San Jose Sharks are still a work in progress under Bob Boughner

San Jose Sharks (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
San Jose Sharks (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The San Jose Sharks may have fired head coach Peter DeBoer, but that doesn’t mean that their issues have been resolved. They’re still very much a work in progress under Bob Boughner.

The San Jose Sharks evidently felt like a change was needed after a disappointing 15-16-2 start to their season. But make no mistake about it, just because that change has occurred, that doesn’t mean that the team has been fixed.

The Sharks made the decision to fire head coach Peter DeBoer on Wednesday after a little under four-and-a-half years with the team. And in each season, he had led the Sharks to the postseason, never quite reaching the Stanley Cup Finals appearance heights of his first season.

But alas, the team clearly felt that DeBoer wasn’t maximizing the talent at his disposal and let him go. To some, this was a step in the right direction while others felt that DeBoer wasn’t the issue.

Either way, it’s clear that the Sharks’ issues extend beyond their coaching staff. They are still very much a work in progress — and that was evident in their 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday in Bob Boughner‘s first game as the team’s interim coach.

San Jose held tight with the Rangers well into the game before a four-goal third period allowed New York to pull away. And in that game, the same issues that have plagued the Sharks this season reared their ugly heads.

Martin Jones struggled all game allowing five goals on 29 shots including a pair of soft goals in the final minutes of the game allowing the Rangers to clinch the victory.

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Jones has been inconsistent in net for quite some time now and even with Boughner’s promise to allow Jones and backup Aaron Dell to “compete,” it’s hard to get excited about those prospects.

Sure, the Sharks can do a better job of masking Jones’ weaknesses with improved defensive play and more time in the offensive zone, but the team’s goalie production continues to be an issue and firing DeBoer wasn’t going to fix that.

Perhaps the decision to replace goaltending coach Johan Hedberg with Evgeni Nabokov could help matters, though.

But again, Jones is far from the only issue with the Sharks. San Jose managed only 18 shots in the game as it’s going to take some time to adapt to the changes in Boughner’s system.

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Under DeBoer, the Sharks have typically relied on a low-to-high philosophy which allowed for more point shots from their defensemen. But Boughner wants to see the Sharks have more of a presence down-low in front of the net.

That’s going to take time to adjust to, but there were a few signs of adaptation in Thursday’s game.

On top of that, the Sharks defensive zone work is still suspect at times. In all honesty, San Jose was fortunate to escape the first period with a one-goal lead after numerous squandered opportunities from the Rangers kept them off the scoreboard.

DeBoer’s firing was a change at a time when the Sharks felt they needed to make one. But it’s pretty clear that this team still has a long way to go before they could be considered true playoff contenders again.

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We obviously know that they have the talent, but it remains to be seen if that will translate into yet another postseason run.