Photo credit: @CompleteHkyNews
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE — Peter DeBoer is no longer the head coach of the San Jose Sharks. His time with the Sharks ended today, after the team returned from a winless four game road trip. They have just 15 wins this season in 33 games, and have lost their last five games. The Sharks also announced that assistant coaches Steve Spott and Dave Barr and goaltending coach Johan Hedberg were dismissed as well.
Assistant Coach Bob Boughner was named interim head coach, with Roy Sommer as assistant coach and Mike Ricci as associate coach. Evgeni Nabokov will step in as goaltending coach.
In their press release, General Manager Doug Wilson said: “When you have had a level of past success, change is never easy, but we feel this team is capable of much more than we have shown thus far and that a new voice is needed.”
The Sharks started this season with one of the worst Octobers in team history, only to rally in November and claw their way back into the playoff picture. Instead of continuing on that trajectory, they have dropped again to sixth in the Pacific Division and a recent record of 4-5-1. The team is laboring with a minus 25 goal differential. Only one team in the league has allowed more than the Sharks’ 114 goals against this season, and that is the Detroit Red Wings. That is somewhat shocking with two Norris Trophy winning defensemen on the Sharks’ blue line.
DeBoer became the Sharks head coach at the end of the 2014-15 season, replacing Todd McLellan. His tenure with the Sharks had an eerie similarity to his time with the New Jersey Devils, the NHL team he coached before the Sharks. In his first season in New Jersey, he led the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final. Their record declined steeply from there. Under DeBoer’s leadership, the Sharks also reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in team history. That was DeBoer’s first season with the organization and, as with the Devils, that was the high point of his record in San Jose.
By Mary Walsh
With training camp starting Friday, the Sharks formally added Evgeni Nabokov to their coaching roster, as goaltending development coach and special assignment scout. The Sharks have also signed defenseman Jeremy Roy to an entry level contract.
The addition of Nabokov to the coaching staff was not surprising, as he had already been spotted on the ice during prospect camp practices. Of the former Sharks goaltender, Sharks GM Doug Wilson said, in the team press release: “Nabby’s career speaks for itself and he is one of the most beloved players to ever play for our franchise,” said Wilson. He will be a tremendous asset to our young, developing goaltenders. I have great respect for him as a hockey person and as a man.”
The press release also summarized Nabokov’s playing career:
Nabokov finished his remarkable career ranked 18th on the NHL’s all-time wins list (353), 17th in shutouts (59) and 25th in games played by a goaltender (697). He appeared in 86 career Stanley Cup Playoff games (22nd all-time), and ranks 23rd all-time in postseason wins (42) and T-20th in postseason shutouts (7). He helped lead the Sharks to two of their three franchise Western Conference Final appearances (2004, 2010). In 697 career NHL games with San Jose, the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning, Nabokov posted a 353-227-29-71 record, with a 2.44 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and 59 shutouts.
Sunday, the Sharks announced that they had signed their 2015 2nd round pick, defenseman Jeremy Roy, to an entry level contract. Roy spent the past two seasons in the QMJHL, and represented Canada at the U-18 World Junior Championships last season. He recorded four points in that tournament, on the way to a bronze medal for his team.
On Friday, the Sharks training camp officially kicks off at Sharks Ice in San Jose. Group A will skate at 9:30, with Group B taking the ice at 11:45. The team is scheduled to skate again Saturday and Sunday at the same times. They will be in Vancouver for preseason games Monday and Tuesday.