San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner will get another season behind the bench for the Sharks as general manager Doug Wilson is happy to bring him back for 2020-21 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
On Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks announced that Bob Boughner would be their ninth Head Coach. Boughner took over as Interim Head Coach for the Sharks half way through last season, replacing Peter DeBoer.
In Tuesday’s press release, the Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson assessed Boughner’s time as Interim Head Coach. “Bob did a tremendous job last season, getting our group back to playing with an identity and structure that we need in order to be successful,” said Wilson. “We saw a marked improvement in our play in several key areas during the second half of the season, before losing some key players to injury.”
After a long NHL playing career and several successful seasons coaching Junior Hockey, Boughner joined the Sharks in 2015 as an assistant coach. In 2017, he was named Head Coach of the Florida Panthers. Two seasons later, he was replaced by Joel Quenneville in Florida and returned to the Sharks as an assistant coach. As a Head Coach in the NHL, his record is 94-82-25.
In the partial season as Interim Head Coach for the Sharks, Boughner saw his team win just 14 of 37 games, continuing the abysmal trend they were on when Peter DeBoer was fired. To make an already terrible season worse, the team lost Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture and Erik Karlsson to injury shortly after Boughner took over.
After the announcement Tuesday, Boughner thanked the Sharks owner and General Manager for bringing him back:
I’m very excited about the opportunity to return to the San Jose Sharks organization as head coach. I want to thank Hasso Plattner and Doug Wilson for their trust in me. Last year was a difficult season for everyone but I think we learned a lot about ourselves as a group and we made some positive strides over the second half of the year.
The roster that Boughner will have when regular play resumes will be somewhat changed from last season. While the injured players will likely be back, some long-time Sharks were traded at the deadline, such as defenseman Justin Braun and forward Barclay Goodrow. After struggling as the team did through the abbreviated 2019-2020 season, the Sharks would likely benefit from change. Whether the new Head Coach is enough of a change remains to be seen.
The Sharks also added Rocky Thompson as associate coach and John Madden as assistant coach. Of Thompson and Madden, Wilson said: “We’re also very pleased to add Rocky and John to our staff. Both come with a wealth of experience, both in playing the game and as teachers and leaders. With a healthy and motivated group of players, we are confident that this staff will do a terrific job leading our group in the coming years.”
Bob Boughner looks forward to working with his new coaches. In the Sharks press release, he said:
Rocky and John will bring some fresh energy and excitement to our group. Both have been head coaches, worked on coaching staffs in the NHL and have lots of experience working with and developing young players. It was important that anyone we brought in from the outside come from a culture of winning, which is what we are used to in San Jose. Rocky and John have the credibility and work ethic to help us get our talented team back to that level.
The coaching staff is rounded out by Evgeni Nabokov as goaltending coach, Dan Darrow as assistant video coach and Charlie Townsend as analyst/assistant to the NHL coaching staff. All are returning from last season.