November 26, 2014 By Paul Gackle

Sharks Players Dismiss Rumors That Coach Is On Hot Seat

SAN JOSE — Rumors are swirling that San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan is on the hot seat in lieu of the team’s 10-9-4 start. But his team is convinced that he isn’t going anywhere.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman is reporting that general manager Doug Wilson reached out to former-Pittsburgh Penguins boss Dan Bylsma, citing “a couple of contacts”. But Wilson has denied that he’s contacted Byslma and the Sharks leadership group believes the rumors are just rumors.

“They’re just throwing that out there because we’re 10-9,” defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said, adding: “It’s people trying to fill the void in the media. They don’t know what to talk about.”

Since McLellan’s first season behind the Sharks bench in 2008-09, the team has collected the second-most regular season points in the NHL (623), tied with the Chicago Blackhawks and trailing only the Pittsburgh Penguins (625). The Sharks have qualified for the playoffs in each of McLellan’s six seasons in the South Bay, but his job security started to come into question after the team coughed up a 3-0 series lead to the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

Regardless, alternate captain Joe Pavelski said he’d been told that McLellan isn’t going anywhere.

“As far as I’ve been told,” Pavelski said. “Whether it carries any weight or not, I don’t know. But we have an idea that this is going to be the group.”

Tommy Wingels used stronger language when asked about the coaching rumors.

“Those reports irritate us and the team,” he said. “I don’t think they’re warranted.”

Vlasic said coaching rumors are business as usual whenever a team is underperforming in pro sports.

“It always starts with the coach. No matter what team — football, basketball, baseball — always starts with the coach or the manager. That’s the way it goes,” he said. “You start from the top and work your way down.”

Pavelski said the team isn’t going to let the coaching rumors become a distraction.

“Can’t really worry about it,” he said. “We’ve got to worry about taking care of ourselves. We’ve got to play better as a team and a lot of those rumors go away.”

Patrick Marleau said it could provide extra motivation for the team at a time when it’s struggling with a 6-9-3 record in its last 18 games.

“Whatever guys need to get ready to win, yeah, we could use it,” he said.