Todd McLellan, Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl, Brent Burns

Sharks owner ‘very disappointed,’ but McLellan’s job is safe


You can all but cross Todd McLellan’s name off the list of available coaching candidates.

The Sharks bench boss, who’s job security has been in question since San Jose blew a 3-0 series lead against Los Angeles in Round 1, sounds as though he’ll be retained for next season — courtesy a statement released today by club owner Hasso Plattner.

It reads:

“I am very disappointed in the way our team finished the 2013-14 season. Gaining a 3-0 series advantage and being unable to advance is a major blow to our organization and fan base. Our teams have been consistently built to go deep into the playoffs and this goal won’t change.

“Doug Wilson and I have met over the past two weeks. He has shared his support of the coaching staff, as well as his recommended changes to our team’s roster, and he has my complete support moving forward.

“I want to thank our extremely loyal fans and partners for their continued support and to let them know that we are not satisfied with the status quo of the last several seasons.

“I am confident that with the proposed changes, Doug and his staff will build a team we can all be proud of.”

The Sharks have been largely quiet for the last two weeks regarding the future of the organization. The last public statements came from Wilson on May 2, when he said the team had several options moving forward, but noted “the status quo isn’t one of them.” Also, as Plattner alluded to, Wilson said McLellan and his assistants — Larry Robinson, Jim Johnson and Jay Woodcroft — shouldn’t lose their jobs over the L.A. collapse.

According to CSN Bay Area, it’s believed McLellan has two years remaining on his contract. Given teams were reportedly waiting to see if he’d be fired before making their own hires — the McLellan watch was rumored to be on in Vancouver — San Jose might’ve preached patience with a guy regarded to be one of the NHL’s better bench bosses.

What the Sharks do now remains to be seen, as it’s clear roster changes are coming. The biggest decisions will likely be the future of Dan Boyle, who’s a UFA on July 1, and how the team opts to deal with Antti Niemi, who was parked in Game 6 of the Kings series in favor of Alex Stalock before returning in Game 7 to allow three goals on 28 shots in a 5-1 loss.

The club could also use a compliance buyout on Martin Havlat, and possibly explore trade options — though it’s worth noting Havlat, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns, Raffi Torres, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brad Stuart all have some form of no-trade or no-movement clause.


Poll: Should the Sharks fire McLellan?

Oddsmaker: Trotz, McLellan favored as next Canucks coach

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: