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San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan behind the bench St. Louis Blues in the second period of game five of the first-round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., on Saturday, April 21, 2012. (Josie Lepe/Staff)

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is sticking to his own timetable for spelling out what changes may be coming behind the San Jose bench.

Which is why Wilson wasn't ready to acknowledge a report Wednesday from a reputable Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster that said coach Todd McLellan learned he was returning next season only three days after his team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"You know that I don't respond to rumors," Wilson said. "We are doing our due diligence, and we are looking at every way to improve this hockey team."

Despite the lack of any announcement from Wilson, all indications are that McLellan will be back for a fifth season. But new faces at the assistant level seem likely as the Sharks look to revamp a penalty kill that was a sore point both in the regular season and playoffs. Wilson also declined to discuss that situation.

The G.M. was reached just after completing the final player interviews that are part of his postseason process. But staffing decisions have not been made as he and McLellan plot out what direction things need to go.

Traditionally, the general manager's process identifies what needs to be done, then gets into who will be responsible for implementing any changes. Wilson also prefers to wait until the Stanley Cup playoffs are completed, so that all potential candidates can be considered.


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CBC sideline reporter Elliotte Friedman, who wrote online that McLellan only had to wait 72 hours before being told he would be back, also was the first to cite NHL gossip saying Bryan Marchment -- a former Sharks defenseman who is now a scout with the team -- is a candidate to become an assistant coach under McLellan.

Other names mentioned since then include Mike Ricci, another ex-Shark who now serves as a development coach, and Dirk Graham, a onetime Chicago teammate of Wilson's also on the San Jose scouting staff.

Though forwards, both Ricci and Graham would appear to have the credentials to repair a San Jose penalty kill that finished 29th in the NHL this season. Graham won the Selke Trophy in 1991 as the NHL's top defensive forward, and Ricci was a mainstay of the Sharks penalty kill during his playing days.

The team is expected to be more aggressive when short-handed next season, and there is a question of whether assistant coach Jay Woodcroft, a longtime colleague of McLellan's who came to San Jose with him from Detroit, is the right person to implement that change.

Matt Shaw, who completed his third season on the San Jose coaching staff, is the only other assistant following the departure of Trent Yawney one year ago.

McLellan, 44, just finished his fourth season behind the Sharks' bench. The Sharks have a 195-92-41 mark over that stretch and made back-to-back appearances in the Western Conference finals before this season, when the team barely made the playoffs as a seventh seed and then was eliminated in the first round by the St. Louis Blues in five games.