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Boughner explains biggest challenges Sharks face right now originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Sharks don't exactly have it easy right now.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Sharks will hold training camp in Scottsdale, Ariz. and will remain on the road throughout all of January. Not only are they in the extremely tough West division, but 14 of their first 18 games will also be played on the road. Coach Bob Boughner, who took over for Peter DeBoer last December, is facing plenty of challenges at the beginning of a historic hockey season.
On Wednesday, Boughner explained the biggest obstacle early on for the Sharks.
"The biggest challenges for us is we feel we're bringing some change to the way we play," Boughner said. "The window of opportunity to try and get all those changes down and perfect them and make them in sync in a couple weeks or so, that's really what our focus has been on the last couple of weeks -- planning training camp, what those practice plans are gonna look like, what we're gonna show in video, how we're gonna get through practice.
"The biggest thing is we're getting all this new information and trying to perfect it and make sure practices are up to speed, making sure practices are as much game-speed as possible. There's no preseason games and that's the tough part. You want to try and get your team ready, but besides scrimmaging and practicing, there's not a lot of game-type situations."
The Sharks were the worst team in the Western Conference during the shortened 2019-20 season. They went just 29-36-5, and 14-20-3 under Boughner. Last season was the first time the Sharks failed to qualify for the playoffs since the 2014-15 season.
Boughner knows this team must be better, so he's bringing some changes to how the Sharks take the ice. Implementing those changes, however, isn't easy during a rushed training camp and no preseason games.
San Jose's newest coach believes starting on the road and having training camp away from home could be an advantage and help with team chemistry. With a 56-game season and playing in a stacked division, though, the Sharks can't afford a slow start. Making changes on the ice early on won't be easy, but Boughner knows the Sharks must face these challenges head-on.