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John Madden Talks Analytics, Sharks’ New Defensive System

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“I probably wouldn’t be one of the guys that people [think would be into] analytics.”

John Madden — three-time Stanley Cup champion and 2001 Selke Trophy winner — says he didn’t jump into analytics until a few years ago. But now?

“I love using them.”

San Jose Hockey Now caught up last week with the new San Jose Sharks assistant coach for a fun, fascinating interview. Madden, from his Kentucky home, answered these questions and more: Has the San Jose Sharks coaching staff found a defensive scheme that fits their personnel? What did Madden, who’s coaching the forwards and running the penalty kill, learn from closely watching the 2020 Lightning? How does he apply analytics to the penalty kill?

Sheng Peng: How did you end up in Kentucky as your place of residence? It’s not exactly a hockey hotbed.

John Madden: We were in Florida for a while after I was playing there and working there. We just moved here in January. My daughter [Reese] is in show jumping horses. We’re right in the smack dab middle of Kentucky, 10 minutes from the horse park, the show grounds, it’s just horse country, so it makes sense to be here.

SP: Let’s start off with a fun one. Travis Zajac said you used to cut your toenails and leave the scraps on Colin White’s stall to mess with him.

JM: Colin White and I are really good friends. I don’t wanna say too much, but he doesn’t like feet at all. So I put them on a piece of tape and and stuck them on his name plate and he’d come back and freak out. It was kind of like a little joke to keep the dressing room loose.

SP: Speaking of your playing days, you played a lot against Bob Boughner. What memories do you have of playing against him?

JM: I just remember him being hard-nosed, tough in terms of hard to play against. Physical, going the extra mile and doing all the little things right.

He wasn’t the guy you want to play against every night, that’s for sure.

SP: How did it come together that you joined his staff? As far as I know, you don’t have a long-standing relationship with Bob or anything.

JM: You’re right. I’ve never even had a cup of coffee with Bob. He was part of the PA, so we encountered each other there from time to time, but never really had a conversation with him or anything.

Somehow, my name got filtered to him, I guess. And we just started conversations that took three to four weeks talking on the phone. Finally, we were able to get together, share a cup of coffee, have some lunch, and just get to know each other.

We were on the same page about a lot of things.

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