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McLellan on job security: “I’m not concerned one bit”

Dec 15, 2011, 1:21 PM EDT

Todd McLellan AP

Despite a 3-5-2 stretch that’s seen his team drop to eighth in the Western Conference, San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan says he isn’t worried about losing his job.

“I’m not concerned one bit,” McLellan told the Mercury News. “I know what we do every single minute to get better, and I know our players are working hard every single minute.”

The Sharks have come under fire recently for their lackluster play and sputtering offense. They’ve scored just 20 goals over the last 10 games and received harsh criticism from Versus NHL analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones during a recent 4-3 shootout loss in Colorado.

“It’s alarming to see how flat their stars are in this game,” Jones said.

“I don’t know how to explain the flatness of his team, but it’s so apparent,” Milbury added. “This is a team that looks very lethargic.”

McLellan might not be expressing concern publicly, but privately he must wonder if his job’s truly safe. Five NHL coaches were turfed prior to the 30-game mark, including those of California’s other two NHL teams, Los Angeles (Terry Murray) and Anaheim (Randy Carlyle). This is an interesting development given last year was the first time in NHL history that the Kings, Ducks and Sharks all made the playoffs. Expectations were high for all three Cali teams heading into this year, and two have already axed their coaches for failing to meet them.

That said, McLellan seems to have the support of Sharks GM Doug Wilson.

“We believe in this group and we believe in this staff. We look forward to this team playing up to its capabilities,” he said. “We know we haven’t been playing at the level we’re capable of, and that’s because we’re not playing a full, 60-minute game.

“That’s how you win in this league. And we will fix this.”

  1. jrod691 - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    EARTH TO MCLELLAN:

    Your job should not be safe. If you are an NHL coach that has to shuffle lines every single night that is a sign that YOU ARE NOT DOING YOUR JOB.

    The problem is bigger than who Jumbo and Patty are playing with. The problem is the SYSTEM that you guys run. If you just watch a Sharks game you can see that there are major problems in the Sharks strategy in all three zones.

    Offense: Your system seems to consist of cycling three forwards in the corner then pass it out to a D-man to take a low-percentage heavily contested shot. Earth to Todd: It hasn’t worked since you lost to the Blackhawks in the WCF. You changed it for a while at the end of last season and actually forced the goalie to move in the crease to make a save (your players were passing the puck laterally).

    Defense: Your system seems to instruct the defensemen not to pressure the puck carrier until he has reached the circles in your zone. Earth to Todd: It hasn’t worked in any of the three years that you have coached this team.

    Neutral Zone/Breakout: Your system seems to be that a trailing forward or (more often) defenseman passes the puck up the boards to the a forward skating towards the blue line. This leaves the other forward(s) standing still at the blue line and forces the skating forward to deal with a pass that is very difficult to handle and more often than not they lose the puck. Earth to Todd: It hasn’t worked in any of the three years that you have coached this team.

    This guy reminds me Lloyd Carr the old Michigan football coach. He refuses to ever make any sort of strategic adjustment to his game plan and once the other coach figures it out the Sharks are toast. Earth to Todd: EVERY COACH HAS FIGURED IT OUT.

    /end rant

  2. tommytd - Dec 15, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Take your time fixing things out there, we’re in no hurry! GO BLACKHAWKS.

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