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‘I’m responsible for this group,’ says McLellan after Sharks first-round collapse

May 1, 2014, 1:39 AM EDT

Todd McLellan

With the San Jose Sharks now eliminated from the playoffs, having coughed up a 3-0 series lead to the L.A. Kings in the first round, there is sure to be increasing speculation about the future of head coach Todd McLellan.

The collapse was finalized Wednesday. The Sharks lost to the Kings in the seventh and deciding game, as L.A. became the fourth team in National Hockey League history to come back from down three-games-to-none to win the series.

Before the post-season got underway, one our Pressing Question segments asked: Can the Sharks get over past playoff hurdles? Well, for 2014 at least, we have the most recent answer.

“I’m responsible for this group,” said McLellan after the decisive loss, as per Elliotte Friedman of CBC.

“Low point since I’ve been here … that’s an easy one to answer,” McLellan added, as per Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun.

His handling of the goalie situation – pulling Antti Niemi twice in the series, then starting Alex Stalock in Game 6 and going back to Niemi in Game 7 – will surely be criticized moving ahead in the coming days.

But the Sharks didn’t get much from their top players as this series continued:

  • Joe Thornton: Zero points in the final four games.
  • Patrick Marleau: Seven points in the first four games, but zero points in the final three.
  • Joe Pavelski: Six points in the first four games, but zero points in the final three.
  • Logan Couture: Zero points in the final five games.

“Their defence just swallowed us up … It’s just so disappointing right now,” said Thornton, as per Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail.

The Sharks were without one of their steadiest defenseman in Marc-Edouard Vlasic for the final two games of the series, after he was injured in the first period of Game 5.

  1. canucks30 - May 1, 2014 at 1:43 AM

    • no - May 1, 2014 at 1:45 AM

      oh boy, another post enhanced by a YouTube dump from canucks30

      hope my phone doesn’t melt trying to load all 37 of them

      • canucks30 - May 1, 2014 at 1:58 AM

      • no - May 1, 2014 at 9:08 AM

        haaaa alright alright

  2. imnotyourbuddyguy - May 1, 2014 at 1:46 AM

    Classy, tough to win with the core of chokers he had to deal with since he took over, plus losing the only D man you can have faith in. Hopefully they fire him so he can find a better situation.

    • blomfeld - May 2, 2014 at 12:11 AM


      So said General John ‘Bell’ Hood to General James ‘Pete’ Longstreet at the close of action on day 2 at Gettysburg, back in early July 1863 … and so must have Coach McLellan said to their ‘smarmy’ GM Wilson today eh ? The bottom line friends is that these people put a knife to ‘our’ throats with the ‘implicit’ intent to kill ? In the end however, we took such knife and shoved it right up their asses ! So while I don’t know about you other 40 year ‘plus’ LA King’s fans here at PHT, for me personally I just ‘love it’ when things like this happen ! :)

      MAY 1ST = WORKER’S DAY = VICTORY DAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  3. imleftcoast - May 1, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    I have a lot of respect McLellan. He would not be dragged into making excuses or throwing anyone under the bus – even defended Niemi. Tough losing Vlasic, but Sharks seemed to have lost all momentum by then.

  4. sharksfan754 - May 1, 2014 at 1:50 AM

    I appreciate Todd standing by his players taking the bullet for them instead if throwing them under the bus but I think this is more on the effort of some players and less his fault. You can prepare a team to win for tens of hours but ultimately it’s the players who have to go out there and want to get it done.

    • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 1:52 AM

      Pavs can score when he wants to but if he could have gotten any sloppier with the puck tonight…

      • faulkingallstar - May 1, 2014 at 2:05 AM

        He had 11 shots tonight and created a ton of chances, wouldn’t pin this game on him. Thornton was awful tonight making bad pass after bad pass over and over again. We have to get rid of him

      • titansrbeast - May 1, 2014 at 2:07 AM

        Oh no I’m not pinning it on any one guy, I’m just saying with 41 goals in the regular season, he missed the open net quite a bit in the last couple games. And yeah Jumbo was nowhere to be seen, same thing with Patty, Cooch…

        There will still most likely only be minor moves, if any with this team going into next season, aside from the fact that I expect Tmac gone.

