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

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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.