Sharks hire Johnson as assistant

jim johnson san jose sharks nhl news

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Another day, another move by the San Jose Sharks to reshape Todd McLellan's staff.

The Sharks hired former Washington Capitals assistant coach Jim Johnson for the same role out West on Tuesday. The announcement came a day after the franchise hired Hall of Fame defenseman and former Stanley Cup winning coach Larry Robinson as associate coach.

The main role for both will be on defense and penalty kill. San Jose had the second worst penalty kill record last season, a major reason the team was knocked out by St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs.

``Adding two defensemen, both that have had tremendous careers as players and coaches, it would only make common sense that we push them in that direction,'' McLellan said in a conference call with reporters. ``We're all aware that our penalty kill has to get better - and I'm taking full responsibility - and we're anxious to get some new ideas and new thoughts.''

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Reconstructing the coaching staff has been a major part of San Jose's offseason.

With the two recent additions, McLellan said assistant Matt Shaw will not be back and Mike Ricci (development coach) will have an expanded role. The rest of the staff - Jay Woodcroft (assistant), Brett Heimlich (coaching assistant) and Corey Schwab (goaltending coach) - remains the same but the responsibilities for some could change.

``As training camp gets closer, the roles will be more clearly defined,'' McLellan said.

The latest addition is aimed at shoring up the defense even more.

Johnson was a defenseman for 14 years in the NHL. He most recently was an assistant coach with Washington. He also served as an assistant with Tampa Bay in 2010 and interim head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes in 1999-00.

Johnson's job security had been unclear since Dale Hunter decided not to return to the Capitals. He said he was impressed by what he heard from the Sharks - who had to request permission from Washington to speak with the assistant - and decided to make the move.

``My ability to communicate is key,'' Johnson said. ``I'm a real teacher of the game and a guy that pays attention to details and how to articulate them to the players. I think that's so critical in how you do it. I've always said that good coaches are teachers first and foremost.''

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