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McCarthy Denies One Kaut Claim, Lends Credence To Another



Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

John McCarthy stood by the San Jose Sharks organization’s denial that a Barracuda coach tried to coerce Martin Kaut into fighting last season.

But, in his first media availability since Kaut’s accusations, McCarthy also gave some credence to one of the Czech winger’s claims.

In July, after the Sharks qualified the pending RFA, Kaut signed with Czech side HC Dynamo Pardubice. In a bombshell interview with Czech journalist Robert Rampa, Kaut accused the Barracuda of trying to make him fight every game.

Kaut Says Cuda Coach Tried To Make Him Fight ‘Each Game’, Sharks Deny Claim

The San Jose Sharks were quick to respond with this statement: “We have been made aware of comments attributed to Martin Kaut stating that he was pressured to deliberately instigate a physical engagement with opposing players on the ice. Let us be unequivocally clear that no such direction was ever given or insinuated by the members of the Sharks or Barracuda coaching or hockey staffs.”

“I stand by the statement. It’s not true,” McCarthy said yesterday, speaking for himself and assistant coaches Kyle Hagel and Louis Mass. “That’s kind of how we felt about it.”

McCarthy said he was surprised by Kaut’s accusations. He sensed no rancor in their exit interview.

“That’s the strange part is his end-of-year meeting was very positive,” the bench boss recounted. “There was zero [contentiousness] or complaints on anything, along those lines.”

Kaut stressed, in his interview with Rampa, that he had expressed his concerns to management before heading back home to Czechia. McCarthy did clarify that he was referring to just the exit interviews that he was a part of.

“There are different stops along the way,” he said. “I can only speak to the ones I was in, and there was no mention of anything along the lines of what he said.”

When asked if this might have been some sort misunderstanding between the Barracuda coaching staff and the Czech native, McCarthy said, “I haven’t talked to him. I don’t know why. All I can really say is that it’s not accurate.”

It’s worth noting that Kaut is an excellent English speaker.

However, there was one Kaut claim that McCarthy did not shoot down.

“It didn’t feel like we were a team,” the San Jose Sharks prospect said of the Cuda. “Each of the youngsters played for themselves.”

McCarthy was asked if he was surprised by that.

“Yes and no,” he conceded.

The second-year head coach says a tighter-knit group will be a focus this season.

“As a group, we’re going to spend a little bit more time on the team-building aspect. Last year, maybe, with the [new] building, kind of moving in at the last minute, maybe we didn’t dedicate enough time to coming together as a group. We’re going to dedicate a little bit more time to that,” he said. “There’s obviously a lot of turnover. [We] put a premium on bringing people here with high character and high work ethic. Those are the types of players that we want our young guys around.”

So is McCarthy looking to reprise previous Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer’s annual pre-season team camping trip? McCarthy played for Sommer for 11 years.

“No,” McCarthy deadpanned.

Sorry, Roy.

“We’ll probably do something,” McCarthy said, “we haven’t decided what yet.”

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