| Change for the sake of
Let's hope not
5/14/08 - By Steve Flores
After five seasons at the
helm of the Starship that is the San Jose Sharks Ron Wilson was relieved of his
duties as Head Coach. We are all aware of Wilson's accomplishments as the Grand
PooBah of the team - most coaching victories as coach of the Bay Area's NHL
franchise etc. Wilson's regular season win totals have been most impressive.
The Sharks found an identity under his wing and bought into his system lock,
stock and barrel.
In fact the team accomplished pretty much everything
(outside of the President's Trophy) that a team can achieve in the regular
season. Wilson lost his job because of the team's post-season failures. The
ironic twist to all of this is that Wilson probably did his best coaching job
of his career in 2007-08. Many with an actual vote will cast it to him for the
Jack Adams award as coach of the year in the NHL.
negative things you might about him - as most bloggers have done - but Wilson
and his coaching staff (Rob Zettler & Tim Hunter) always worked hard and
always did their best to prepare the team for each and every game. Wilson is as
strong an X's and O's coach as there is in the game. It will probably shock the
'Wilson haters' to see how quickly he gets another job if he so chooses. The
man is one of the most highly regarded head-men in the business and he was the
best coach the Sharks have ever had. Now, with all of that said, I am not
saying that G.M. Doug Wilson did the wrong thing in letting RW go. In fact, as
I have espoused in prior writing's that I believe the team should be allowed
more free reign on the offensive side of the game. My concern is that the
change was made for the wrong reasons.
I have too much respect for
DW's abilities as a G.M. to ever believe that he decided to remove RW without
having at least one solid replacement in mind: A replacement that he feels can
push the team to the next level with a differing set of ideas or philosophies.
My concerns are that DW may hire a guy that could actually curtail the team's
improvement and or development.
The bulk of available coaches are
those of a defensive mindset, which is not to say that this is how they would
attempt to steer the team but it concerns me.
The popular name at this
point is former Stanley Cup winning head guy Pat Burns. Burns has been out of
coaching for awhile due to some health concerns but he is back with Team Canada
and rumor is he is ready to re-take the reigns of an NHL club. Burns is a
disciple of The New Jersey Devils school of thought. I respect the Devils and
their Stanley Cup accomplishments I however still BLAME them most for the evil
that is the 'neutral zone trap'. The Devils were always a defense first team
and during the 'dead puck era' they were the best at boring us all to sleep
until they hoisted the cup above their heads. Effective, yes. Exciting, uh
I don't want to infer or label RW as a
defensive-minded coach but the bottom line is that the Sharks were
'goal-scoring challenged' and most pundits feel that they have more ability on
offense than they exhibit on the ice. If RW's system was to blame then a change
to a different type of system seems not only logical but necessary.
Burns is highly respected by all. He knows the game. He has a history with Joe
Thornton and by all accounts has the ability to deal with multiple
personalities with the best of em. He may well be the right guy for the job. I
only hope that if both sides decide that he is the right guy, that he finds a
way to allow this team to actually see what they can do if given a bit more
free reign on the offensive side of the blue line.
The Sharks will
surely not be Burns' only suitors. He is a hot commodity and he will not come
cheaply. The Sharks management is never going to be compared to the New York
Yankees but I think DW will be allowed to make Burns a nice offer if he is the
I do not know the answer to the Sharks post-season woes. I
know for a fact that the blogging-haters are also clueless. Believe me Doug
Wilson isn't 100 percent sure of the reasoning. I just hope that Wilson's
decision to make the change results in the franchise finally beaming up 'The
Stanley Cup' come 2009.
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