Thanks to sfgate.com, here's McLellan's final words on his departure.
Q: Why is it in your best intrerest and the team’s best interest to leave?
McLellan: “Down the stretch this year, once we were eliminated, I had to review myself. I had to talk to the management team including Doug Wilson, Joe Will and try to project where we would be at Christmas, where we would be a year from now and what happens after that because this team is clearly in a rebuild and, with one year left (on contract), and moving forward I had to analyze where things were going. And with the answers I got I felt it was time.”
Q: A timeline and who made the decision?
McLellan: “Part of it I controlled and the other part the team contolled. We we were working on it the last little bit. The decision was made yesterday and the announcement was made this morning.”
Q: What were your expectations this past season?
McLellan: “I expected to be in the playoffs. It’s as simple as that. The very first thing that came out of my mouth in training camp was we’re here to win. How did that part play out? It played out disappointing. I thought we had a group that could get there. Obviously we didn’t perform well enough in certain segments during the season and that effected the standings, and now we’re forced to watch. And for me, that’s the biggest disappointment.”
Q: How much did the playoff loss to Los Angeles affect this season?
McLellan: “It’s in the past, we got beat by the Stanley Cup champs in seven games. Now, it doesn’t normally happen four games in a row (after winning first three). That’s a very rare occurance. But there are a lot of teams who fail after playing Game 7 and we were one of them. I’ve learned in this business you better learn lessons and apply them to future experiences and that’s how I look at the Los Angeles series last year.”
Q: Was a contract extention ever discussed?
Q: “How much time before you consider your next move?
McLellan: “Today is an emotional day. My mind is in a lot of different places right now. Finishing off what was happening here in San Jose and getting ready for a new adventure is something I’ll be looking forward to. I don’t know what will happen over the next week, but I do know Friday myself and Jay Woodcroft will be getting on a plane and going over to Europe to make a real strong commitment to Team Canada and it’s effort over there (World Championships). I look forward to meeting new players, coaches and staff. I think it’s exciting, a little big refreshing and invigorating to be doing that now. Where I go from here I guess I somewhat control but there are other people out there who have to make decisions. I’m comfortable with my career as a coach so far. I don’t have any regrets here in San Jose and I feel good moving forward.”
Q: “How is your relationship with Joe Thornton and what needs to happen going forward?
McLellan: “The repair work are questions for the group that is here. To my last breath I can tell you I have a ton of respect for Joe Thornton. He’s a tremendous player, first of all. He care immensely about the organization and his teammates. And he has a strong passion for winning. And that may be the big misnoner out there. He’s a relaxed guy, and that type of stuff, but my respect level for him is very high. There will be a day where he’ll be put in the Hall of Fame, and hopefully when he goes in there with all the awards he can go in there by finishing his career by winning a championship. I know that’s what his passion is all about. As far as the repair work, that’s for Jumbo, Doug and for who ever else to talk about. I would like the world to know I have a ton of respect for this guy.”
Q: “Can you assure us this is a mutual parting?
McLellan: “Yes, I participated in the decision. I definitely did.
Q: Can you share why some of the answers suggested it was time to leave?
McLellan: “No, I respect the question, but that’s something that is really important because I have a ton of respect for Doug, the management team, and the difficult things they have to do on a daily basis so it’s just the decision was made. The hardest part for me was the players and staff because they’re like family, and my family at home. At home I had to discuss this with my family. When we sit down it’s not about loading up the moving truck and leaving. We like San Jose, we’re passionate about the community, we have good friends here. My youngest son here is deeply entrenched in his high school. He’s invovled in a number of programs there. Our discussion was can we do this – being apart from each other, not packing the moving van – but can we be apart. And that was a huge priority for me. So my wife and two boys sat down and we really talked about it. And we made a decision we could do this.”
Q: Are you committed to coaching again right away?
McLellan: “I’m a coach, I want to coach. I’m excited about going to the World Championships. Sometimes it’s refreshing and invigorating to be around different people and get different ideas. … I’m excited about coaching again. If I get that opportunity it will have to be right for me and for that team if it does exist out there. I would like to keep going and do what I do.”
Q: How would you characterize your relationship with (current Toronto president) Brendan Shanahan?
McLellan: “I had a very good relationship with Brendan. I have a real good relationship with everyone in Detroit. When you look at the staff, we were in Year 1. Mike Babcock was there trying to establish everything he could. Paul MacLean was there. I was the good guy a lot more than the bad guy. So I had a really good relationship with Shanny when our paths crossed throughout his time with the NHL as well.”
Q: And your relationship with Edmonton president Craig MacTavish?
McLellan: “My relationship with Craig is just evolving. Our two sons are very close. They played together in Waterloo. We’ve talked throughout the year, but we’ve talked more about what’s going on in the United State Hockey League than the NHL. That’s our relationship. I’ve got a ton of respect for him.”
Q: Would you like to coach Connor McDavid?
McLellan: “I would like to coach a great group of hockey players next year. Everybody is obviously talking about Connor McDavid and his ability to impact a team. I’m assuming the Oilers will pick him No. 1. But, one thing I’ve learned, you can have the best player and still not have the best team. It’s about team, it’s about a group, it’s about the organization and the culture of the organization. Connor is going to be a very exciting player to watch, again I’m assuming in Edmonton, and he’ll have an impact on the league for years to come. But the bigger story is the group as a whole.”
Q: Did you have the roster in San Jose to succeed?
McLellan: “We had a team should have had better results. We had a team that could have produced more wins than we got.”
Q: What kind of team would you next like to coach?
McLellan: “When you look at teams that are available, and I have no idea if they have interest in talking to me. If they were I’ll look at the people in the organization. I think that’s so important to have the right people in the right spots and then with the team you figure out if there’s a chance for success and what kind of impact I can have. Every one of the 30 teams in the league is at a different place. Some teams are trying to rebuild, some are establishing a playoff presence, some teams are going for it all. Decisions are made differently because of that. I’ll be open to anything, really.”
Q: What kind of coach do the Sharks need?
McLellan: “That’s probably not a question for me now. That will be a question for the management group and they’ll have to make decisions on what characteristics they want from a new staff.”
Q: Did the Sharks need to go into a rebuild mode, or could they have made another run?
McLellan: “We needed to make some changes. People talk about windows. And there’s a lot that goes in to managing teams. It’s not just what happens on the ice. It’s contracts, it’s budgets, it’s all those types of things. To think the manager has an easy job and it just keeps rolling over every year that’s not the case. We were close last year, we had 51-52 wins, 111 points, but there were some changes that needed to be made.
Q: How much did the rebuilding weight into your decision?
McLellan: “It wasn’t a surprise to me. I was one of the first made away they were going into this mode and I participated in that for a year. There might be team interested in me that are rebuilding, and to see it through is what I think is important to a coach. If he’s only involved in it for a little bit then it’s not as enticing all the time. I had to look at that in San Jose here as well.”
Q: What do you think about some of the young players on the San Jose roster?
McLellan: “In San Jose they’ve got very good players that are very seasoned. They’ve got a veteran savvy, they’ve got a middle group of up-and-coming stars and they’ve got some really good players coming, young players as well.”