Quotes from San Jose coach Todd McLellan following the Sharks 2-1 loss to the Kings on Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium…
Q. Coach, you had a couple of players yesterday say that things could have been a little soft, maybe a little chippy on the ice, and Dan Craig seemed pretty confident going in that he could get any regularity on the ice if he cleaned up to the best of his ability. Any of your players say anything tonight after they headed out on the ice that might have affected them?
COACH McLELLAN: I thought Dan and his staff did a tremendous job of putting it together, and considering we’re playing in California and the temperature is 60° or whatever it might be, it held up very well. I didn’t think our group, especially early in the game, understood the impact that that ice could have. It took us between periods to adjust and simplify, and we used that word before the game as well. But just to really understand and simplify the north/south aspect, and establishing a forecheck rather than making cute plays to the neutral zone, and it showed up in our game after that. And that was due to the ice conditions. But considering, they did a tremendous job.
Q. Just a quick follow-up. Any problems with the crowd noise? I think we’re talking almost 70,200 people?
McLELLAN: That’s my first experience at that level with that many people. You could tell it was loud. But it’s not as loud as the Shark tank with 20,000 people and a ceiling over top of you. You know, you have to yell down the bench. But the noise dissipated and kind of went up and out. So it was — I know it was loud. I know all 70,000 people were cheering and it was very loud, but it wasn’t what I thought it might be when you were down there.
Q. Two parter, did you get a chance to take it in and enjoy it and see a part of it?
McLELLAN: Yeah, we all did. We were disappointed in the outcome. I’m not disappointed in the effort and what our group put into the game. We would have preferred to win. It was a hard-fought game by two good teams that played a pretty even match. So the outcome is very disappointing, but everything else we’re proud of. I think our city and Northern California has to be extremely proud. You take Mr. Gund 25 years ago had a vision of bringing a team here, and brought it here, and a quarter century later we’re playing an outdoor game with 72,000 people in a brand-new football stadium. Who would have ever thought that could happen?
So we have to be excited about participating in that, enjoying the moment, and soaking it in. I’d be lying if I said there were a couple of times where guys were slow jumping on the ice because maybe their eyes were wandering, maybe their minds were wandering, but that’s human.
Q. You guys do fall out of the playoff picture right now, do you put significance on that with 22 or 21 games left to go?
McLELLAN: Every game is really, really important. But if you think I’m locking in when our next practice arrives and say, hey, we’re out of the playoffs they’re smart guys, and they have 42 left on the table. We’ll have to go out and earn more than we lose, if we do that, we’ll take care of ourselves.
Q. I know you said you’re satisfied with the effort, and I understand that. Was this another case of where those defensive lapses ended up being —
McLELLAN: Well, there weren’t that many to tell you the truth. It’s interesting when you talk to people that came down from 15 stories up or ten stories. I don’t even know how high up it was. It’s different when you were on the bench. That’s a fast, hard game, but it probably didn’t feel like that from a distance. We made a couple mistakes. The last one on Gaborik’s goal was disappointing because we had talked about that exact situation. Playing a very aggressive north-south game. We wanted to eliminate the neutral zone. It wasn’t a good zone for us because the passes were ragged. The puck was flopping all over, and whoever established a forecheck for any given timeframe, two minutes at a time, had the advantage. We turned it over and it was in our net. So I’m disappointed in that.
Q. You’re frustrated or disappointed after any loss I’m sure. Is that exaggerated because of the circumstances here? More disappointment? More frustration?
McLELLAN: You know, we wanted to win, but we wanted to win in Nashville the other night too and there were 7,000 people because of a storm. So the win is really important for the team, and that type of stuff. But maybe this was a little more significance, obviously, because we had — this was our show. These were our fans. This is Sharks Territory, if you want, that’s probably the best way to put it. They showed up in droves. I know there were Kings fans here, and there were just plain hockey fans. That’s what made tonight so special. But the fact we lost was disappointing. But to be part of it wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Q. What was the highlight of your weekend, non-game related?
McLELLAN: Probably the family participation. That’s pretty neat. We try to make — we try to allow our players to bring their families to the rink and expose them to it. And as a result we know that Nathan Pavelski and a number of those little ones are around all the time. We get to see them. Now they’re out in the rink and looking up into the stands. That was a real highlight. Of course tonight walking out, you talk about moments where the hair stands up on your neck, and tonight was one of those moments when you walked out.
Do not miss our extensive Stadium Series coverage – including content from both practices on Friday and the game on Saturday – listed here for your reference.