SAN JOSE -- It might have looked like business as usual on the surface when the Sharks took the ice for their morning skate Thursday to prepare for a bout against the New York Rangers.
But with a new coaching staff on the ice, things were definitely not the same.
"It's a little weird," Patrick Marleau admitted. "Obviously when there are changes, they seem different."
It had been less than 24 hours since Peter DeBoer and his coaching staff were relieved of their duties. Sharks players expressed feelings of shock and sadness -- and acknowledged the change sends them a message they need to be better.
"You're shocked and stunned and you feel for those guys," Logan Couture said. "You put hockey aside. As a human being, you're upset that you're not going to get to work with that group anymore and see them every day. I've talked to most of them and I told them how I had so much fun coming to the rink every day and playing for you guys.
"It's unfortunate that we weren't able to win as a group."
For most of the players in the room, especially for the younger set, this kind of mid-season change is a new experience. Tomas Hertl particularly was stunned, given that DeBoer gave him the opportunity last season to take over at center and take on a leadership role.
"It's never happened to me in my life, during the season," Hertl said. "It's for sure hard because we've played under Pete for four years and did a lot of really good things. We went to the Stanley Cup Final. Last year, we almost got to the Final again. Under Pete, I grew up.
"Last season I had one of my best seasons and he gave me the opportunity to play big minutes and be a top-six forward and I really appreciate it."
San Jose is getting a slightly new voice with Bob Boughner taking over as head coach. The team is familiar with Boughner, being that he has been on DeBoer's coaching staff twice since the 2015-16 season. That being said, practice looked a little different with Boughner and his new coaching staff -- which includes Roy Sommer, Mike Ricci, and Evgeni Nabokov -- shuffling up the lines and running things.
"We're going to shake some things up system-wise," Couture said. "Boughie talked to us this morning as a group, as a leadership group. He's a guy you want to play for and a guy you want to do well for."
But the changes don't stop with Boughner and his staff coming in. As Couture previously mentioned, it's on the players now in the post-DeBoer era to right the ship. San Jose still hasn't won a game in December and the Sharks currently sit five points out of a playoff spot.
Whether there has been a coaching change or not, it's up to the players on the ice to take responsibility.
"It's on all of us in this room when something like that happens," Couture said. "Pro sports is such a 'what have you done for me lately' business. As a player, when a member of the coaching staff loses their job, you feel like you're part of the reason why."