McLellan's Forefathers

Greetings fellow Sharks fans- my name is Jason Plank, and I've been brought on board by the esteemed Diecast Dude to service you. On Sharks related material. I've been brought on board to service your every Sharks need.

Ah geez. Nothing like an awkward introduction eh?

I've been running a humble Sharks blog entitled We Bleed Teal since last March, so I'm fairly familiar with Patty & The Gang, as well as all the second-round heartbreak that comes along with it. My experience over there taught me a lot- how to capitalize the beginning of sentences, and most importantly, the benefits of having a support system once May rolls around. Life gets rough my friends. Life gets rough.

So in order to get my feet wet here, I've decided to post an article that I wrote for Hockey Primetime before the Sharks season opener. Here's to our upcoming symbiotic relationship!

McLellan's Forefathers

With the city of San Jose abuzz about fresh beginnings and yet another opportunity to advance past the second round of the playoffs, all eyes will be on Todd McLellan this season. Make no mistake ladies and gentlemen, McLellan was brought in to replace Ron Wilson (who is the Sharks all-time coaching leader in wins) for one sole purpose- bring home a Stanley Cup.

It's important to note however that this is his first season behind the bench as an NHL Head Coach. This is not to say McLellan's time spent as an AHL Head Coach is not a sufficient proving ground in today's NHL- Bruce Bodreau of the Washington Capitals is an excellent example of how a fresh perspective can revitalize a franchise and propel them to a playoff appearance. Nor does it discredit the ample amount of experience and success he had running the Red Wings powerplay over the last three seasons (which culminated in a Stanley Cup last year). Coupled with the strong cast of players the Sharks boast, it's all but a certainty that San Jose will make a run at the Pacific Division title.

But searching for regular season success is not the case with the Sharks, a team that has been one of the most dominant teams in the NHL during the last four seasons. Only the ever stalwart Detroit Red Wings have amassed more regular season points in that time span. The bar on regular season performances has already been set- advancing to the second round has become something of a painful routine. Expectations are that the Sharks make a deep playoff run and contend for a Stanley Cup in June of 2009; expectations that have, in years past, disappointed a rabid fan base.

Which brings us to the point.

In 1986, Jean Perron won the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in his first year behind the bench, the last Head Coach to do so. Mike Babcock was one win away in 2002-03 with the Mighty Ducks, losing in game seven to the New Jersey Devils. Using the years since Perron's win, I did some number crunching. Some notes before I dig into this:

* The years after Perron's win are what we are dealing with. A total of twenty one seasons, spanning from 1986 (Perron with the Canadiens) to 2008 (Babcock with the Red Wings).

* By no means does this table tell us anything about McLellan's ability to become a Stanley Cup winning head coach, as it only deals with a sample set of coaches that have won a Cup.

* When analyzing the averages for years until the coach won his first Cup (as well as if it was with the team he began his coaching days with) I threw out duplicates- for example, Scotty Bowman won four Stanley Cups in this specific time frame. Due to the nature of the analysis (how long a specific coach took to win his first Cup), including Bowman's figures more than once would serve no purpose. The duplicates are set in italics.

Editor's Note: Table can be found here- I seem to be having trouble embedding it within this article

1) It has taken an average of 5.06 seasons as Head Coach to win The Cup. Even if you consider Pat Burns an anomaly (as he took 13 seasons behind the bench to win a championship) and conveniently throw his year out, nothing too drastic happens. The average decreases to 4.56 seasons, which still rounds out to five years until McLellan brings a Stanley Cup to San Jose. Unfortunately for the Sharks, that leads us to our next point.
2) Coaches win a Stanley Cup with their first team 47.06% of the time. For the sake of the example, assume McLellan will win a Cup sometime in his career. The likelihood of that happening with the Sharks is just about 50-50.
3) So if we assume that McLellan will win a Stanley Cup in his career (a lofty goal nonetheless), the averages state it will take him five seasons to do so, with around a 50% chance that it will be with the Sharks.
Looks to be a fun year in San Jose.

Go Sharks.