Incoming head coach Bob Boughner has been in the lab for the last nine months, concocting a winning formula for the San Jose Sharks.
Well, not quite a lab, but he’s been in front of his laptop a lot, scheming with new assistant coaches Rocky Thompson and John Madden. Boughner and Thompson are in San Jose, while Madden will meet them in Arizona after Christmas, in the lead-up to the opening of training camp on Dec. 31.
Instead of flying to Ottawa to meet up with Erik Karlsson or Texas to grill ’em up with Brent Burns, he’s also spent a lot of time on the phone or Zoom with his defensive kingpins.
“We’ve made it work,” Boughner said. “There’s that trust factor with the players that they’re doing what they need to do to get ready. From all my conversations, everything that I’ve seen, guys are doing the right things.”
He added, looking on the bright side: “Sometimes, you have a little bit more of a candid conversation when you’re long distance and on a computer.”
Boughner was all about being optimistic in his first media availability since September.
He even painted a rosy picture about the San Jose Sharks needing to hold training camp in Arizona and open the season on a eight-game road trip.
Here are some of the highlights from his availability:
Boughner, on on-the-ice changes we’ll see from the San Jose Sharks:
We’re looking to get our D involved a lot more in the offense. It’s going to be in-zone and up the ice. That will be one of our biggest changes.
Boughner, on what wrong last year:
I think the guys realized that when things weren’t going our way last year, that maybe we tried to fix things individually. We went on our own page and it didn’t work.
You learn from your mistakes, things that didn’t work. I already addressed a lot of this during the off-season through Zoom and it’s something that I’m going to key on and address when we get back together as a group. That’s a work in progress.
I know we have really good people, guys that really care, guys who are out to prove everybody wrong and get back to where we belong.
Boughner, on the bright side of starting training camp in a different state and the season on an eight-game road trip:
If you had asked me last season what this team probably could have used from a chemistry standpoint, from a culture standpoint, I would have said, a training camp where we all get away together and have no distractions — and probably a good long road trip to start the season. (laughs) Maybe this is a little more than I wish for. I think it’s going to be a good thing for us. I think we really need to spend some time together.
Boughner, on possibility of Patrick Marleau and Ryan Donato lining up at third-line center:
Those are definitely options. But guys that I see: Noah Gregor didn’t play a lot of center here last year, but he’s a natural centerman. Obviously, Dylan Gambrell being a righty, being able to take faceoffs on that side would be an advantage for us if he can take a hold of that position. Max Letunov has had a good off-season, Alex True, guys like that. Kellman made an impression on me last year.
Boughner, on who might join Logan Couture, Karlsson, Burns, and Tomas Hertl in getting a letter:
That’s a decision that we want to make probably through camp, just before the season starts. We’ve talked about that as a staff already. We want to just see how the first week or two play out in training camp.
We have some options we can go with. We don’t have to name one. We can name one.
Boughner, on Couture, Hertl, Karlsson, and Burns’s health:
Logan looks good. Tommy Hertl looks good. I’ve talked to Karlsson a bunch over the phone. He seems like he’s feeling good. Even Burnzie was nicked up a little [last year]. Everybody sounds like they’re doing well and healthy and ready to go.
Yurtaykin will be at #SJSharks camp
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) December 23, 2020
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