Doug Wilson does a pretty good job of sticking to the script.
Dressed in a polo shirt without a Sharks logo and facing questions about the parting of ways with Todd McLellan as head coach, the San Jose Sharks General Manager reiterated at a press conference on Monday that it was a “mutual decision” and declined to set a timetable for finding the next coach.
Wilson described that it was McLellan who approached him first:
“Todd had come to me the latter part of the year, saying he wanted to talk to his family a little bit and have some conversations. He came back to me over the weekend, made his decision and shared with me that it was probably time. I concur with that. He and I mutually agreed it’s in the best interest of himself and most importantly the organization.”
McLellan coached seven seasons with the Sharks, making the playoffs every season but the past campaign, one that Wilson emphasized was a “transitional year.”
Still, Wilson lamented their struggles with consistency, beating top teams but losing to inferior opponents and struggling at home:
“We have to max out the performance of our players and be much more consistent than we have been. We got the hard things figured out. We beat the top teams and we can win on the road. The things that should be easier to find solutions to would be winning in our building and against teams that might be lesser competition.”
No names have surfaced yet in regards to the Sharks’ next coach, but Wilson said he is open to all options, from current coaches to even junior and college coaches.
“I’ve been doing this for 12-13 years and I’ve only had two coaches…I want to find the right people. Whoever we get, I’d like him to be the guy that fits for the next 7-8 years.”
Wilson’s own future with the Sharks remains uncertain, as he admitted that his evaluation process has yet to be finalized. That decision will be made by owner Hasso Plattner, who has largely stayed out of the public eye but could stamp his first imprint on the team by making a change at GM.
Wilson has yet to speak to Plattner this offseason, but will collaborate with him:
“We always go through this process the same way. We don’t rush into it. It’s a great time to get valuable information. I talk to Hasso a lot. Hasso is a very involved owner. I mentioned he may not like to talk to [the media] but he is very involved in this franchise.”
Wilson, however, gave no indication of leaving anytime soon, and expects a much better outcome next season:
“Do we expect to be a playoff team next year? Yes, we do. Do we expect to be a team that’s trending up? Yes, we do.”