Saturday, June 4, 2011

San Jose Sharks: Reasons To Part Ways With Todd McLellan

No, San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan will not be fired this offseason. Not after a year in which the team went from being potentially out of the playoffs to almost having the best record in the Western Conference.

McLellan dealt with the loss of key players in the offseason, as well as injuries during the season. For all the Sharks' coach had to put up with, the season seemed to be a success, for the most part.

However, McLellan is a year or two away from being thrown into the "coaches that just couldn't do enough" pile.

In three years as coach, the Sharks have been ousted in the first round once, and twice in the Western Conference Finals. All the while, they were boasting one of the most talented rosters in the NHL.

During this next season, McLellan will need consistent production from the superstars of the team, in order for the rumor mill to stop dictating his future in San Jose.

After Three Years, Still No Stanley Cup

Todd McLellan took over the Sharks three seasons ago as the next great coach in the NHL. Now in 2011, he has yet to bring a Stanley Cup to San Jose.

That is not how it was supposed to be.

The Sharks have run into far better opponents when they were eliminated from the playoffs these last three seasons.

They did not match up well against the Anaheim Ducks in 2009, and were over-matched against the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks in 2010 and 2011.

This kind of productivity will only last for so long, as the fans of San Jose have wanted a Stanley Cup for some time, after coming so close so many times. McLellan was supposed to fix that, but has yet to do it.

The Sharks are no closer to a Stanley Cup now than they were back when McLellan was hired in 2008.

There has always been that one team that has stood in their way. Although the Sharks have gone to the Western Conference Finals two year in a row, they have been overmatched, outplayed and outclassed in both of those series.

Three years later, San Jose is still a long way from a Stanley Cup.

Not Sure How To Handle Superstars

The Sharks have several big names on their roster. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley are all considered to be among the upper eshelon of well-known names in the NHL.

As far as Thornton and Marleau go, they will have their 'off days,' but you can expect that those two players will have more 'on days' than off. It was proven this last season.

It is Dany Heatley, however, that seems to have McLellan a little confused as how to use him.

Heatley is a superstar.

In nine seasons in the NHL, Heatley has scored over 30 goals six times.

It is with the Sharks, though, that Heatley has had problems. After back-to-back years of 39 goals for the Sharks, he finished at 26 goals in 2010-11.

Not since Heatley's third year in the league, in which he only played in 31 games, has Heatley not scored over 30 goals or finish under 70 points.

If the Sharks are going to win a Stanley Cup, Heatley will need to produce.

It is for that reason that McLellan does not seem to know how to handle superstars. He has gotten used to Thornton and Marleau and their tendencies, but it is Heatley that he cannot seem to get effective production from since joining the Sharks.

For his coaching sake, I hope McLellan figures it out.

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