Todd McLellan

‘I’m responsible for this group,’ says McLellan after Sharks first-round collapse


With the San Jose Sharks now eliminated from the playoffs, having coughed up a 3-0 series lead to the L.A. Kings in the first round, there is sure to be increasing speculation about the future of head coach Todd McLellan.

The collapse was finalized Wednesday. The Sharks lost to the Kings in the seventh and deciding game, as L.A. became the fourth team in National Hockey League history to come back from down three-games-to-none to win the series.

Before the post-season got underway, one our Pressing Question segments asked: Can the Sharks get over past playoff hurdles? Well, for 2014 at least, we have the most recent answer.

“I’m responsible for this group,” said McLellan after the decisive loss, as per Elliotte Friedman of CBC.

“Low point since I’ve been here … that’s an easy one to answer,” McLellan added, as per Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun.

His handling of the goalie situation – pulling Antti Niemi twice in the series, then starting Alex Stalock in Game 6 and going back to Niemi in Game 7 – will surely be criticized moving ahead in the coming days.

But the Sharks didn’t get much from their top players as this series continued:

  • Joe Thornton: Zero points in the final four games.
  • Patrick Marleau: Seven points in the first four games, but zero points in the final three.
  • Joe Pavelski: Six points in the first four games, but zero points in the final three.
  • Logan Couture: Zero points in the final five games.

“Their defence just swallowed us up … It’s just so disappointing right now,” said Thornton, as per Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail.

The Sharks were without one of their steadiest defenseman in Marc-Edouard Vlasic for the final two games of the series, after he was injured in the first period of Game 5.

NHL on NBCSN ’15-16 coverage begins tonight with doubleheader

Corey Crawford, Derek Stepan
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After months of waiting, we’re finally ready to begin the 2015-16 campaign and NBCSN will kick off its coverage with a doubleheader tonight.

The action will begin with the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the New York Rangers, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Chicago has been called a dynasty by some for winning the Stanley Cup three times over the last six campaigns, but one thing that the Blackhawks haven’t done is successfully defend a title. The last team to do so was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98 before the salary cap era kicked off. That change was on display this summer as the Blackhawks were forced to move or otherwise walk away from Johnny Oduya, Kris Versteeg, Patrick Sharp, Antoine Vermette, Brad Richards, and Brandon Saad in the name of cap compliance.

Even after losing all those pieces of their 2015 championship team though, Chicago has emerged from the summer with much of its core intact. It also has some promising new players, such as 23-year-old KHL star Artemi Panarin, who is attempting to make the leap to the NHL after outscoring former teammate Ilya Kovalchuk on his way to leading SKA St. Petersburg to a KHL championship.

The New York Rangers should be a great first test for the Blackhawks as they begin their new quest. The Rangers advanced to at least the Eastern Conference Final in three of the last four years, but they haven’t earned a championship since 1994. With Henrik Lundqvist set to celebrate his 34th birthday in March, the Rangers’ window for winning the Cup in front of their all-star goaltender is closing and thus the stakes are high for New York this season.

Starting at 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN will air the San Jose Sharks’ contest against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. This is the second straight year that these two teams have been matched for the opener, but this time it’s under much different circumstances.

A year ago, Los Angeles had its sights set on defending its title while the Sharks were seeking revenge after suffering a reverse sweep in the first round against the Kings. In the end, neither team had the season they were looking for as they both fell short of the playoffs.

For the Sharks, that miss ended a playoff streak that dated back to the 2003-04 campaign while Los Angeles suffered its first major setback since it celebrated its first championship in 2012. Both teams have to be hungry to bounce right back this season and given that each both of these squads are certainly capable of obtaining that goal. First though, they need to settle the latest chapter of their rivalry.

PHT Morning Skate: Remembering 10 years of Crosby, Ovechkin

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Here’s a detailed look back at Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin‘s first 10 years in the NHL. (

Speaking of Crosby, he’s signed a multiyear partnership with adidas. (Newswire)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play a key role in easing Connor McDavid into the NHL. (Edmonton Sun)

After two polar opposite seasons, the jury is still out on Patrick Roy as a head coach. (Denver Post)

Marc-Andre Fleury enjoys pulling off pranks on his teammates. “I play better when I’m looser, laughing and having fun,” he said. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Art McDonald, a Canadian who won recently won a Nobel Prize, talked to the committee members about the Toronto Maple Leafs. (SB Nation)