SAN JOSE - Suffice it to say, it's typical for a manager to pick up the phone and call an employee the company is about to let go. It's rare to hear of a manager going to an employee's house to deliver the news.
But that's exactly what Sharks general manager Doug Wilson did when he delivered the news to Peter DeBoer and his coaching staff Wednesday.
"Heading over to his house yesterday was probably one of the toughest things I've done in this business," Wilson told reporters at SAP Center on Thursday, revealing that DeBoer's coaching staff was present for the meeting as well.
In a press conference that formally introduced Bob Boughner as the Sharks interim head coach, Wilson took the time to explain the arduousness of the choice to relieve DeBoer of his head coaching duties.
"This has been a very difficult decision and it's not a decision we made lightly," Wilson said at the start of the press conference. "I can't thank Pete DeBoer enough for what he's done for this organization. Not only in the coaching job but as a man and as a person."
DeBoer's dismissal comes in the wake of a winless road trip for the Sharks and a losing streak that has extended the entire month of December thus far. It isn't this one winless stretch that drove Wilson to make a coaching change, however. San Jose got off to a rough first month of the season but turned things around and had one of the best months of November the Sharks have ever had.
When their fortunes changed for the worse this time around, however, Wilson knew that something needed to change and tough decisions had to be made.
"It's not about the blame game, it's about finding solutions," Wilson said. "You look back at the success and the journey that we've had. But then, honestly, you take a look at the results that have been unacceptable this year."
Wilson revealed to a smaller group of reporters after the press conference that the decision to make a coaching change occurred on the flight home from the road trip following a 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators and a four-game trip where the Sharks were outscored 22-7.
"I was sitting there and you could feel it," Wilson said of the flight. "We were feeling pretty good about ourselves prior to that trip. Even in the Carolina game, I thought we battled back and got going. But something was lingering, there was something that just wasn't quite right. And my job is to find solutions and say, 'How can we get back? How can we get that energy and joy?' When you get that feeling, it's contagious and you can put games together. But when you're scratching and clawing to stay in the game, that sometimes means something is missing."
Even with that tough decision made and finalized, Wilson reiterated that he wished DeBoer and his coaching staff all the best -- which had a lot to do with his decision to go over to DeBoer's house.
"To me, it's respect," Wilson said. "I have such great respect for him, both him and his wife, and that's how you do business. He was so first class."
Wilson added that DeBoer "respected" the decision of the organization to hand the reigns over the Boughner, who was in his second tour on DeBoer's coaching staff following a brief head coaching stint with the Florida Panthers. In Wilson's eyes, bringing in a new voice -- even one as familiar as Boughner's -- can help turn things around.
"Sometimes, bringing coaches in does that," Wilson said. "With other teams, we've seen that. It doesn't make me happy that that might be what was needed. But it's not that Pete did anything wrong. It's just that, sometimes, maybe (you need) that little jolt and we all should look in the mirror and take responsibility."