Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sharks Have a Coach

The San Jose Sharks announced that they will announce tomorrow (??) Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Todd McLellen as their new head coach.

Without knowing much about McLellen himself (but, then I'm not exactly golfing buddies with many potential coaching hires), I'm excited about him getting the job. Let's look for a minute at a decision tree of sorts leading to McLellen...

Decision one - retain or dismiss Ron Wilson: Thank you, Doug Wilson... I would have liked to have seen Wilson let go after the playoff loss to the Red Wings a year ago, but after the defeat at the hand of the Stars, it was definitely time for a change. The question for many around replacing Wilson was who you would hire instead, but me thinks that wasn't as important as simply the need for a change.

Decision two - Go with NHL head coaching experience or a first-timer: There was no shortage of candidates out there who had coached previously... some as recently as this season. The names John Tortorella, Joel Quinville and Pat Burns were bandied about as potential hires, but additionally there were coaches with minor league experience like Kevin Dineen and John Anderson that some viewed as ready for the big time. I've been partial to the idea of a first-time coach not because of an aversion to NHL experience, but because each of the experienced candidates would come with some known flaws. Someone unknown to the general public could of course have shortcomings, but there's something to be said for a completely fresh slate.

Decision three - If you assume that the hire will be someone unknown, then it's simply a matter of the decision gets made and we now see what the results will be. No idea what the Sharks will be like under McLellen, but I can say this... it will be fun to see.

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