Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson met with the Bay Area media on Wednesday. He didn’t hide the fact that changes could be coming for the San Jose Sharks. Wilson is as frustrated as anyone in San Jose about his club’s first round exit.
“The emotions are raging right now,” Wilson said. “The frustration is overwhelming. The feelings of disappointment should run deep. We owe an apology to our fans and our owners. They deserve better. This ownership group has always given us what we needed.”
Wilson noted the series loss was the worst since he became the team’s general manager in 2003.
“By far,” Wilson said. “It’s not even close. I don’t even know the word.”
Wilson believes the owners and the fans, who foot the bill for the team on the ice in different ways, have a right to be upset at how this campaign ended.
Wilson obviously wasn’t specific about what needs to be done, but cut right to the chase.
“Changes will be made,” Wilson said. “This is pro sports and winning is the only thing that matters. I’m not going to sit here and just say it will be minor tweaks. I’m sure with the results, we’ll get a lot of calls.”
As for where the blame lies, Wilson said it goes all the way around.
“The responsibility starts and lies right here,” he said. “I take full responsibility. Everything will be evaluated and nothing is off the table. It will be a tough summer. We’ll be very thorough, but we’ll get input from everyone.”
“Everyone” includes individual player meetings as well as meeting with the coaches. Wilson was adamant about the work done by Head Coach Todd McLellan and said he’d be back next year.
“I think our coach tried to push every button he could,” Wilson said. “He’ll definitely coach us going forward. He’s worked his tail off.”
The Sharks have developed a reputation of not going as far as their talent should take them in the playoffs. Wilson said there’s only one way to change the perception.
“The only response is to go and get it done,” he said. “It’s about results and nothing else matters.”
As for the specific problems, Wilson noted that character, effort and talent were all areas to be addressed.
“To avoid looking at anything would be a huge mistake,” Wilson said. “It had better be the worst summer all of us have had. We were kicked and we deserve to be kicked. It was not just the big guys. Another level of guys shouldn’t be left off the hook.”
The only positive for Sharks fans is that all resources will be taken to try and find a solution.
“This organization will win and if unpleasant decisions have to be made, they will get made,” Wilson said.
Wilson took nothing away from Anaheim’s talent as an opponent, pointing out their recent trips to the Stanley Cup Finals and a championship, but he noted that drawing the Ducks wasn’t the biggest problem.
“If you have to avoid someone to get where you’re going (it’s a problem),” Wilson said. “We should find a way to beat them.”
McLellan said he and his staff will begin looking at how they can change their plan of attack for next year.
“We have to look at ourselves as coaches first,” McLellan said. “Secondly, the players have to look at themselves. It starts with the core players and goes down to the foot soldiers. We’ll sit down with the players and sit down as a group (of coaches).”
The Sharks could be well represented at the World Hockey Championships in Switzerland. Confirmed to go: left wing Milan Michalek (Czech Republic) and center Joe Pavelski
(United States). Also invited were defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic
and right wing Devin Setoguchi (Canada).
Pavelski isn’t excited about the circumstances that allow him to represent his country, but he’s excited to wear the red, white and blue.
“I’ve never been able to go over there and play,” Pavelski said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Michalek hasn’t represented the Czech Republic since he was a teenager.
“It’s my first time in the World Championships since I was 18 and I only played one game,” Michalek said. “I think we’re a pretty good team.”
JAMISON ON KNBR
Listen to Sharks President and CEO Greg Jamison on KNBR on Thursday at 11 am.