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Poll: Should the Sharks fire McLellan?

May 1, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT

Todd McLellan

Now that San Jose’s gone down in infamy — just the fourth team in Stanley Cup playoffs history to blow an 0-3 series lead — one big question hangs over the organization:

Will Todd McLellan be shown the door?

The 46-year-old — who, earlier this year, became the franchise’s all-time leader in games coached — could be out of a job soon. While the collapse to L.A. falls on the players, McLellan did take a big risk by parking longtime starter Antti Niemi in Game 6 in favor of playoff rookie Alex Stalock, which didn’t pay off, and then went back to Niemi in Game 7, though many figured the damage was already done by then.

Why? Well, possibly because the decision wasn’t all about goaltending.

It might’ve spoke to McLellan’s overall comfort level (or lack thereof) with the series on the whole. Niemi wasn’t great in Games 4 and 5, but was he really the issue? San Jose only managed three goals over those two losses after scoring 11 in the previous two wins, and the club’s vaunted power play fizzled in the second half of this series, going 0-for-15.

Parking Niemi also came at the same time Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the team’s best defensive defenseman, was ruled out of action…making it even tougher to explain why McLellan would make another significant lineup alternation.

As such, it’s worth asking — was putting Stalock in for Niemi a panic move? Or one designed to wake up the Sharks?

If yes, that could be an issue. Remember that, at the time of said yanking, the Sharks were still in reasonably OK shape; they held a 3-2 series lead and a pair of close-out opportunities, in a series almost everybody picked to go six or seven games. What’s more, McLellan’s comments after losing Game 7 — y’know, ones about why the Sharks collapsed — had nothing to do with goaltending.

“Our problems got progressively worse as we went along. We were awful off the rush. … Every day we came to the rink and we tried to stress that about giving outnumbered rushes,” he said, per CSN Bay Area. “We were never able to fix it. It’s frustrating, because during the year we were pretty good in those areas.”

He wasn’t done there.

“[Another] problem we ran into was getting them to understand that those 6-3, 7-2 games weren’t going to keep coming,” McLellan said of his team’s early victories over the Kings. “They’re too good a team for that.

“They were the better team. That was quite evident.”

The counter argument to firing McLellan is that he’s regarded as a very good coach and, should he get turfed, would almost instantly shoot to the list of likely candidates for vacancies across the league (Vancouver has been on McLellan watch for a couple days now.) Coaches with career winning percentages of .654 don’t become available very often and let’s re-iterate what was said at the onset of this post — the players are the ones that lost that series, not McLellan. Also, patience can be a virtue in these instances. Boston didn’t fire Claude Julien after its 0-3 collapse to Philly in 2010 and, a year later, he led the B’s to a Stanley Cup.

With all this in mind, we’ll turn it over to you:  Should McLellan stay, or should he go?

  1. canucks30 - May 1, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    What, no poll for the “Teflon Man” known as Doug Wilson?

  2. ctochester12 - May 1, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    Only if you are a Sharks fan, otherwise everybody else in the West likes their early exit.

  3. hockeyornothing - May 1, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Absolutely stay. Players haven’t tuned him out. Not his fault team couldn’t perform. Need to shake up team. Firing coach is the east way out but not the right way out.

    • kaptaanamerica - May 1, 2014 at 5:34 PM

      He should be fired, but they should keep Wilson.

      Then Canucks can hire him. That’d be the best scenario, provided we can get a gm in place…

  4. sharksfan754 - May 1, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    I still think he’s the best man for the job. Said it last night. He had them prepared in my opinion. At some point the players have to want it and then execute it.

  5. earpaniac - May 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    I think he should stay. If the organization wants to do something, they’ll get rid of him before they get rid of players.

  6. canucks30 - May 1, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    He has 271 wins and is only 46 years old.

    He could easily coach another 15-20 years and overtake Scotty Bowman as the winningest coach of all-time.

    He won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008, a Presidents’ Trophy in 2009, took the Sharks to the Conference Finals in 2010 and 2011, and churns out 100+pt regular seasons year after year.

    If he gets fired, Washington, Toronto, Vancouver and a host of other teams would be after him immediately.

  7. bwayblueshirt - May 1, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    Keep McLellan, ditch Niemi.

    • timmyp716 - May 1, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      I hear Ryan Miller could be available…..

      • canucks30 - May 1, 2014 at 3:49 PM

        Miller wants to play in Anaheim to be closer to his actress wife:

  8. sjsharks66 - May 1, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Fire Tmac. It worked with LA and Pittsburgh. The Sharks need a swift kick in the ass when they start collapsing like they did. LA had a complete collapse at the beginning of this series. What did Sutter do? He got his team fired up. Tmac just said the Sharks were cheated.

    I really hope they can Tmac and bring in Laviolette. Doug Wilson is questionable. He has built a solid team but handed all of them no trade clauses. He also signed Handzus, Havlat, Galliardi and Winnik. He gave up Jamie Mcginn for 2 rentals? He also handed Burish a huge contract. He makes great signings but then he ruins it with his “depth players” that don’t show up or are extremely injury prone.

    Fire Tmac, buyout Havlat and let Boyle leave at free agency. That’s what they need to do first. Then deal with goaltending and finding a top 4 defenseman.

  9. 950003cups - May 1, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    He’s gotta go. He’ll get another job fast. But his days in SJ are over

  10. ironyisadeadscene - May 1, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    This was the reaction to Julien the year the Bruins were ousted by the Capitals…it’s a mistake to unload a coach who has done so well. Change the chemistry of the team first.

