Kings hire Todd McLellan, turn to an ex-Sharks head coach for second time


Kings hire Todd McLellan, turn to an ex-Sharks head coach for second time

Stop us if you've heard this before: the Los Angeles Kings, led by a general manager who has Sharks ties, hired a former San Jose head coach to the same position. 

The Kings announced Tuesday they hired ex-Sharks head coach Todd McLellan to replace interim head coach Willie Desjardins, who took over for John Stevens, who was fired by the Kings in November. McLellan's contract with Los Angeles reportedly is worth up to $25 million over five years, sources told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. 

McLellan coached the Sharks from 2008-2015, leading San Jose to six playoff appearances in seven years. He compiled a 311-163-66 record in the regular season, and the Sharks made two appearances in the Western Conference Final in 2010 and 2011 McLellan was Rob Blake's coach in the first of those berths, and Blake -- the Kings' general manger -- is now McLellan's boss. 

After parting ways with San Jose, McLellan coached the Edmonton Oilers for parts of four seasons. He was fired in November after going 123-119-24 behind the Edmonton bench in the regular season. McLellan led the Oilers to one playoff appearance in 2016-17. 

The 51-year-old was behind the Sharks' bench in Stanley Cup playoff losses to the Kings in 2013 and 2014. In the latter instance, San Jose blew a 3-0 series lead in the first round to Los Angeles and the Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup. Those Kings, of course, also had Sharks ties behind the bench and in the front office. 

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Dean Lombardi -- San Jose's general manager from 1996-2003 -- and Darryl Sutter -- San Jose's head coach from 1997-2002 -- served in the same positions in Los Angeles. Both are long gone from the Kings' front office, but the Sharks' rivals are hoping a similar approach aids their push back into relevance. 

But these Kings aren't on the precipice of contention as they were during the Sutter-Lombardi reunion. LA has missed the playoffs in three of the last five seasons, and finished with the NHL's second-worst record (31-42-9) in 2018-19.

The Kings have a long road back to the league's elite, and they're banking on a pair of ex-Sharks to lead them there.

NHL awards: Sharks' Joe Thornton misses out on first Masterton Trophy


NHL awards: Sharks' Joe Thornton misses out on first Masterton Trophy

Before Joe Thornton makes his return to the Sharks official by putting pen to paper, the veteran center missed out an adding another trophy to his collection.

The 39-year-old did not pick up the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy at Wednesday's 2019 NHL Awards as "the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey," with the award going to New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner.

The 2018-19 season marked Thornton's second consecutive campaign recovering from a torn ACL and MCL. He tore the ligaments in his right knee on Jan. 23, 2018, just over nine months after doing the same in his left knee. 

Despite that, Thornton scored 51 points (16 goals, 35 assists) in 73 regular-season games during his 21st NHL season and became a fixture on the Sharks' third line. It was his 17th season with at least 50 points, tying him for 10th in NHL history with the most such seasons. 

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Lehner, 27, won 25 games with the Islanders and was second among NHL goalies (minimum of 10 games played) in save percentage (.930) and third in goals against average (2.13) in the best season of his career.

Before the season, Lehner wrote an article for The Athletic and revealed he had suicidal thoughts while battling drug and alcohol addiction. He wrote that he "was diagnosed bipolar 1 with manic phases" while underoing treatment in Arizona, and revealed his struggles in order to "help make a difference and help others the way I have been helped." 

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Nick Foligno was the other finalist. Foligno, 31, scored 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 73 games, missing time in November and March as two of his three children had separate health scares. He told's Dan Rosen in a story this week that his nomination was "humbling and I appreciate it, but it's something that feels weird to me because I get to play a game for a living, and I've got a pretty good life considering all this stuff."

NHL awards: Sharks' Brent Burns finishes second in Norris Trophy voting


NHL awards: Sharks' Brent Burns finishes second in Norris Trophy voting

Brent Burns made the medal stand, but he did not pick up his second career Norris Trophy on Wednesday.

Instead, Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano won his first at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

Burns, 34, scored 83 points (16 goals, 67 assists) in 82 games, setting a Sharks franchise record for points by a defenseman. He became the first blueliner to score at least 82 points in a season since Karlsson did so with the Ottawa Senators in 2015-16, and only the 48th in NHL history.

This marked the third time in the last four seasons that Burns was a finalist for the award, and he dressed for the occasion.

Burns finished second in the Professional Hockey Writers Association's balloting.

Giordano, 35, scored a career-high 74 points (17 goals, 57 assists) and led the Western Conference-leading Flames in ice time en route to being a first-time Norris finalist. 

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was the other nominee. Hedman, 28, scored 54 points (12 goals, 42 assists) in 70 games, leading the loaded Lightning to a runaway President's Trophy win in a record-setting regular season.