San Jose’s search to replace Todd McLellan continued today, with TSN reporting GM Doug Wilson would speak with former Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils bench boss Adam Oates.
Oates, 52, spent two seasons in Washington, going 65-48-17 while making one playoff appearance (losing in seven games in the opening round of ’13.) He then spent last year as co-coach — along with Scott Stevens and, briefly, Lou Lamoriello — after the Devils turfed Peter DeBoer.
Speaking of DeBoer, he and Oates find themselves connected once again as San Jose casts a wide net in the search for a new coach. The former Panthers and Devils bench boss has also interviewed for the San Jose job, along with Randy Carlyle. Wilson has also reportedly gained permission from Pittsburgh to interview Dan Bylsma.
That Oates is getting an interview in San Jose is slightly amusing, given the minor spat he and Wilson had in the fall of 2013. Following Sharks forward Tomas Hertl’s between-the-legs goal against the Rangers, Oates criticized the rookie for “disrespecting the league,” comments that Wilson quickly fired back at.
“I think [Oates] should worry about coaching his team, and not worry about being a caretaker of the game,” Wilson said. “I would not allow our coaches to make comments about other team’s players.”
As if the San Jose Sharks hadn’t been criticized enough this season, they got another dose of disapproval last night when AHL call-up Bryan Lerg was made a late healthy scratch for their game against Dallas.
Lerg is 29 and has never played an NHL game. Not surprisingly, he was overjoyed when told he finally would.
“It’s a dream come true and I’ve been waiting a long, long time for it,” he said Monday morning, per the Mercury News.
So when he wasn’t in the lineup because Tomas Hertl (ill) was well enough to play…
The good news is that Lerg has not been sent back down and should make his NHL debut in one of the Sharks’ remaining two games, Thursday in Edmonton or Saturday in Los Angeles.
The bad news is that the Sharks were officially eliminated from playoff contention yesterday.
After being one of the league’s top teams for most of the season, the Nashville Predators seem to be falling apart in the 11th hour. Their latest setback came in the form of a 2-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi stopped all 35 Predators shots to earn his fifth shutout of the season. San Jose has gone 4-1 this month and Niemi has played a significant part in that with a 1.48 GAA and .956 save percentage in March.
Pekka Rinne was solid between the Predators’ pipes, but Tomas Hertl found the back of the net with the man advantage late in the second period to break the scoreless tie.
Tommy Wingels scored an empty-net goal to make it 2-0 with less than a minute left in regulation.
Between Winnipeg losing and Los Angeles winning tonight, the Sharks are now three points behind in the battle for the second Wild Card spot. Their journey to the playoffs is about to get even more challenging though as they’ll face Chicago on Saturday before beginning a seven-game road trip.
Nashville has now lost seven of its last eight games and the one exception was an overtime victory against the lowly Arizona Coyotes. Thanks to St. Louis’ victory tonight, Nashville is no longer in control of the Central Division’s top seed. Instead, if the playoffs were to start today, the slumping Predators would be up against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round.
As is the case with San Jose, the Predators schedule isn’t going to get any easier in the near future. They’ll complete their road trip with games against Los Angeles and Anaheim on Saturday and Sunday respectively before hosting the red hot Minnesota Wild Tuesday night.