Since the franchise's least successful postseason effort in club history, San Jose Sharks fans have been waiting in anticipation for a statement, or better yet, an explanation of what action the Sharks ownership group was going to take with their head coach and general manager.
On Wednesday, Sharks Sports & Entertainment issued the following statement (h/t San Jose Mercury News):
"The on-ice results of our team this season are not acceptable to our fans, our organization or our ownership group. We will not lower our expectation that every San Jose Sharks team we put on the ice is capable of winning the Stanley Cup. Despite the fact that our team has experienced a tremendous amount of success over the past eight seasons, we are not satisfied with those results and neither is Doug. The ownership group has confidence that Doug will make the necessary changes to ensure our club remains among the NHL's elite franchises."
It's a typical statement you would expect from a club that's found itself in the Western Conference finals for the last two seasons, and one of course with their fair share of high-caliber players.
What most fans may not realize is something that was not in that statement.
After every season, general managers hold end-of-season meetings with players. This is to basically find out how they feel their play was, discuss incentive bonuses and of course focus on what will be done next season to improve the team. These meetings with the players usually last between 45 minutes to one hour.
Several of the end-of-season meetings lasted up to three hours this time.
The fact that these meetings lasted that long is more than alarming, especially if you are someone who understands the business side of the sport.
It would also hint that head coach Todd McLellan has lost his locker room, and his exit is almost guaranteed.
In this edition, I would like to outline five possible candidates that we could see succeed McLellan and replace him behind the Sharks bench next season.
Bob Hartley is one of my personal favorites of the current available candidates to coach an NHL team.
Aside from coaching the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup, his 193 wins behind the bench for the Avalanche are a franchise record to this day. He is also the only coach in Avalanche history to record 40 or more wins in his first four seasons as the club's head coach.
Do those accolades remind you of anyone in particular?
Of course Hartley was eventually fired by the Avalanche and became victim of a horrible experiment known as the Atlanta Thrashers.
Even in Atlanta, Hartley made things work.
Of course, having players like Ilya Kovalchuk and Dany Heatley made things a little bit easier, but when the 2003 death of Dan Snyder and the loss of Heatley for the majority of the season hit Hartley during his first full season as head coach, the wheels continued to turn.
Setting new team records in wins and points, the Thrashers finished second in the Southeast.
Under Hartley's guidance, rising star Ilya Kovalchuk became a three-time winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy. Hartley was eventually fired from Atlanta as well after starting the 2007-08 season with six consecutive losses, even though they had won the division the previous year.
The Sharks are a much more fluid team than the Thrashers were during Hartley's tenure in Atlanta, and several of the Sharks' playing styles can be compared to the likes of the players he worked with in Colorado.
Maybe not the same caliber, but the style is one Hartley can exploit for sure.
Craig MacTavish is a player who can easily relate to the guys on the ice considering he was in their position for 17 years of his life.
MacTavish has a polished resume both as a player and a head coach.
Perhaps best known for taking the final faceoff that secured the New York Rangers' 1994 Stanley Cup victory, MacTavish has also tendered a lifetime .528 winning percentage in eight seasons as the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers.
It of course culminated with him leading the Oilers to the Stanley Cup finals in a thrilling seven-game series where they eventually fell short to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Currently, MacTavish is the head coach of the AHL's Chicago Wolves, but like every other person involved with the sport of hockey, the NHL is where you want to be.
Mike Keenan is easily one of the most storied of the current NHL head coaches available.
If his credentials don't say enough, his coaching style does, especially for a team like the Sharks that just needs one more push to finally get themselves over the hill.
Keenan has a very unique coaching style that pushes players to their absolute physical and mental limits. Hockey has always been 80 percent of a mental game to me, and the Sharks really could use someone that's going to get into their faces once in awhile.
Michel Therrien might be a name that most Sharks fans are unfamiliar with, or even more, a name that hockey fans have forgotten about.
Therrien is currently a scout for the Minnesota Wild, but is known for coaching the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals in 2008. He also had a tenure with the Montreal Canadiens in which he posted a respectable 77-77-37 all-time record.
Therrien spends most of his days preparing scouting reports for a team that won't win a Stanley Cup in the next decade, and the remainder of his free time is spent skating at Montreal's Bell Centre.
It's safe to compare the talent level of that Penguins' roster to what the Sharks have currently. If given the chance, Therrien might possibly have the methods to push the Sharks to the next level.
Marc Crawford is by far my favorite candidate to become the next head coach of the Sharks. There's no doubt that he's one of the most established coaches without a job right now.
Crawford has coached 15 seasons in the NHL and has a Stanley Cup and Jack Adams award sitting at the top of his trophy case.
When Crawford was sacked by the Dallas Stars, I don't think there was anyone who was more surprised than me.
Currently, you can find Crawford as an analyst on TSN; he has committed to coaching Team Canada's Spengler Cup Team, but I'm sure he'd like to be back coaching at the NHL level.