Sharks

Report: Boughner to leave Sharks, become Panthers head coach

Report: Boughner to leave Sharks, become Panthers head coach

It appears that the Sharks will have an opening on their coaching staff very shortly.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzine, the Florida Panthers will hire Sharks assistant coach Bob Boughner to be their new head coach, “barring any last minute hiccups.”

It was revealed in early May that the Panthers had received permission from the Sharks to interview Boughner for the position. The Buffalo Sabres were also reportedly interested in Boughner, who has been as assistant coach under Pete DeBoer in San Jose for the past two seasons.

The job will be Boughner’s first head coaching job in the NHL, starting in the same place that DeBoer did from 2008-09 through 2010-11.

Boughner, who was up for the Colorado Avalanche job last summer before they eventually chose Jared Bednar, said before the start of the 2016-17 season that he would like to become an NHL head coach at some point.

“I think that’s the end game to be a head coach in this league,” Boughner said last September.

The 46-year-old former NHL defenseman was primarily in charge of the Sharks’ defense and penalty kill. The Sharks surrendered 2.52 goals-per game in 2015-16 (10th in the NHL) and 2.44 goals-per game in 2017-18 (fifth in the NHL). Their penalty kill was 21st in the NHL in Boughner’s first season (80.5 percent), and 18th this past year (80.7 percent).

Norris Trophy favorite Brent Burns offen credited Boughner for helping him transition back to the blue line and become the dominant all-around player he is now.

Boughner will be taking over a Florida team that missed the playoffs this season, finishing sixth in the Atlantic Division (35-36-11, 81 points). The Panthers fired Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, replacing him with interim coach and then-general manager Tom Rowe. Since the conclusion of the season, Dale Tallon has resumed general manager duties while Rowe has taken on an advisory role.

Prior to joining the Sharks, Boughner was the head coach of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires for eight seasons, leading them to Memorial Cup championships in 2009 and 2010. He was named as the OHL/CHL coach of the year in 2008 and 2009, and was an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11. Boughner played 630 games over 10 NHL seasons as a defenseman with the Sabres, Predators, Penguins, Flames, Hurricanes and Avalanche.

Boughner would become the third active Sharks assistant coach to leave the team to take over the head coaching job of another club (Wayne Cashman, Flyers, 1997; Todd Richards, Minnesota, 2009).

The Sharks also lost director of player personnel Larry Robinson this offseason, as Robinson's contract was not renewed. Like Boughner, the legendary Hall of Fame defenseman also worked with the organization's blueliners.

After beating Vegas, Sharks can't suffer emotional letdown vs. Avalanche

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USATSI

After beating Vegas, Sharks can't suffer emotional letdown vs. Avalanche

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks and Avalanche enter their second-round series of the NHL playoffs on very different pages. San Jose will be just three days removed from their Game 7 overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights, while the Avs haven't played since booting the Calgary Flames from the playoffs on April 19. 

When asked if there was an advantage to not having time to get rusty, Sharks’ coach Peter DeBoer tried to suppress a laugh. 

“If you’re asking me if I’d rather have a week off, I’ll take the week off,” he told NBC Sports California with a smile.

Granted, San Jose is dealing with multiple injuries sustained during their contentious first-round bout with the Golden Knights. But more than anything, DeBoer wants his team to be able to keep their intensity high after a come-from-behind series win over Vegas. Extracurriculars, off-ice chatter, and back-to-back games going extra long can really zap the energy out of a team, and San Jose has to be ready to bounce back from that. 

“I’m more worried about our emotional level than our physical,” DeBoer admitted. “You’re fighting for your life for three games in a row, that taxes you emotionally. So we’ve got to get our emotional levels back up when we come out on the ice on Friday night.”

There is one advantage San Jose has over their next opponent, however: getting to start the series in their own building.

“It’s nice to not be traveling today to Colorado,” DeBoer said. “It’s nice, especially after a seven-game series, to not have to travel.”

Defenseman Brenden Dillon agreed. “I think any time you get to play at home and you don’t have to travel three or four hours, different time zones, it’s going to play to our advantage. Especially after a big series like that, a physical series where guys are banged up. Any time you’re able to sleep in your own bed I think is a positive.”

Dillon and the rest of the Sharks’ defensemen have a tall task ahead of them in shutting down Colorado’s speedy offense, which did quite a bit of damage against the Flames in their first-round series. Top-line center Nathan MacKinnon and second-line winger Mikko Rantanen led the charge with a combined 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) against Calgary, while Hobey Baker winner Cale Makar finished his first NHL playoff series with two points (one goal, one assist) and a plus-four. 

[RELATED: Sharks' Pavelski unlikely to play in Game 1 vs. Avs]

Much like shutting down Vegas’ Mark Stone line, San Jose will have to solve the MacKinnon combo if they’re going to be successful. 

“We’ve got to be aware of them,” DeBoer said, explaining that facing the Avs' offense in the playoffs will be different than facing them during the regular season. “The regular season you throw out the window this time of year. We watched them against Calgary and what they did to them against a really good d-corps. We know what we’re dealing with and that’s going to be the challenge of the series.”

Sharks' Joe Pavelski day-to-day but unlikely to play in Game 1 vs. Avalanche

Sharks' Joe Pavelski day-to-day but unlikely to play in Game 1 vs. Avalanche

SAN JOSE – Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer is classifying Joe Pavelski as day-to-day after the captain sustained a scary injury during San Jose's Game 7 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

Pavelski left Game 7 at the 9:13 mark of the third period after getting cross-checked off a faceoff by Cody Eakin and falling to the ice and hitting his head. No. 8 was bleeding profusely and had to be helped off the ice by a few of his teammates with a towel being held to his head. DeBoer wouldn’t specify exactly what Pavelski’s ailment was, but said the top-line forward was “feeling the effects” of the injury and likely won’t be in the lineup for Game 1 of the Sharks' second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche.

“It could’ve been worse, you could’ve been dealing with a fractured skull,” DeBoer told the media after Thursday’s morning skate. “Thankfully, we weren’t.”

Pavelski did not take the ice for practice Thursday, although the press was told he was in the building.

Teammates Melker Karlsson and Tim Heed were also missing from practice Thursday morning. Joonas Donskoi, who missed Game 7 against the Knights with an unspecified injury, skated in a non-contact orange sweater early Thursday morning but left the ice before practice got underway. Micheal Haley returned to practice for the first time since sustaining an injury during Game 3 against the Knights.

When questioned about the status of players missing from practice, DeBoer chalked it up to the team being banged-up just like every other team still in the hunt for the Stanley Cup.

“Like anybody this time of year, we have a lot of game-time decisions,” DeBoer said.

[RELATED: NHL apologizes to Vegas for mistake on major penalty call]

The Sharks will open up their second-round series against the Avalanche at SAP Center on Friday.