      • sw19womble - May 1, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        The number of times the puck skipped over Pavelski’s stick the past couple of games – not to mention others.

        Some might call it bad luck, but consistently nervous, fearful play from the Sharks, poor stick-handling, barely any bang-bang plays….

        And it pains me to say it as a Sharks fan, but La Kings played like they wanted to win the last three games. The Sharks just looked like the wanted to hang around and hope the puck somehow drifted into the net for them.

        Appalled, but not surprised. That’s my Sharks and I love them anyway (mostly in the regular season, tho!)

  5. faulkingallstar - May 1, 2014 at 1:55 AM

    The Sharks lost the series in game 5 with their embarrassing effort at home. We need to get rid of Boyle, Mclelan and Thornton. This team just seams to be their own worst enemy every year. They need some new leaders so they can stop having this chokers mentality. They seem to always be waiting for something to go wrong. Really disappointed with this team yet again.

    • namriverrat69 - May 1, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      I’ve got to say my Kings never won until two years ago. After Dean Lombardi came down here after leaving the Sharks, all season ticket holders got a letter from Luc Robitaille asking us to be patient with Kings management. (of course we would be patient – look how many years of falling short of hopes and expectations we had already endured). He said the team was rebuilding and developing young talent through the farm system. The letter said they expected to be able to compete for the Stanley Cup in five years. We were all asked to be patient as this transpired. They already had acquired the core group under Dave Taylor – Brown, Kopitar, Johnson and others. Lombardi signed other players. In 2012 after trading Johnson for Carter three rookies were brought up in the last half of the season, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Slava Voynov. These guys are talented. Last year they brought up Jake Muzzin. This year Tanner Pearson. These really young guys all have contributed to the Kings success. The plan worked. Us fans were as shocked and surprised as everyone when we won in 2012. The Kings have developed a winning mentality and expect to win. They know how hard it is and what it takes to get to the promised land. It also helps to have Jonathan Quick. We haven’t had a really top goal tender since Rogie Vachon and he didn’t have the team in front of him to win the Cup.

      You Sharks fans have a great team. I believe that a team can get into players heads like I think the Kings did as this series wore on. It is an inner struggle but your team has the ability to compete at that level. They just need to get past that one stage. Your guys beat the Kings in 2011.

      The bottom line is winning is an attitude. As In-N-Out teaches their managers, attitudes are caught not taught. You have to develop that within oneself. Your Sharks need an attitude tweaking and they can do it. I do believe McClellan did not make adjustments as effectively as Sutter.

      The Sharks are your team. They gave the best effort they could at the time. You had a great season. I’ve loved my Kings since my first game in 1972. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been a season ticket holder (along with my partners) for over 25 years. It has been so much fun cheering my team on regardless of the heartache. There is always next year became a mantra. They were still my team. Be proud of your Sharks regardless of what anyone else says. They have so much talent they will eventually get there. Believe it.

  6. imnotyourbuddyguy - May 1, 2014 at 2:03 AM

    Same group choked for Doug Wilson when he had Ron Wilson coaching
    Fire Wilson, trade Thorton, Marleau and Boyle find a GM smart enough to know he already has a good coach and retool the team.

  7. 950003cups - May 1, 2014 at 2:14 AM

    GO JUMP OFF THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE!!! You’re a useless bum!! M
    Damn skippy, you’re responsible! YOU SUCK BALLS!

    • strictlythedanks - May 1, 2014 at 3:21 AM

      chill son, shouldnt you be whining about Parise choosing the wild over your team?

  8. jernster21 - May 1, 2014 at 2:51 AM

    McLellan is a good coach. He’s probably going to get fired, but shouldn’t. They need to trade Thornton or Marleau or both. They’ve kept that core of players together and aren’t getting it done…eventually you have to cut the line and start fresh, whether there’s trading them for established NHL players or good draft picks. Also, it seems Niemi is washed up – he was good for a couple years after Chicago but he’s progressively getting worse. Stalock has potential but he might not be the long term answer.

