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Coach McLellan Needs Time to Ponder Future

by Eric Gilmore / San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) cleared out their lockers Wednesday, but the future of coach Todd McLellan with the organization still is unclear.

McLellan, the winningest coach in Sharks history, has one year left on his contract. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson plans to review McLellan's performance before making a decision, and McLellan said he needs to further discuss with his family before he decides what he wants to do.

"I need a little more time," McLellan said. "I'm sure the organization needs a little more time."

McLellan earlier this week was named Canada coach for the 2015 IIHF World Championship. He said he expects a decision on his fate with the Sharks before he leaves San Jose on April 24 to join that team.

Wilson, on the other hand, said there is no timetable for making that decision.

"We always have the same process," Wilson said. "Todd shared with you guys that he wants to have some discussions with his family. We always have the process where he and his staff will sit down and say what did work, what didn't work. Once that is concluded, then Todd and I will sit down. But there's not really any time frame on that."

The Sharks (40-33-9) finished with 89 points, 22 fewer than the previous season, and their streak of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs ended at 10 straight seasons. Sharks forward Logan Couture said he stands firmly behind McLellan and wants him to return.

"I definitely wouldn't be the player I am without Todd and this whole coaching staff," Couture said. "I have a ton of respect for the whole coaching staff."

Sharks center Joe Thornton was asked if he sensed that a coaching change was needed.

"I have no idea," Thornton said. "Todd has to talk to his family. Maybe he should talk to this family as well in here. We'll see what happens."

After blowing a 3-0 lead and losing a best-of-7 series to the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference First Round last season, the Sharks had a tumultuous offseason. Thornton was stripped of his captaincy, and Wilson called the Sharks a "tomorrow team" and accelerated his plan to rebuild the organization with younger players. He made one minor move in free agency, signing John Scott, and no major moves prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

Thornton said the offseason didn't affect his play during the season and that it shouldn't have affected anyone on the team.

"If it did we don't want them here," Thornton said. "We want tough individuals that can handle adversity. If it did, we don't want you here."

If not for the Sharks going 19-17-5 at SAP Center, including 0-6-2 in February, they likely would have made the playoffs, but Wilson said he expected the Sharks to take a step back this season.

"We didn't want the step back to be missing the playoffs, but we did," Wilson said. "We had a lot of good players in place. We had a lot of young players in their second year that maybe they didn't progress naturally as well. But there's a lot of good things, key players in key positions. ... Highly motivated athletes, many of them missing the playoffs for the first time since they got here. We'll respond the right way and that's the feedback I'm getting from them."

Author: Eric Gilmore | Correspondent

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