The speculation about Sharks GM Doug Wilson bringing in help for the team’s assistant coaching staff appears to be true. David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News reported today that the Sharks have hired Hall of Famer and former Stanley Cup Champion Larry Robinson to their assistant coaching staff.
The team has yet to make a formal announcement, but Robinson, a defenseman during his time as a player in the NHL, will likely take the responsibility of seeing over both the defense and the penalty kill – two problem areas for the Sharks recently.
Robinson, 61, is leaving the New Jersey Devils, a team that he helped lead to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012. He seems excited to be working behind Todd McLellan in the upcoming season.
“Everybody only had great things to say about him and they were right,” Robinson told the Montreal Gazette. “First impressions are important to me, and my first impression of Todd was excellent.”
Robinson isn’t the only one excited. When asked about his new assistant coach, Dan Boyle said, “I don’t know him as a coach, but I think what he’s done speaks for itself, both as a player and as a coach… I think it’s going to help the players, it’s going to help Todd.”
Robinson’s track record is impressive. Over his twenty-year career, Robinson won six Stanley Cups as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, as well as two Norris trophies (NHL’s defenseman of the year) and a Conn Smythe trophy (NHL Playoff MVP). He won a Stanley Cup as an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils in 1995 and another as their head coach in 2000.
The only man not excited about the hiring? You have to speculate that it may be Todd McLellan. Coming into his fifth year as the Sharks’ head coach, McLellan has to feeling the fire beneath him. There was much speculation that Wilson would move on from his head coach following the Sharks early 2012 playoff exit. Should the Sharks strike out into early troubles this coming season, fans will most certainly call for a change at that spot a la the 2011-12 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.
On a quiet free agency period
I haven’t written much on the team since reporting that the Sharks signed former Blackhawk Adam Burish – that’s because the Sharks haven’t done much of anything. They did, however, make a nice move in resigning forward TJ Galiardi to a one-year deal. Financial details of the deal have not been released yet.
Galiardi had 9 goals and 6 assists in 69 games last season after being acquired along with Daniel Winnik from the Colorado Avalanche for two prospects and Jamie McGinn. Sharks fans will be glad to see that at least one of the pieces that they received for McGinn are back, but many are calling for the Sharks to bring Winnik back. Winnik is still unsigned, and with plenty of time left before the season begins, anything is possible.
Then again, if the first week of free agency tells you anything, it’s not to hold your breath.