SAN JOSE – Sharks coach Todd McLellan wasn’t ready to talk about his murky future with the organization, one day after it became official that he and his team would miss the playoffs for the first time in his seven-year tenure.
That doesn’t mean he hasn’t thought about it, though.
“We’re always thinking about that,” he said on Tuesday. “I don’t want to talk about anything until we’re done. At that point, there’s a lot of evaluation that has to go on throughout.”
“Now, I want to enjoy the team for a couple games, and then we’ll deal with that after.”
McLellan, who has one year remaining on his contract, is frequently mentioned as a coach that could be on the move this offseason. The speculation kicked into high gear shortly after the Sharks blew a 3-0 series lead to Los Angeles in the first round of the 2014 playoffs.
“If all of the scuttlebutt just started today, it would get your attention – it’s been going on forever, so, no,” said McLellan, when asked if it’s hard to not think about it. “The teacher in his classroom over the last few days of school. When we’ve got two games left, those are important days. It’s not hard.”
Missing the postseason is new territory for the Sharks players that have been with the club during its 10-year streak of making the playoffs, but it’s even more so for McLellan. In his 20 years of coaching at various levels, he has never been a part of a team that’s missed the postseason.
Still, the 47-year-old didn’t want to talk about himself or his own personal run of success that will undoubtedly land him another NHL head coaching job if he doesn’t return to the Sharks.
“It’s not about me. It’s the group,” he said. “We’re now the team that ended our [10-year] streak. We have that as part of our reputation. … There’s a negative attachment to us for missing the playoffs for everybody.”
Despite the “one step backwards” approach to the year as laid out by general manager Doug Wilson last summer, McLellan indicated that the team still underachieved this season. He mentioned that when the Sharks close out their season on April 11, 2015 in Los Angeles, it would be the one-year anniversary of the team winning its 50th game.
The Sharks enter their final two games with a 39-32-9 mark, 11th place in the 14-team Western Conference.
“We should be better than we were this year,” McLellan said. “Now, the roster has changed, players are older, the league got better – whatever. We still should be better than we were.”
McLellan has a 310-162-66 career record as the head coach of the Sharks, and became the second-fastest coach in NHL history to reach 300 wins on Feb. 13.