Sharks stay with in­terim coach

San Francisco Chronicle - - SPORTS - By Greg Beacham Greg Beacham is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

The Sharks saw enough from Bob Bough­ner be­hind their bench last sea­son to be con­fi­dent he’s the head coach to lead them back to the top.

Sharks gen­eral man­ager Doug Wil­son for­mally re­tained Bough­ner as San Jose’s head coach Tues­day, re­mov­ing the in­terim tag to make him the ninth full­time head coach in fran­chise his­tory.

Bough­ner be­came in­terim coach af­ter Peter DeBoer and the rest of his as­sis­tants were fired Dec. 11. San Jose went 14­20­3 with Bough­ner be­hind the bench and missed the play­offs for only the sec­ond time since 2003, but Wil­son saw enough progress to stick with Bough­ner.

Wil­son in­ter­viewed other coaches for the full­time job, but said Bough­ner was “the fron­trun­ner.”

“Last year, I put him in a very dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion,” Wil­son said, men­tion­ing that Bough­ner was pro­moted at mid­sea­son, “not hav­ing his own staff, and ob­vi­ously hav­ing some key play­ers out. How he han­dled that re­vealed a lot to me. He in­te­grated ev­ery­body. He’s very open­minded in look­ing to find so­lu­tions.”

Bough­ner also hired Rocky Thomp­son as his as­so­ciate coach and John Mad­den as an as­sis­tant coach. Dan Dar­row will stay on staff as an as­sis­tant, and long­time Sharks goalie Ev­geni Nabokov was re­tained as goal­tend­ing coach.

“I think you’re go­ing to see a dif­fer­ent kind of iden­tity on the ice, a dif­fer­ent com­pete,” Bough­ner said. “We’re go­ing to be real con­nected. I think the play­ers are go­ing to see that . ... I know the play­ers are al­ready ex­cited about that.”

Bough­ner ini­tially spent two sea­sons on Deboer’s staff from 2015 through ’17, in­clud­ing the Sharks’ run to their only Stan­ley Cup Fi­nals ap­pear­ance in 2016. Bough­ner was hired as the head coach of the Pan­thers in June 2017, but re­joined the Sharks last year af­ter he was fired fol­low­ing two straight non­play­off sea­sons.

“We’ve all learned a valu­able les­son, coaches and play­ers,” Bough­ner said. “I’ve had a lot of con­ver­sa­tions, and they all have a bad taste in their mouth about what slipped through the cracks last year and what needs to im­prove.”

Bob Bough­ner

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