San Jose Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner said in a recent interview that he plans on returning as the team’s coach next season.
The San Jose Sharks have more than likely played their final games of the 2019-20 season. Despite 12 games remaining on their schedule, the recent league postponement means that it’s unlikely we see the regular season be played out.
That means that their time for evaluation is all but over.
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When the Sharks made the decision to fire head coach Peter DeBoer 33 games into the season, the hope was that his replacement would help salvage what was shaping up to be a lost season.
Former Florida Panthers head coach and Sharks assistant coach Bob Boughner was the one tasked with this responsibility. And while DeBoer’s departure didn’t exactly fix things, it’s difficult to blame it all on Boughner.
Now, after coaching the final 37 games of the season, Boughner seems to be planning on a return.
In a recent phone interview with Kevin Kurz of The Athletic, Boughner had the following to say about his status going into next season.
"“I think that given a fair chance, that I’m the guy for this team. And I think Doug [Wilson] believes that, from what I know. I don’t want to speak for him, but I’m planning on being back, I’m planning on putting a plan in place for next year, and trying to look forward.”"
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Boughner’s status remains very much uncertain — especially given the current state of affairs — but it does seem as though the 49-year-old is expecting to be retained. At the very least, he’s moving forward as if that were the case.
The Sharks went a disappointing 14-20-3 in the 37 games that Boughner coached which was actually worse than the 15-16-2 they were under DeBoer. But Boughner’s squad dealt with countless injuries that derailed the season.
From Logan Couture to Tomas Hertl to Erik Karlsson, the Sharks were ravaged by injuries in the second half of the season. They just didn’t have the depth to replace those players when their roster wasn’t good enough, to begin with.
Boughner did what he could — and he actually managed to do quite a few things well.
For starters, the goaltending situation became stabilized under Boughner’s watch. He ran with the hot hand of Aaron Dell who played some of the best hockey of his NHL career and switched over to Martin Jones once his play was reignited down the final stretch of the season.
He worked on the defensive scheme and had the goalies work extensively with coach Evgeni Nabokov. Boughner’s efforts clearly proved fruitful as the Sharks’ save-percentage jumped from .887 — dead last in the league under DeBoer — to a respectable .902 under Boughner.
Working with less, Boughner managed to get more out of his players, even if the final win/loss tally doesn’t indicate that. There is a solid argument to be made that Boughner should return with the team next season.
And amidst all the chaos of the outside world, it appears as though that’s exactly what the veteran coach plans on happening.