The final coaching roster has been submitted and as predicted, the Sharks organization has announced the full coaching staff for both the NHL and AHL teams. Head coach Bob Boughner has won the full-time roll. As rumored, former AHL Chicago Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson will be joining as an associate coach, handling the defense and power play. John Madden — previously the head coach for the AHL Cleveland Monsters, a 13-year NHL veteran and 2001 Selke winner — will handle the forwards and penalty kill. Mike Ricci returns in a development role, as well as Dan Darrow and Charlie Townsend on video.
Perhaps most notably, Evgeni Nabokov will remain with the NHL club as a goaltending coach. Aaron Dell saw significant improvement under Nabokov and if the Sharks buyout Martin Jones — who lost the starting job to Dell last season — Dell could be a cheap option in a tandem net. Or perhaps the Sharks are willing to roll the dice on Jones one more time, with a goaltending coach he’s shown small improvements under, but that seems unlikely.
And while there’s no real reason Anton Khudobin would want to leave Dallas (outside of some egregious overpayment I’m not encouraging Doug Wilson to make), knowing Nabokov is his mentor makes me want to will that into the universe.
“I want to thank Roy Sommer and Mike Ricci for stepping in under some challenging circumstances to help lead our NHL club last season,” said Wilson. “The role that Roy and Mike play in continuing to teach and develop our young players is amongst the most important in our organization.”
On the Barracuda end, Roy Sommer and his bolo-ties will return to the Cuda bench with Jimmy Bonneau and Mike Chiasson as assistant coaches and Nick Gialdini as Video Coach and Hockey Operations Assistant. John McCarthy, who served as the Barracuda’s captain from 2016 until he retired in December 2019, has been named AHL Development Coach, expanding his role to include Sharks prospects. McCarthy retires holding Cuda records for games played (275), goals (62), assists (76), points (138), power-play goals (17) and shorthanded goals (5).
With a goaltending development position open, the Cuda brought in Dany Sabourin, who won a 2019 Memorial Cup as the goaltending coach for Sharks prospect Zachary Emond. The 40-year-old had a career spanning 17 seasons across several professional leagues across North America and Europe, including 52 NHL games and 294 AHL games.
So everything happened pretty much as planned. I’m excited to see what Rocky Thompson brings and Madden might help Logan Couture get his groove back. Keeping Nabokov at the NHL level is mostly a relief that they didn’t over-think things.
The one concern is this quote from Dan Darrow that made the rounds on Twitter earlier this month and seems to have since disappeared — likely a death of “getting dunked on too hard by Hockey Twitter,” and I think you’ll see why:
This is why private analytics firms can get away with telling the Peter Chiarellis of the NHL that Russell is one of the best zone exit players in the league. They aren’t even marks in the con, they are actively requesting to be victimized pic.twitter.com/Ty1ay4LTCL— Arch (@Archaeologuy) September 7, 2020
An image tweeted by the NHL Coaches’ Association reads: “Find Analytics that support your initial findings from video. You can’t prove something you don’t first see.” The quote is credited to Dan Darrow and posted with a #MondayMotivation.
Anyway, it’s bad science and bad math to draw conclusions and work backward through the data and the idea that “you can’t prove what you didn’t see” is a lot of things but mostly it’s fundamentally incorrect.
But perhaps somewhere in that quote is a hidden meaning, something about how by nature of being the video coach, he’s watching more of the Sharks than the majority of people. Perhaps he’s good at identifying trends that way, visually, but using analytics to prove and help provide correction. Maybe we could hope for that view. Is that too optimistic?
What a weird quote.
Speaking of, here’s Coach Bob on the future:
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to return to the San Jose Sharks organization as head coach,” said Boughner. ”I want to thank Hasso Plattner and Doug Wilson for their trust in me. Last year was a difficult season for everyone but I think we learned a lot about ourselves as a group and we made some positive strides over the second half of the year. I’ve been in contact with many of our players over the break and, as a coaching staff, we are going to make it clear that our team is going to compete every night, play hard and be a tight group on and off the ice.
“Rocky and John will bring some fresh energy and excitement to our group,” said Boughner. “Both have been head coaches, worked on coaching staffs in the NHL and have lots of experience working with and developing young players. It was important that anyone we brought in from the outside come from a culture of winning, which is what we are used to in San Jose. Rocky and John have the credibility and work ethic to help us get our talented team back to that level.”