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Is it time to blow up the San Jose Sharks?

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CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz caught up with Joe Thornton after the San Jose Sharks’ early first round exit (via a 3-1 loss in Game 5) and Jumbo Joe’s sentiment was simple: “[The St. Louis Blues] played great, but it’s a terrible feeling.” Thornton was talking about the five-game series in particular, but it’s tough not to wonder if that terrible feeling might be rooted in that sensation you get when an era is about to come to an end.

(In other words, maybe it’s the hockey answer to “We need to talk …”)

Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock was effusive with his praise of the Sharks, claiming that they made a five-game series feel like “a nine-game series.” Thornton’s effort was pretty evident during the series, but one might not say the same for other stars like Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau, who failed to register a single point in the five-game set.

Front office outlook

There’s likely to be the usual round of finger-pointing in San Jose, yet this year might feel different to some. GM Doug Wilson seemed to go all-in by trading for Brent Burns and Martin Havlat, but his trade deadline moves were mediocre at best. (Just watch a Sharks fan cringe when you utter the name “Jamie McGinn.”) Todd McLellan came into town with Red Wings clout and then coached in two series victories against his old employers, but now he’s out of the playoffs in five games just like his old team.

Team structure

If you look at the structure of the Sharks team at CapGeek, you get the feeling that everything is built to last until 2013-14 or so. Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, Logan Couture and Dan Boyle’s deals run out after 2013-14. Meanwhile, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Doug Murray, Jason Demers and Ryane Clowe will need new contracts after 2012-13 while Antti Niemi and Burns are wrapped up a little longer.

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What does that all mean? Breaking up the Sharks would have to come in a series of conscious decisions. Front office people would need to be fired and players would need to be traded or bought out. If that happens, it sounds like it certainly wouldn’t be easy.

Then doesn’t necessarily mean such a decision would be wrong, either, though. What do you think? Should the Sharks make major changes or small tweaks? What exactly should that entail? Fill us in via your witty and revealing comments.

Caggiula expected to sign shortly, Canucks could be front-runners

during the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championships at Amalie Arena on April 9, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.The North Dakota Fighting Hawks defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats 5-1 to win the national title. Getty
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College free agent Drake Caggiula is expected to pick a team shortly, possibly even today.

The University of North Dakota winger had originally shortlisted six teams, according to a report. Those teams were Philadelphia, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Chicago and Buffalo.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said this morning on Edmonton radio that the Canucks are “maybe” the front-runners to land the 21-year-old. Vancouver signed Caggiula’s teammate, defenseman Troy Stecher, a couple of weeks ago, and Caggiula’s linemate, Brock Boeser, was drafted by the Canucks in the first round last year.

Recently, Boeser told Postmedia that he was trying to convince Caggiula to sign with Vancouver, where there will be plenty of opportunities for young forwards in the next couple of years.

If it’s not the Canucks, McKenzie said he’s heard the Oilers have a “puncher’s chance” of getting Caggiula.

Vigneault will be behind the Rangers’ bench in 2016-17

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault runs a practice at NHL hockey training camp Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, in Greenburgh N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
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The New York Rangers may have been bounced in the opening round of the 2016 playoffs, but they aren’t looking to make a coaching change. In a phone interview with Montreal’s LaPresse newspaper, Alain Vigneault confirmed that he’ll be back behind the Rangers’ bench next season.

“I’ve had discussions with the club’s front office and they told me that they wanted me to come back next season,” Vigneault told LaPresse (quotes have been translated by PHT).

Vigneault and Rangers management will meet in Palm Springs next week to discuss what went wrong in 2015-16.

Even though the season didn’t go the way the Rangers had hoped, Vigneault insists he was never worried about losing his job.

“I don’t really worry about that stuff,” Vigneault said of the rumors surrounding his job security. “There’s 82 games in a season plus the playoffs and you can’t start thinking about your fate after each game. After a loss, you forget it and start thinking about the adjustments you need to make. In regards to our situation, we still managed to pick up 101 points this season. That’s a good season, but we still expected more from our team in the playoffs.”

Like every off-season, there will be changes, but Vigneault isn’t expecting any major ones.

“There’s definitely going to be changes. I don’t know if there’ll be big changes because today, it’s hard to make big changes. With the salary cap, it’s not realistic to think that way.”

When pressed about potential changes, Vigneault wasn’t willing to elaborate.

Vigneault also touched on the way Dan Boyle went after two reporters at the team’s year-end media availability. It’s safe to say he wasn’t thrilled about the way the whole thing went down.

“It’s a lesson for me and our whole team,” added Vigneault. “It’s disappointing because Dan had a really nice career. He won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, but all people will remember him for is this incident. What happened with him really surprised us. It’s too bad. I hope people will remember him for the career he had.”

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with one game on Friday night. You can catch tonight’s action via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Tampa Bay at NY Islanders (7:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Lightning lead the series 2-1.

Here’s some relevant reading material you might enjoy:

No hearings scheduled for Boyle on Hickey hit, or Hickey on Drouin hit

Lightning take dramatic OT win vs. Islanders, go up 2-1 in series

WATCH LIVE: Canada-USA (IIHF World Hockey Championship)

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A huge tilt on day one of the World Hockey Championships, as Canada and the USA clash in Russia. You can watch the game online using the NBC Sports Live Extra app.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Canada came away with a gold medal in last year’s tournament while the United States took home the bronze. Of course, each team’s roster changes significantly every year.

The USA’s next game is tomorrow against Belarus. Canada will play Sunday against Hungary.