As if it was not a virtual reality that San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan was going to stay on as the team's coach next season, CBC's Elliotte Friedman (h/t Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports blog Puck Daddy) is reporting that McLellan was indeed told just three days after the season ended that he would be back with the team in 2012-13.
Doug Wilson apparently told Todd McLellan three days after the season ended that the Sharks' bench boss was staying. Odd that there's been no announcement, but it sounds like there is a debate about assistant coaches.
The report would mean that the Sharks' front office told McLellan of his return to the team before actually publicly backing GM Doug Wilson in a statement last month.
As mentioned before, the report comes as no surprise. McLellan's team made the Western Conference playoffs by surging through their schedule over the last two weeks of the season, claiming the seventh seed.
However, the meltdown that ensued in the first round of the playoffs to the St. Louis Blues, who ended up getting outplayed in every facet of the game by the red-hot Los Angeles Kings, had some hinting at McLellan's job possibly being on the rocks.
It turns out that was not the case, and McLellan has been rightfully given a second chance with the team that he took to the Western Conference Finals in back-to-back seasons.
The issue now seems to be the assistant coaches, which now become the center of attention. Freidman hints that the Sharks may be looking for an assistant coach with more experience and one that could further the miserable penalty kill of last season.
McLellan would fight hard for his guys, but the discussion appears to be about adding someone who had a lengthy NHL career.
Who should the San Jose Sharks hire as assistant coach?
Freidman also hinted at the idea of Bryan Marchment joining McLellan's staff next season, which CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz had some thoughts on. Even former Sharks player Mike Ricci is reportedly in the mix.
Last week, we mentioned Bryan Marchment as a possible contender. Mike Ricci might be another as both already work for the organization. Would McLellan, though, want to go "off the board" and recruit a former Red Wing?
If the report was not proof enough, things are changing in San Jose. The franchise has no choice, though, and now that McLellan's job is safe—or has been safe for a while—things can begin to get moving.
It sounds like nailing out a successful and experienced core of assistant coaches is first on the list, but we can expect much more from this franchise that is dead-set on returning to the top of the Western Conference in 2012-13.
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