Monday, May 12, 2008

Sayonara Ronnie

So the search begins. The search for a new coaching staff, that is, after reports that should surprise no one surfaced earlier today regarding Ron Wilson's termination. Perhaps not all the blame should be placed on the shoulders of the long-tenured (by NHL standards, anyway) head coach of the Sharks for San Jose's third consecutive postseason of disappointment and underachievement. But something had to give, and a scapegoat quickly emerged in RW. His passive, containment-style defense, mistreatment of younger players and apathetic, who-gives-a-crap attitude harbored an indifferent locker room culture that was as much to blame for the Sharks' three straight early exits as Vesa Toskala's Game 4 giveaway against the Oilers, Marleau's late-game defensive gaffe versus the Red Wings or Brian Campbell's ill-timed tripping penalty against the Stars.

Of course, firing Wilson was easy compared to the aforementioned task that lies ahead: naming his replacement. Everyone from Bob Hartley to Mike Ricci has been floated around as a possible suitor, but observing the trend of the two post-lockout Stanley Cup champions, perhaps the Sharks would be better off with an AHL bench boss than an established big name like a Joel Quenneville or Paul Maurice. Regardless, Doug Wilson is on the record stating that the hunt for a new coach will commence tomorrow, although I surmise that it has already begun. Showing Wilson the door was merely the first step in what proves as a lengthy process of transforming a good regular season time into a true Cup contender.

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