Thursday, September 1, 2011

San Jose Sharks: Should Todd McLellan's Coaching Seat Be Getting Warm?

Many teams around the NHL are looking at this headline with pure amusement right now, but we'll address it nonetheless. The San Jose Sharks have been at such a high level for so long that they deserve to be called one of the elite franchises in this and any other sport, yet the ultimate prize that is the Stanley Cup has forever escaped them.

Zero Stanley Cups and zero Stanley Cup Finals appearances will lead to the coaching situation discussion getting a little hotter if San Jose does not sniff the Cup this season. As for Todd McLellan, any coach in San Jose is going to be brutally critiqued after so many winning seasons and no hardware to boast about.

A city can only go so long without scoffing at the fact that the Sharks have not been to the Stanley Cup Finals in their 20-year history. Maybe that does not sound that bad, but for how long the team has been considered front-runners for the Stanley Cup year-in and year-out, there will be some sort of uprising deep down in the competitive spirits of these fans.

McLellan has coached this Sharks team for three years now, since coming over from Detroit. In those three years, he has three Pacific division titles, three years of well over 100 points and two of three Western Conference Final appearances.

His resume speaks for itself in San Jose, but when is the time to start questioning if this man can take the team to the Stanley Cup Finals?

The answer to that is "not soon."

What more could you want in a coach?

He is young, has tremendous knowledge of the game and can play strategy with the best coaches in the NHL.

Should McLellan's coaching seat be getting warm, though?

I don't see why not.

Has he been given one of the best rosters in the NHL? Has he hoisted the Cup in San Jose?

If we're getting picky, then yes, his seat should be getting warm. However, McLellan can continue the tradition of winning in San Jose, and, as far as I'm concerned, he is the only coach in the NHL that can get this team over the hump and into the Finals.

GM Doug Wilson has done a great job in giving every coach that has played for him a roster fully capable of going all the way. This season may be the best opportunity, though (which is what we say every year).

McLellan's seat is lukewarm right now, but the team he has in front of him this season has a "Cup or bust" type of mentality and look to it, and McLellan is at the forefront of that.

If this season is a failure, that is to say anything less than a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, expect his seat to get that much hotter heading into the following season.

Whether he deserves that burden or not is up to public opinion.

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