Some assignments are harder than others.
With the San Jose Sharks coming off a 3-0-1 stretch and having the NHL Pacific Division lead in their grasp Monday, finding 10 reasons Todd McLellan should be on the hot seat looked like a challenge. Not to mention the article of the same theme I wrote just over two weeks ago.
Then they lost at home to one of the seven worst teams in the NHL (Anaheim) when a win would have jumped them from ninth to third. That team had just lost at home the night before and was playing a goalie who had only one start this entire season.
The Sharks were out-shot in each of the first two periods, falling short 40-30 for the game. They attempted just two more shots and blocked two more, but missed the net 15 times. They also missed opportunities at the net, including a glorious chance passed up on to dish the puck into the crowd.
Analysts, coaches and players agreed that turnovers led to too many easy scores for Anaheim. Yet in the official statistics, San Jose had one giveaway fewer and seven more takeaways.
At the very least, turnovers led to two Ducks scores. They were also guilty of watching the puck on one goal and not picking up a man on another.
Veteran teams at the edge of the playoff picture cannot afford to make rookie mistakes repeatedly. That was four goals that the goalies could not be blamed for. The Sharks have not scored five goals in five weeks, so their poor defending doomed this game from the start.
Poor fundamentals cost them this game, and that reflects on a coach. This is why a list like this worth another look.
However, I want to make something clear: I do not think Todd McLellan should be fired before the end of the season unless there is a complete collapse.
He is also not to blame; the players are. If the team is planning on dumping some of the talent, keeping McLellan and Doug Wilson could be justified.
But even if they are not going to keep McLellan should the team miss the playoffs, firing him now would not have the shakeup effect I was advocating had the Sharks have lost two more games. There simply is not time for it to affect things.
However, here are 10 reasons the team is justified in firing him after the season if his team does not survive the first round...