  11. popeye4 - May 1, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    Joe Thornton needs to go. He played small and soft, refused to shoot or take the puck to the net, and only steamrolled Doughty at the end of Game 6. If he had brought any passion to his game before the last minute the outcome might have been different. He is the captain and leader but is much too passive for the role. (In the rare instances when he does get fired up he’s unstoppable.) The team follows him, time for someone else to lead. You can’t expect the 4th line to carry the water every night.

  12. buddysguys - May 1, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    Change of scenery needed

  13. kotteintheslot - May 1, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    As a Caps fan, I say fire him and bring him to DC

  14. spitfisher - May 1, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Last I checked during this “‘meltdown” McLellan had zero ice time, no shots on goal, no penalties………Now why would you wish to get rid of him?

  15. dontbsuchapuss - May 1, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Niemi has nothing to do with the loss you need to get rid of the over rated players like Thornton and Logan. Can’t sit back and blame a goalie when the defense doesn’t do their jobs.

    • withseidelinn - May 1, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      Surprising to see Thornton’s and Couture’s stats in that round. Not impressive at all.Those are key guys for the offense and usually carry them throughout the season. Thornton had 76 points in regular season, comes up with 3 in the playoffs. Couture racks up 54 pts in 65 games and then puts up 3 points in the playoffs. Pavelski and Marleau were the only two who really stepped up and contributed. Those are the guys who have to shoulder a lot of the blame.

  16. penszone757 - May 1, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    This is a no brainer. He will be gone. It’s insanity to keep the same people and expect different results.

  17. joemattingly - May 1, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    as a Kings fan I really hope McLellan stays – he was perhaps the only person outside of LA who really did get that games 1 and 2 were not wins against the ‘real’ Kings – and apparently his players didn’t get that message – once the Kings got a second goal in games 4-7 you could see the Sharks just seem to deflate and lose a step – and Stalock had a great regular season game against the Kings, losing 1-0 in overtime if I remember so it was a reasonable gamble to go with him game 6 – we can always put some in against Niemi – even in 1 and 2 we still scored and put 3 in game 3 so there was no way he was gonna shut us out – perhaps the mistake was not going with Stalock in 7, although the Kings were just on a mission by that point – have always enjoyed our games against the McLellan Sharks so hope he stays in SJ

  18. afrancis55 - May 1, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    Who would they hire instead? Tortorella?

    • afrancis55 - May 1, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      They’re better off ditching Thornton and Niemi.

  19. sharksfan97 - May 1, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Try and trade TMac for Tippett. Yotes need offense, Sharks need D help.

  20. stakex - May 1, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Well its my belief that the decision to fire McLellan has already been made. If he stays on as coach, I’ll be shocked.

    The thing is, this collapse is really just the latest in a long string of playoff disappointments for the Sharks. While they have been considered a contender most seasons for the better part of the last decade, they have time and again under performed in the playoffs. Some of that is on the players obviously, especially this year, but at some point a coaching change is needed….. and I think this epic collapse will all but force that.

  21. shutyourfivehole - May 1, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    Thornton, Marleau, and Boyle all need to go. Contracts (NMC/NTC) notwithstanding. Do whatever it takes. It’s not TMac’s fault. Pavs and Couture have one more year to get some balls or they go too. They are infecting the younger guys with their softness.

  22. iowa02 - May 1, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    Ummmmmm……n……….ye……..ummmmmmm.

  23. rap49er - May 1, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    It’s not his fault. Sharks played game 7 without Thornton,Marleau and Couture. What, they played? Didn’t see them in there?

  24. gsprulz - May 1, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    I’d give Todd 1 more year, although this was the worst powerplay we’ve seen in SJ in like a decade thats definitely on him.

  25. fathead85 - May 1, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Niemi gone. Miller signed. Boyle left to free agency. Mclellan stays

  26. nicofthenorthstar - May 1, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    Yes

  27. schlitzy - May 2, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    he should stay. changes need to be made to the roster not the head coach.

  28. cliffatola - May 2, 2014 at 12:29 AM

    Just change McLellan’ name to foreplay, all action at the start but no finish.

  29. aldog83 - May 2, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    Im a KINGS fan.

    McClellan seems like a real good coach and a good guy.

    No nonsense. No excuses. (only “cried” about williams goal in game 6)

    But I thought his post game interview was pretty strong..would not allow any excuses for injury etc.

    I don’t know if you can blame him?

    Stalock played well in game 6 and allowed ZERO goals in relief prior to his start.

    I think you can blame Jumbo, Marleau, and Couture. for not solving Quick after 17 goals in 3 games.

  30. moneymike1425 - May 2, 2014 at 4:55 AM

    OK so I say Todd should stay 1 more year and get 1 more crack at it. But there needs to be a few personal changes with the team.
    1. I am a huge fan of Dan Boyle and will always be and it was painful this year to watch him lose a step but they should trade his rights to another team to get something back in return.
    2. Sign a Top4 D-Man to replace Boyle and I mean Top4 someone like Niskasen if PIT don’t resign him.
    3. Let Scott Hannan go into free agency. Brad Stuart should stay between the 2.
    4. Buyout the contracts for Marty Havlat and Adam Burish
    5. Stay Healthy
    6. Most importanly make Alex Stalock your Starting Goalie
    I think these moves could possibly push the Sharks over that hump.

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