This past week, the Sharks have hired Stanley Cup winning coach Larry Robinson as their new "associate" coach, while former interim coach for the Phoenix Coyotes and defensive specialist Jim Johnson was hired on Tuesday as an assistant coach. The only thing that would make these hirings more damning for McLellan would be the dreaded "vote of confidence" being given.
It's a shame that McLellan has to feel this heat, especially after he's appeared it the Conference Finals two of the four seasons he's been at the helm, though the other two playoff appearances have been first round exits. Granted, the additions could help out McLellan-- Robinson helping guide him on the right path to actually make him a coach that can get over that hump the Sharks have seemed to be stuck on. Johnson could be able to even out the penalty kill that was pretty craptastic during the season. This could definitely be a nice little motivator for him with no underlying tone to it.
Yet, it won't stop people like me from speculating on it all, especially when previous coaches in the past haven't been able to get to that next level. Ron Wilson and Darryl Sutter were eventually fired because of bad performances in the playoffs, but you have to believe that McLellan is a guy who has done a lot with this team-- but is it him that's not getting the results or the team not being able to knuckle-down and get the results that are needed to not only make the coach look good-- but make their franchise not look like walkovers.
But it's the old adage of "you can't fire the players, so you fire the coach." For a team like the Sharks, it's a matter of getting over that seemingly eternal mental block that this team has had when it comes to getting to the Stanley Cup finals. While it's a tough task to accomplish, the reality of the situation is that the Sharks have been overvalued when it comes to being a dominant player for the Stanley Cup. They have a good team, but it's not one that should be given the praise that they have been given over the past couple of seasons. That will be there downfall-- not the coaching, not the players-- it's the hype.