The Sharks have hired Hall-of-Fame defenseman and Stanley Cup-winning coach Larry Robinson as an assistant, according the the Montreal Gazette and David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News.
The 61 year old Robinson is being brought along to help out the defensemen, which makes sense since Robinson was particularly experienced at the position--he was the defenseman of the year twice and won the 1978 MVP for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. More importantly, Robinson will try and correct a penalty kill rate that was among the worst in the NHL.
In his career in the NHL, Robinson was around for nearly two decades, playing mostly for the Montreal Canadiens and a few seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. He has also coached the Kings and the New Jersey Devils for just under a decade.
For those hoping that Robinson will be a future head coach for the beleaguered Todd McCllelan, Ray Ratto believes you're sadly mistaken.
Well, we suspect you’re already barking up the wrong tree on that one, for one very compelling reason:
Robinson probably doesn’t want it.
He quit his last coaching job, in New Jersey, in 2005 because of headaches caused by stress. And he had only taken that job because Pat Burns had been diagnosed with cancer.
Robinson has been rumored for coaching jobs since, and certainly would have been given one or two or five of them if he wanted them. In short, he looks like he was hired specifically to fix the Sharks’ penalty kill as advertised, and actually looks less like a candidate for McLellan’s gig than some of you might want.
Kevin Kurz does believe the Robinson hire does help the Sharks exactly where they need help, particularly with regards to the penalty kill.
"I do have a few ideas and a few things that hopefully will help it move up the ranks," he said of the penalty kill. "The league is a specialty league, so you can win and lose games with your power play and your penalty kill. There are definitely things that we can work on.
"Positioning is a big thing in penalty killing. It’s fine to be aggressive, but you have to be smart-aggressive. The biggest thing is, and I speak from some prior experience in other teams, is that we tend to sometimes lean on our best players as our penalty killers all the time. These guys get tired after awhile. It’s good to have more than just two, three or four guys killing penalties."
Talk about the Robinson hire with Sharks fans at Fear the Fin.
Check out the SB Nation NHL YouTube channel and see if you'd be willing to subscribe to the videos.