Interim no more: Sharks name Boughner coach

The San Jose Sharks saw enough from Bob Boughner this past season to make him the ninth head coach in franchise history.

Boughner was officially elevated from interim status on Tuesday, after having coached the team for 37 games in 2019-20 after the firing of head coach Peter DeBoer. Boughner, who had been an assistant coach for San Jose, went 14-20-3 before the regular season was paused on March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sharks did not qualify for the NHL’s 24-team postseason tournament, finishing eighth in the Pacific Division.

“Bob did a tremendous job last season, getting our group back to playing with an identity and structure that we need in order to be successful,” general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. “We saw a marked improvement in our play in several key areas during the second half of the season, before losing some key players to injury.”

Boughner previously served as head coach of the Florida Panthers from 2017 to 2019, going 80-62-22 and failing to qualify for the postseason.

“Last year was a difficult season for everyone, but I think we learned a lot about ourselves as a group and we made some positive strides over the second half of the year,” Boughner said. “I’ve been in contact with many of our players over the break and, as a coaching staff, we are going to make it clear that our team is going compete every night, play hard and be a tight group on and off the ice.”

The Sharks failed to qualify for the playoffs for only the second time in 16 seasons, after having gone to the Western Conference finals in 2018-19. San Jose had an exodus of veteran talent after that season, including captain Joe Pavelski. Last season, the Sharks were ravaged by injuries to players like star defenseman Erik Karlsson (limited to 56 games), new captain Logan Couture (52 games) and forward Tomas Hertl (48 games).

Along with Boughner, the Sharks named former AHL Chicago Wolves coach Rocky Thompson as associate coach in charge of the defensemen and power play, and former AHL Cleveland Monsters head coach John Madden as assistant coach in charge of forwards and penalty kill.

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