The San Jose Sharks continued their streak of Stanley Cup playoff futility in dramatic fashion in 2014. It became obvious they know nine-time champion (six as a player and one each as a scout, an assistant and head coach), Larry Robinson is part of the solution after a report from CSN Bay Area Insider Kevin Kurz Wednesday, May 21.
General manager Doug Wilson not only extended Robinson, he expanded his role. The Hall of Fame defenceman (Canadian spelling for the Ontario native that spent most of his playing career and all his Stanley Cup championships with the Montreal Canadiens) has been an integral part of the development of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun. Now development will be an official part of his role over the next three seasons.
Wednesday, Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette corrected an earlier Twitter post to say that Robinson's new role would be director of player development. He is further creeping towards a role in the front office by doing some of his work in games from the box instead of behind the bench as well as supplying input on free agent acquisitions. The role may also allow him to avoid some of the travel of the past seasons.
By offering more flexibility, security and leadership to Robinson over the direction of the Sharks, Wilson showed the changes he promised would not be rash ones. That is the thing many fans call for when the most dominant team in the first three games of a series in major North American sports history to ever lose the last four, and they did it by the largest margin of all five teams to complete the choke from a 3-0 series lead.
That it is understandable to clean house does not make it the right course of action. The benefits of keeping Robinson will be apparent mostly in five major footprints on San Jose moving forward—including the obvious Stanley Cup pedigree.