The postmortem on the San Jose Sharks' 2011-12 season has started, and Coach Todd McLellan's status for next season is the first and most significant issue.
McLellan completed his fourth season with the Sharks, getting them into the postseason for the fourth time (barely) but losing in five games to the St. Louis Blues after making the Western Conference Finals in 2011.
"I'm very confident in what we do, I'm very confident in the coaching staff and I firmly believe the players believe in us as a group as we believe in them," McLellan said.
He said he and Wilson "have a tremendous relationship, the two of us, and we'll have an opportunity to sit down and talk about the two of us. Just like anything else, we'll look at what we've done and what we can do better."
Wilson, for his part, didn't declare McLellan will be back but also didn't sign his walking papers.
"The review should include all of us. It should start with me. We will go through this period of reviewing everything with this hockey team. That's the process we do every year. It's all about what's right for this organization.
"I believe in Todd. We've gone to the final four, he won a Cup in Detroit, he knows this game. But, there are some things we will all sit down and have to get better [at]. We don't believe in excuses and avoidance, and there are some things that are quite apparent that have to be fixed for us to be successful."
Will McLellan be back?
I've long thought getting into the playoffs would be enough to save his job, but he'll face the same heat as Alain Vigneault with the Vancouver Canucks and Joel Quenneville with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Will ownership decide the coach must be sacrificed for his team's failures? If so, is there actually an upgrade available over the current bench boss? (Which, as Mark Spector notes, is the real question in Vancouver.)
Perhaps, instead, McLellan's assistants take the fall, which has become a reliable statement from management to a struggling team. (And also a harbinger of an eventual firing; see: Toronto, Montreal.)
Among the fixes for the Sharks, according to Mark Emmons of the Mercury News: The penalty kill, which Wilson said has been "awful for two years, and that impacts your game in a big way. That was like an anchor around our ankle."
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