McLellan punishes Sharks with tough practice

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True to his word, San Jose coach Todd McLellan made his players pay for last night’s 5-3 home loss to the Florida Panthers.

“These days aren’t good for anyone,” McLellan said today after a strenuous practice that replaced an originally planned day off. “They’re not good for the players, because of the [hectic] schedule, and we get no satisfaction out of it. But, the goal was to remind them that the work ethic and commitment level has to come first. It comes before anything else – systems, talent, power play, penalty kill.

“We’re human, and we all have to be reminded sometimes. I have to be reminded, my kids have to be reminded, and our team has to be reminded how important work ethic and commitment level is. That’s all today was.”

After which McLellan went home and skated his kids.

The Sharks have lost three of their last four, the lone win coming Thursday over Montreal in a shootout.

San Jose’s next seven games are against Western Conference foes, starting Tuesday versus the streaking Wild, so you can’t blame the coach for taking action.

McLellan was furious after Saturday’s game at the HP Pavilion, a game that saw the Sharks outshot 35-26 by a Florida team playing the fourth game of a four-game road trip.

“We were very sloppy,” he said. “That’s probably as poorly I’ve seen our six D play in four years altogether as a group with turnovers. Forwards didn’t create much of a forecheck. It was a full team game. If we didn’t want to work tonight we’ll find some time tomorrow to do it.”