharks will pay McLellan over the final year of his contract unless he’s hired to coach another NHL team. If he is hired, the Sharks will receive a third round draft pick.
The bottom line here is that there’s something in the water in San Jose. The situation isn’t good, to say the least, and the firing mutual departure of McLellan isn’t a solution to anything. There’s still trouble between Thornton and Wilson, there’s still a “toxic” environment in that locker room and there’s still a poor culture on this team.
Can a new coach help fix what ails these Sharks? Hard to say. But Wilson and Co. have to hope that there’s a little magic to be found during what could be a long, hot, difficult summer for this hockey team.