Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Sharks' McLellan preaching effort

Categories: Conference Finals, San Jose Sharks, VAN vs. SJS, Vancouver Canucks

Story Tools

Sharks coach Todd McLellan was noticeably perturbed at his team's play at a media conference on Monday. (Harry How/Getty Images) Sharks coach Todd McLellan was noticeably perturbed at his team's play at a media conference on Monday. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Like clockwork, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said Monday that Sunday was a team effort of less than full effort, and did not go to the trouble of finding exemptions to his complaints about work ethic.

"As much as we were hoping to see a different game, it was that game," McLellan said after reviewing Vancouver's 3-2 win in Game 1. "We were slow.  We didn't get to the battles that we needed to get to.  When we get there, quite frankly, we were out- battled.  It's as simple as that.  I can't paint any more of a picture than that. That will have to change."

And when reminded of the burdens of going seven games, he dismissed it like a weak clearing pass.

"[It] didn't seem to bother this Canuck team against Nashville.  We can keep looking back and referring to it.  But the quicker we eliminate that and we move on, the better opportunity we have of overcoming it."

It is a tribute to McLellan's style that he neither avoids nor seeks personal assessments, and that he throws everyone in the same boat when the leaks start showing. It is a tribute to his frustration that he has to tap the no-effort well so often - five times in 14 games so far.

But he believes there is something still to be provided by the roster that emerges only when cornered, and Sunday's 3-2 loss to Vancouver boiled down in his mind to the Sharks being insufficiently engaged for a sufficient amount of time.

This may be an unreasonable standard given the nature of the game at this level - when the other guys are going good, it's because you're going bad. But the Sharks have swam in these waters too often for anyone's comfort - spending too much time with the Kings in Round 1 and needing all seven games to finish a Detroit team they led 3-0.

Essentially, their season shakes down to Wednesday. Win and the Sharks don't need any more excuses. Lose, and none will be heard. The team to take a 2-0 lead in a conference or Stanley Cup final has won the last 27 of the last 28 series, going back to the Penguins-Bruins Eastern Conference Final in 1991, so San Jose is yet again cornered. The Sharks have lost their last seven conference final games, and an eighth would surely spell their demise.


Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Devin Setoguchi
Ryane Clowe-Logan Couture-Dany Heatley
Torrey Mitchell-Joe Pavelski-Kyle Wellwood
Ben Eager-Scott Nichol-Jamal Mayers

Douglas Murray-Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Niclas Wallin
Kent Huskins-Ian White

Antti Niemi
Antero Niittymaki