Sharks: Boughner Has “Upper Hand” to Return as Coach

The San Jose Sharks, like everyone else right now, aren’t committing to much in terms of NHL team longevity but they have given Bob Boughner the proverbial “upper hand.”

General manager Doug Wilson noted that the head coach was not committed 100 percent for next season after taking his Sharks to a 14-20-3 record after the firing of Peter DeBoer way back on December 11, but he did leave more than a bit of wiggle room for a renewal of sorts.

“Does Bob know our group and have the upper hand in this process? Absolutely,” Wilson said via The Associated Press. “But I think you have to be thorough in this process because we have the time and the opportunity. And when you have time like this you need to utilize it.”

Ah, time. Teams have an abundance of that right now, which means all sorts of decisions could be taking more time than originally anticipated. And those additional weeks if not months of consideration could serve to benefit the likes of Boughner. Or not.

Time can draw certain things to the foreground and it can make realizations like that less-than-stellar record stand out. Or it can draw the eye to the fact that the Sharks were without Erik Karlsson, Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture – all felled to injury after Boughner took over.

When the season paused thanks to COVID-19, San Jose was 15 points out of a playoff spot and 3-8-1 in their last dozen games. They were last in the Western Conference, not exactly a stellar point on the old resume for Boughner.

But extenuating circumstances such as they are, the breather in NHL play could give guys like Boughner a second chance to make a first impression.

“While our results for the year aren’t where we needed them or wanted to be, I was pleased with how some of the overall play improved over the last half of the year,” Wilson said via The Athletic.

Hertl and Karlsson should be go for launch come next season and Couture is having no ill effects after sustaining a concussion on March 8, so a full complement of players could help the cause. And Joe Thornton may or may not be back in a Sharks sweater. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent come summer, but this whole “pause” situation might change that.

Like all other teams, the Sharks are looking ahead to whatever comes next. Whether or not Boughner’s part of the equation remains to be seen, but it’s at least nice to know the door’s open for the opportunity.

Photo credit: National Hockey League

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