by Timo Seppa
Following neatly on the theme of yesterday’s column - What exactly was Todd McLellan thinking when he chose his three Sharks shooters to go against Ilya Bryzgalov last night? Admittedly hamstrung by Joe Pavelski’s absence, the second year San Jose coach literally could not have made worse choices than Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi and Dan Boyle, all well below average shootout performers (Average for all shooters is 33%; a top three shooter should be closer to 40%):
|San Jose Sharks - Career shooting percentage through 2008-9|
Needless to say, the Sharks blew the shootout 2-1, with only Boyle scoring - raising his career % to a reasonable 33.3%. The misses relegated Setoguchi to a career mark of 16.6% (still in only 6 attempts) and Heatley to a miserable 15.0%.
Heatley, wonderful player that he is, has proven without a shadow of a doubt that he should never be used as one of the top 8 or 10 choices in a shootout ever again. It’s a unique skill that a lot of great players just don’t have. Conversely, it is simply malpractice not to use a 5 for 10 shooter in Clowe. Additionally, the Sharks should give Malhotra a chance to prove whether he’s got the skill or not.
Most pundits wanted to give McLellan a pass on the first round loss to the Ducks, and to place the blame on the likes of Marleau and Thornton. Maybe it’s time to reassess that call.