SAN JOSE -- Time flies when the Sharks aren't having fun. If you have been marking your calendar, then you know it's been almost two weeks since the Summer of Shame began. Back on April 30, the Sharks lost Game 7 to the Los Angeles Kings, a mortifying collapse from a 3-0 series lead.
And so far, this is what we know about the repercussions:
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Two days after the defeat, as players cleared out their lockers, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson spoke about the "open wound" of the series defeat. Looking ahead, Wilson promised that the status quo was "not an option" while frankly admitting that his own job status could be in question.
And so far, this is what we know about Wilson's job security, or whether the quo will indeed remain status:
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Somewhat oddly during that same interview, Wilson said: "My recommendation is that our coaching staff be part of this, going forward."
Wilson later clarified that yes, this meant he was standing 100 percent behind coach Todd McLellan and his assistants. But the wording of Wilson's statement implied that it might not be his choice because the final decision would belong to franchise owner Hasso Plattner, the German billionaire and SAP honcho.
And so far, this is what we know about whether Wilson's decision to retain McLellan has been affirmed by Plattner:
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Monday, messages were left at the Sharks' offices and on Wilson's phone, seeking any updates. There was no immediate response. However, league sources say that Wilson will indeed return along with McLellan -- and that there reportedly has been internal agreement about a significant roster shake-up.
Which, if true, is fine and newsworthy. But someone needs to come out and publicly outline all of it to the folks who buy tickets -- as well as to, you know, the players themselves.
What the heck is going on? Consider the contrast with the Bay Area's other winter pro sports franchise, the NBA Warriors. They actually finished their season three days after the Sharks, losing their own Game 7 crusher. But within a week, stuff happened. Fingers pointed. The team's ownership simmered. The coach bristled. Players opined. The coach was fired. The general manager elucidated. The owner rationalized. The fired coach vented on radio shows. The search for a new coach began.
What a difference, eh? Joe Lacob, the Warriors' controlling owner, can bluster and strut annoyingly. But at least you know where he is at all times. Plattner, the Sharks' proprietor, takes a different approach. He disappears into thin air, or onto his yacht, and says nothing.
Wilson indicated on May 2 that he would take 10 days or so to present Plattner an action plan for approval or rejection. Maybe that's what was happening Monday. But the owner must make a firm decision quickly on the franchise future.
Otherwise, rumors gurgle. The Toronto Maple Leafs are supposedly shopping top defenseman Dion Phaneuf, and the Sharks have been mentioned as a possible trade partner. McLellan's contract has two more seasons to run. But the gossipy grapevine, especially in Canada, continues to speculate where he might land if the Sharks dismiss him. And should that occur, McLellan deserves to know as soon as possible, so that he doesn't get shut out of the best job openings. The same holds true for Wilson, if Plattner plans to make a G.M. switch.
Over the past week, Wilson has held multiple meetings with McLellan and his coaches. We do know that much. In the past, the coach and general manager have worked through any disagreements about players and their roles. Can they do so again after the trauma of these playoffs?
McLellan is surely weary of coaching the same cast of characters who give him the same inconsistent performances. But can Wilson really follow through if he desires to create a major roster earthquake? And what would such an earthquake look like?
More and more, you get the feeling that it could look like four or five big names leaving town. Dan Boyle won't be back if he wants a two-year contract, which he does. Antii Niemi might have played his last game as a Sharks goalie. Even those recent three-year extensions signed by Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau could contain small trade exceptions, if the contracts are like the others negotiated by Wilson. Remember how Dany Heatley was supposed to have a no-trade clause but didn't?
None of this gossip is healthy. Whatever the future Sharks blueprint, it's time to get on with it. Plattner needs to quickly issue a statement about Wilson's and McLellan's future -- or needs to authorize Wilson to make the statement, or needs to hire a skywriting plane to proclaim his verdict. Or something. Or anything. Otherwise, the Summer of Shame will continue to fester with no purpose. And this is what the festering accomplishes:
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Skipper, we need answers.