With San Jose picking up its 65th standings point of the season Friday night in a 4-1 victory in Edmonton, Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan will serve as the Head Coach for the Western Conference for the NHL All-Star Game, which will be held and the Bell Center in Montreal on Jan. 24. The game will take place at 3:00 pm. PST and be broadcast in the United States on Versus.
More important than earning the All-Star nod for McLellan was how his team responded after a couple of tough recent games.
“It was exactly what we were looking for when we started the night,” said McLellan. “How we won and the commitment level we showed was important for the team.”
McLellan noted his honor is one that is shared deep in the organization.
“It’s a nice reward, but anything that comes to the coach is representative of the organization from ownership, to management to the players and the trainers,” said McLellan. “Trent, Jay and Todd played a big part in it. It’s an honor, but I’m not naïve enough to think others weren’t involved.”
For the Sharks rookie bench boss, he will have a reunion with his old boss Mike Babcock as the Detroit Head Coach will help run the Western Conference bench.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said McLellan. “It will be a really good experience and I’m looking forward to sitting with Mike (Babcock) and talking family and hockey.”
McLellan will be making his All-Star Game debut and becomes only the second first-year NHL coach in League history to coach an All-Star team. The first was Florida’s Doug MacLean, who coached the Eastern Conference in the 1996 game in Boston. McLellan’s head coach during his three-season tenure as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings, Mike Babcock, will serve as his assistant in Montreal.
This season, McLellan has coached the Sharks to an NHL-best 30-5-5 record and are the NHL’s first team to 30 wins this season. In addition, McLellan had the second-best start to a career at home in NHL history with nine consecutive victories, just one behind Alex Curry (10, Ottawa - 1925-26) and the team has yet to suffer a regulation loss on home ice (19-0-2). He is the first coach in Sharks history to win his first four games and the first Sharks coach to ever lead the team to a 4-0-0 record to start the season.
The Sharks next game is tomorrow night, Jan. 10 against the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place.
FIRST GOAL Rookie Brad Staubitz notched his first NHL goal in his old hometown of Edmonton. More importantly, it was a big early goal in the Sharks 4-1 bounceback win.
“We needed this win and came out hard,” said Staubitz. “I took the shot and didn’t see where it ended up. It was a big goal and I was able to contribute to the team.”
PRACTICE CLOSED The Sharks practice Monday will be closed to the general public.
NEXT GAME The Sharks will visit Vancouver Saturday night in a 7 p.m. game that will be available on CSN+, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.