Coaches of the San Jose Sharks (Part 2)


Jumping right into it without much mumble jumble. Let’s go!

Darryl Sutter (1997-2002) (Fired)

After the rebuilding phase of the team, they started going after some top tier players under the reign of Darryl Sutter. The man himself was never an amazing hockey player, but he wasn’t bad either. He did have two 30 goal seasons, and probably would have went to the Stanley Cup, if he hadn’t been a player during the time of Wayne Gretzky.

The Sutter name does have a legacy of hockey behind and in front of it. The Sutter family gave 6 of their 7 boys to the NHL, one of whom was Darryl. You can say, the Sutters knew hockey, and they knew coaching too. Under Darryl Sutter, the Sharks went to 5 consecutive playoffs, only to lose in either the first or second round. They started building the team with players like Mike Vernon, Vincent Damphousse, Teemu Selanne, and eventually ended up with Evgeni Nabokov. But the team never made it to the cup, and in 2001, Sutter was fired to give way to another era, the Ron Wilson era.

Sutter, a great coach that just couldn’t fit in, was nabbed by Calgary. He made it to the cup, just to lose to Dan Boyle’s Tampa Bay Lightning. But he wasn’t done just getting there once. He’s actually at it again. He took the collapsing LA Kings, rejuvenated the locker room, and is now heading to the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Finals.

YearRegular SeasonPost Season
1997-9882343810784th in PacificLost in first round
1998-9982313318804th in PacificLost in first round
1999-2000823530107874th in PacificLost in second round
2000-01824027123952th in PacificLost in first round
2001-0282442783991th in PacificLost in second round
2002-032491221215th in PacificMissed playoffs

Ron Wilson (2002-2008)

Ron Wilson was an entirely different caliber of coaching on his own. The man was bred just to coach hockey. When he became the coach of the San Jose Sharks, he knew they had to restructure, and restructure fast. He traded away the team captain, Owen Nolan. He gave up Bryan Marchment, Shawn Heins, and Matt Bradley. They began injecting the team with younger, stronger, faster players like Christian Ehrhoff and Alexander Korolyuk, and seasoned veterans like Curtis Brown.

In one measly year, they went from missing the playoffs, to having their first 100+ point season. They went all the way to the Conference Finals, but fell to the Flames, lead by Ex-Sharks coach Darryl Sutter and Ex-Sharks goaltender, Miikka Kiprusoff. That was a crushing blow for the Sharks.

Wilson’s style of coaching was also very unique. He would constantly integrate technology onto his bench. He would bring tablets to the bench to show draw up strategies and to review plays. Burnt DVDs for the players to study. In a way, them being at Silicon Valley really made sense.

But, afterall, the Cup is the final proving grounds for every coach. After three years of losing in the second round, Wilson was let go by the Sharks to make way for the newest era in San Jose Sharks’ history. The McLellan years.

YearRegular SeasonPost Season
2002-0357192576735th in PacificMissed playoffs
2003-04824321261041st in PacificLost in Conf. Finals
2005-0682442711992nd in PacificLost in second round
2006-0782512651072nd in PacificLost in second round
2007-08824923101081st in PacificLost in second round

Todd McLellan (2008-Present)

Todd McLellan brings in experience as a coach, he even has his name on the Cup to prove it. There isn’t much to say about McLellan that has not been said before. The man is a player’s coach. He gets on the ice with the players, takes sticks in the head on the bench, and will bench you if you’re not performing. His standards are high, but we need it just a little higher so we can get that elusive cup. I’m not going to burn bridges or bore you with McLellan’s history. We all know it. We all need to believe in it.  We didn’t go to two conference finals under a crappy coach. We got there because the man is good.

YearRegular SeasonPost Season
2008-09825318111171st in PacificLost in second round
2009-10825120111131st in PacificLost in Conf. Finals
2010-1182482591051st in PacificLost in Conf. Finals
2011-1282432910962nd in PacificLost in first round

I hoped you enjoyed my little series on the Sharks’ coaches over the last 21 years. If there is anything you want to see here, have some hot tips, or any good ideas? Please message me or tweet me! @BMHo

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Blades of Teal: The Final Word On San Jose Sharks Hockey