From the top down, the entire San Jose Sharks organization is on the same page as to what the identity should be moving forward, and it’s nice to see. Tuesday morning, newly announced head coach David Quinn went so far as to say:
“Mike [Grier] and I, instinctively and naturally, see this game very similar.”
However, there’s no need to turn the page because San Jose Barracuda head coach John McCarthy is on board with the plan as well.
Of course, it starts with the general manager, and when hired to take over as the Sharks GM, Grier said that he wanted the team to be “tenacious, highly competitive, in-your-face, fast, and hard to play against.”
At development camp just two weeks ago, McCarthy reinforced the idea in the organization, saying that the identity of the Barracuda is planned to be “hard-working, competitive, and hard to play against.”
Coming up to Tuesday morning, Quinn stated just what he envisions as his plan for the San Jose Sharks moving forward:
“Well, for my end of it, one of the things you want to be is a tenacious, fast team. A team that plays on top of people, taking away time and space. A structured team that plays with freedom.”
When asked if the cohesiveness in how they see the game and the future identity of the team impacted the selection of Quinn as head coach, Grier said, “Yes, for sure.” He noted that their ideas mesh well, but that they will still be able to push and challenge one another en route to improving the team as they go.
Grier also had good to say about Quinn’s experience to this point: “I think he has a good sense of what wins in this league and how you have to play. Definitely, our visions kind of lined up together.”
Of course, much has been made about Grier and Quinn both being Boston University alumni. For his part, Grier said that this connection was “a cherry on top” but not an important reason for hiring Quinn. Quinn said they went about the hire the right way, insofar as Grier interviewed a number of coaching candidates (nine, to be exact). But of course, there’s another BU branch to add to Grier and Quinn:
“To me, the beauty of our situation is John McCarthy, our [AHL] coach, played for me when I was associate coach from 2004-2009. John and I had a continued relationship after that. There couldn’t be a better guy coaching our American Hockey League team. The fact that he and I have a previous relationship and have a lot of respect for each other, personally and professionally, I think will make our relationship with the Barracuda unique.”
Grier, Quinn, and McCarthy could be the first GM-NHL head coach-AHL head coach to all hail from the same school.
THE FIRST STEP…
Of course, coaches and management always talk about wanting to play fast and be hard to play against.
“You’ve never heard of a coach who wants to play slow,” Quinn quipped.
But the difference with the San Jose Sharks this coming year? Unlike this past season and what Bob Boughner is dealing with, Grier is actively adding players that fit his mold, and subtracting players who don’t.
Newly-acquired skaters like Steven Lorentz, Oskar Lindblom, Matt Benning, Nico Sturm, and Luke Kunin, among others, should bring that tenacity and competitive nature both Grier and Quinn want to see.
Grier and Quinn want to set the competitive bar high for top San Jose Sharks prospects William Eklund, Thomas Bordeleau, Brandon Coe, and Ozzy Wiesblatt. And the kind of players that this team wants to keep around are the ones who are looking forward to that challenge.
As for how the rest of the plan will play out? There’s a training camp and a full season ahead to test it.
“We’re gonna push and try and make the playoffs,” Grier said. “If we don’t, we know we’re gonna be competitive all season long, putting an effort to be proud of.”
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