Sharks stay with interim coach
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.”