  9. slaugin - May 1, 2014 at 7:06 AM

    Sharks are the MAF of NHL teams

    • jaybaileys - May 1, 2014 at 8:33 AM

      Wrong Fleury has a cup and has never blown a 3-0 series lead, nice try though.

    • imleftcoast - May 1, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      The Broncos of NHL teams

  10. cyggyx1 - May 1, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    cyggyx1 – Apr 30, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    Sharks will choke as always.

  11. billiam55 - May 1, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    anyone who blames this coach is stupid. blame the players.

  12. patthehockeyfan - May 1, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    The Sharks have nothing about which to hang their heads. They had a fantastic season. Congrats to them!

    As far as advancing in the playoffs, it’s obvious the Sharks have the talent. No question about that. I don’t blame McLellan either. It’s a psychological thing, and changing coaches isn’t going to change the mental block the Sharks have about advancing (Mike Milbury’s scathing criticism last night notwithstanding. And, Milbury be damned!).

    I wish the Sharks success in future years. Ditto to their fans.

    A Kings’ fan

    • spitfisher - May 1, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      fantastic season be damned, it s about the cup!

      No body remembers the regular season or how many assists Joe Thorton provided.

      Its about the cup

      • patthehockeyfan - May 1, 2014 at 10:21 AM

        You’re entitled to your opinion, spitfisher. The Sharks, though, could have been one of the 14 teams that didn’t make it to the playoffs.

        I guess it’s a ‘glass half empty’ versus a ‘glass half full’ attitude.

  13. Wineshard - May 1, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    When your team relies on drawing penalties with whiplash and scoring on the PP you are bound to fail in the playoffs when the whistles are put away.

    • sw19womble - May 1, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      But enough about the LA Kings…..

      • imleftcoast - May 1, 2014 at 8:31 PM

        and Bruins

  14. feedmetherock - May 1, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    Firing the coach isn’t going to change the fact that the core of this team has NEVER had playoff success and cannot win in the playoffs. Thornton is the biggest playoff choke artist of them all. Marleau is in the twilight of his career. Gotta change some of the players in the locker room. I would say the track record shows that this is who they are and no coach is going to be able to change the 6 inches between the ears of some of the core members of the team.

  15. earpaniac - May 1, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    He’s a good coach. It’s tough to win win EVERY one of the guys you depend on go completely cold.

  16. spitfisher - May 1, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    Sorry sharks fans, but lets get real here for a moment, You guys lost the series for a number of factors, you guys historically can’t close or should I say have trouble getting to the dance ( Cup finals).
    If you want that to change that you need to build a team that has a balanced attack and disciplined defense and great goaltending. Not one of you should give a rats ass how well you do in the regular season- nobody cares. You also need to take a look at your highest paid veterans, are they bringing you value? Last fall you had the perfect opportunity to make a block buster trade, taking a person of questionable value and getting a lot in return including a future.
    How many times is this, or something close to it year after year become meaningful?
    •Joe Thornton: Zero points in the final four games of playoffs.

    Thorton was traded from Boston for a reason. the reason is Bruins management early on realized that he lacks leadership to build a team around. They cut bait in favor of Bergeron. JT’s a very good player, right now you pay him too much which sucks payroll away from your 3rd and 4th lines. All of you should be asking What have you done for me lately Joe? Is he the single reason why you lost of course not, but veterans who win the cup can inspire rookies and mediocre & good players to play great when it counts. Wholesale changes and thinking needs to occur.

  17. sharksman - May 1, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Look this team was different this year
    but they came up short and did not look to be playing as well as they did in the first 3
    last night it was very clear who the better team was and who had more confidence
    they were out played and out coached
    is t mac a good coach, yes
    but he will be fired
    core guys on the team aren’t going anywhere
    only guys you need to get rid of are
    Havlet !!!!!!!!! cant say this enough lol
    Boyle (kinda sucks but…)
    changes are coming
    will it change anything ?
    who knows
    But I do know “I bleed Teal”
    Go Sharks
    until next year

  18. penguins87and71 - May 1, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Bye Bye McLellan.

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