As it has been rumored for the past week now, the names of the new assistant coaches in San Jose were officially announced today by Doug Wilson. Three of the names (Trent Yawney, Jay Woodcroft, and Todd Richards) were already leaked in the media over the last few days, but a couple new names were also mentioned in the press release. Of all the new additions, the one I'm most excited about is Richards. His win record is insane, and if he can translate that over to the Sharks, we should be in for a great season!
The team has now hired the first goalie coach since Strelow passed away last year. The man to fill the position is Corey Schwab, who was taught by Strelow back in the mid-1990s in the New Jersey Devils system. It's good to know that the team will have a goalie coach that is familiar with the style that has been taught in SJ for many years now and has proven to be successful.
Also, it was announced Mike Ricci will serve as a development coach for the team. He will have an active roll in on ice development when the team is at home, but will not have to travel with the team on all occasions. This leads me to believe that Ricci is preparing for a full-time assistant position with the team at some point in the future, possibly after his kids have gotten older.
"I think Todd has selected several tremendous individuals to help him guide our team and teach our players," said Wilson. "Each of them comes from winning traditions and strong organizations and they all have a solid background in the game of hockey. They each will be able to apply their knowledge and experiences towards our group of players as we strive towards our goal of winning the Stanley Cup."
Pollack has already given a little more information about the new assistant coaches from McLellans perspective:
"For one thing, look for Yawney to be bad cop when one might be needed. "I look at personalities," McLellan said. "I have a little bit of energy and I think I'm upbeat. I've known Trent Yawney for many years and he can be the same, but I also know that he can be a grumpy guy and that's a real good thing for us." This should be great for those games where the players just don't seem to be performing to their abbilities. There were countless times when things were going wrong on the ice, but there was no fire coming from any of the coaches behind the bench. Hopefully now, somebody will be willing to yell at the players and give them a swift kick in the rear when needed.
"Todd Richards has a real passion for the game," McLellan added. "He can be a positive guy and can pick people up." McLellan described Richards as a "June coach" - a term McLellan borrowed from Mike Babcock in Detroit to indicate a coach who always got his teams playing deep into the playoffs." He seems to be the guy that will give the players that extra bit of encouragement when times are hard and the team needs an extra level of motivation. He's had success with this before, hopefully he can bring it to SJ.
"In Detroit, McLellan said, Woodcroft worked with the coaching staff; in San Jose, once he and Paul Fink (manager of hockey technology) get things set up, Woodcroft will have direct contact with players and occasionally take to the ice as well. As things evolve, he'll have an "eye in the sky" vantage point during games - something the Sharks have lacked in recent years." I'm surprised it's taken this long for the team to have a person watching from above. I imagine that from that vantage point, a person is able to see things that aren't apparent from the ice level and could spot items that are either imperative to the success or cause of the failure of a team. This addition will be very beneficial to the coaching staff, giving them a more rounded look of what occurs on the ice.
"In case you missed it, before the Sharks hired Schwab away from the Lightning, San Jose scout Cap Raeder went in the other direction. Lighting Coach Barry Melrose had Raeder as the goalie coach on his staff in Los Angeles back in the day, and brought him to Tampa Bay in the same role." I had no idea that a scout left the organization, but the again, I never knew who the guy was to begin with.