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SJHN Podcast: Kevin Constantine Guest Stars + Scout Talks Granlund, Hoffman, Rutta

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Kevin Constantine joins the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast!

But before we get to Kevin Constantine (33:57), Sheng and Keegan discuss the latest additions to the San Jose Sharks staff like Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek (1:10), and what the Miller hiring signals about the Sharks’ continued investment in player development (8:20). They also reflect on former Sharks’ first-round pick Ryan Merkley signing in the KHL (14:45).

Sheng shares an NHL scout’s thoughts on new Sharks players Mikael Granlund (23:12), Mike Hoffman (27:42), and Jan Rutta (30:32).

Now, Kevin Constantine (33:57)!

Constantine recalled coaching influences as diverse as Phil Jackson, Bill Walsh, Bo Schembechler, and John Wooden (36:40). What was Constantine’s hockey take on Wooden’s Pyramid of Success?

He coached the Kalamazoo Wings when they were a Minnesota North Stars affiliate, before the North Stars split up to help form the expansion Sharks (45:15). So Constantine coached the legendary Link Gaetz, and tells the story of when Gaetz beat up his own goalie.

Constantine took over behind the San Jose Sharks bench in the third year of the franchise, after they had only won 28 games in their first two seasons in the league. How did he add belief and discipline to a 1993-94 group that would go on a surprise playoff run, upsetting the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings in the first round (49:35)?

That season, Constantine made the unusual coaching decision to allow five players a lot more latitude offensively than the rest of the team. Those five, Igor Larionov, Sergei Makarov, Johan Garpenlov, Sandis Ozolinsh, and Jeff Norton, were the precursor to Detroit’s Russian Five, and would help propel the Sharks to success. What was behind Constantine loosening the reins on Larionov and company (53:52)? And how are Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan’s recent comments about integrating Erik Karlsson related (57:53)?

Constantine shares why he wasn’t happy about the city of San Jose throwing the Sharks a parade after their second-round loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs (1:04:00).

Constantine says he was in “Dumb and Dumber” and talks about how that movie and Jamie Baker helped inspire the ’94 Sharks (1:07:20).

Constantine reveals Tom Pederson’s girlfriend as the culprit behind leaking the Red Wings’ playoff plans to the Sharks (1:10:35).

He also recounts going with backup Wade Flaherty over Arturs Irbe in the 1995 playoffs, which helped propel the San Jose Sharks to another first-round upset, this time against the Calgary Flames (1:17:25).

Constantine opens up about getting fired by the San Jose Sharks early in the 1995-96 season (1:20:02). He was 37 then, and up to that point, a bit of a coaching wunderkind, so he took it hard.

Though he was a young head coach, Constantine says that he was a yeller who learned to relate to players a lot better as he got older, in the second half of his career (1:23:35).

After head coaching stints with Jaromir Jagr’s Penguins and Martin Brodeur’s New Jersey Devils, Constantine continued coaching in the NAHL, WHL, and AHL. In 2010, he got offered a coaching position in France, and was advised by multiple hockey people to not take that job. But he did, why (1:35:25)?

This started an international coaching odyssey that’s taken him also to professional leagues in Switzerland, Korea, Poland, and Hungary. He reflects on those experiences.

Constantine closes with a couple hilarious Jagr stories (1:42:08).

Finally, we wrap up with Constantine’s thoughts about taking over new WHL side, the Wenatchee Wild (1:51:38).

Listen to the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast — it’s a new link — on Apple Podcasts and Spotify and Google Podcasts.

Subscribe to the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast YouTube channel, we’re trying to get over 1K subscribers!

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