After the San Jose Sharks fell in seven games to the Los Angles Kings, it appeared the Nashville Predators might be adding another name to their list of head coaching candidates.
The Sharks coaching staff and roster seemed primed for a blow up after San Jose blew a 3-0 series lead and lost in the first round for the second time in three years. Sharks head coach Todd McLellan led his club to another excellent regular season, but like in years past, the club underwhelmed in the postseason.
With most of the Sharks core players locked up for the next several seasons, the easiest way to bring change to the franchise would have been by letting their bench boss go, but it seems McLellan will hold on to his job after all.
This news didn’t stop McLellan from taking the blame for his club’s historic meltdown, however:
“I took responsibility and I still do for the performance, or lack thereof obviously, of the team. With accepting the role as a coach, you accept that responsibility, McLellan said. “Doug had [a meeting] today with the players and made it very clear how disappointed he was in the whole organization, not just the players. That included all of the staff, and anything up and anything down.”
If McLellan does indeed keep his post with the Sharks, he’ll be prevented from becoming one of the Predators top options for their new coach. The six-year-head coach of San Jose has crossed the 50 wins mark three times and has a 271-130-57 record with the Sharks. McLellan’s blend of an active defensive corps and a punishing forecheck would have faired well with with the current makeup of the Predators.
On the opposite side of the country from San Jose, the Predators would have also given Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma a close look if he had become available. Back in late March, The Hockey News first proposed that the Penguins oust their six-year coach in order to rejuvenate the club. This report only helped to fuel rumors that Bylmsa would be fired if his team lost to the upstart Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round this past week.
But with the series tied at two, the Penguins rattled off two-straight wins and avoided a postseason collapse similar to the Sharks.
Barring some kind of an embarrassing showing against the New York Rangers in the second round (the Penguins are currently down 1-0 in the series), Bylsma should remain in Pittsburgh and off of the Predators list.
Little to no potential of McLellan or Byslma coming to Nashville, leaves the Predators with a pretty inexperienced group of coaching candidates and likely keeps former Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette at the top of the team’s options for now.