When the San Jose Sharks play hosts to St. Louis tonight, something will be different on the Sharks bench. For the first time in his two-plus seasons as Sharks head coach, Todd McLellan won’t be behind the bench. He’ll be back in Saskatchewan, along with Sharks Television Color Analyst Drew Remenda, attending his brother-in-law’s funeral.
|Trent Yawney |
Instead, Assistant Coach Trent Yawney, who was Chicago’s head coach from 2005-07, will be running the team.
“Obviously, family comes first,” Yawney said of McLellan’s situation. “It was someone he was very close to. It makes the game look pretty small.”
However, McLellan’s absence should be the only noticeable change from the Sharks. As has been the case all season, Yawney will run the defense, while Assistant Coach Matt Shaw will be responsible for the forwards. Assistant Coach Jay Woodcroft , who normally serves as the team’s “eye in the sky” for the first two periods, will be on the bench for all three periods and work with Yawney and Shaw.
“He’s (McLellan) left us in a good spot,” Yawney said. “You might see the odd adjustment throughout the game with how guys are going or not going. That’s just hockey.”
The players also agree that the team won’t be different without McLellan behind the bench.
“Todd has always talked about being able to step away letting us coach ourselves,” Ryane Clowe
said. “Everything is so familiar to us, it’s pretty simple. It should be business as usual.”
“We’re going to miss him, but we have a job to do,” Dan Boyle
said. “We’re in good hands with the guys back there.”
“He’s probably prepped the coaches and they do a great job of getting ready for games. It will be a little different not seeing him back there,” Patrick Marleau
said. “We always talk about players stepping up when someone’s missing, I guess it’s time for the coaches to do that.”
There’s no doubt the coaches will have the Sharks well prepared for this game. St. Louis enters the match in 13th place in the Western Division. The Blues will be challenged to compete for a playoff spot, but they’ve been able to get some of their key players – such as centers Andy McDonald and T.J. Oshie – off Injured Reserve.
“The players will take over,” Yawney said when game time approaches. “Our guys are well aware of where they are and where they want to be. They know they’re playing against a desperate team in the sense that they’re young and have some of their key guys back. They’ve always played us hard and we’ll be in for a good challenge tonight.”
|San Jose Sharks center Brandon Mashinter (72) fights with St. Louis Blues right wing Ryan Reaves (75) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) |
Left wing Brandon Mashinter
was recalled by San Jose from their American Hockey League affiliate in Worcester while left wing John McCarthy was returned to Worcester. Mashinter is being promoted for the third time this season. In 55 games at Worcester, Mashinter had 31 points (14 goals). He’s appeared in 11 games for San Jose, posting 12 PIM.
“He’s done a nice job in the Woo,” Yawney said. “In the games he’s played up here, he’s improved and deserves another opportunity.”
San Jose plays host to St. Louis tonight at 7:30. Tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5/102.1 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com