In a move the San Jose Sharks and their high-profile hire agree is to be taken at face value and nothing more, Hall of Famer Larry Robinson joined the organization as an associate coach.
This is not to suggest Robinson, whose name appears on the Stanley Cup nine times, is waiting in the wings to replace Todd McLellan should the Sharks decide to fire their head coach. Robinson made it clear he's here to take direction from McLellan, and he has no desire to climb back behind the NHL bench as the head honcho.
"I wouldn't want to be a head coach knowing there's somebody with a gun behind me, waiting to shoot me whenever something went wrong," Robinson told the San Jose Mercury News. "We will work out things when they're not going right, but you've got the best head coach here in the best position possible, and I don't see any problems at all."
McLellan will be starting his fifth season with the Sharks in the fall, though general manager Doug Wilson waited almost two months after the team was eliminated from the playoffs to make that announcement public.
"From my end of it," McLellan told the paper, "I'm very confident in the job that I do and that our staff brings to the organization. I think players and management respect that."
Robinson was an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils last season, helping guide the team to the Stanley Cup finals. His decision not to return was family-driven, as he wanted a job where his wife could be closer to their grandchildren, two of whom live in Redondo Beach in Southern California.
Robinson, 61, won six Stanley Cups as a defenseman with the Montreal Canadiens. Since his retirement in 1992, he has been a head coach with the Los Angeles Kings as well as a head coach and assistant with the Devils. He won the Stanley Cup as a head coach, assistant and consultant with the Devils.