You are currently viewing Sharks coach Quinn and general manager Grier bring Boston University tie to new jobs

Sharks coach Quinn and general manager Grier bring Boston University tie to new jobs

San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier was asked about the Boston University connection between him and new coach David Quinn as the men sat next to each other during the a press conference on Tuesday.

Quinn turned to him and joked, “Did you go to BU?”

Grier burst out laughing.

“That was not factored into the decision,” he said. “I think it’s just icing on the cake, trying to get more Terriers out west.”

Quinn was hired as the Sharks’ coach on Tuesday, his second chance at a managerial job in the NHL after coaching the New York Rangers for three seasons from 2018-21. Prior to that, Quinn was the BU coach and it is of course where this story begins.

“Sometimes I needed to get out of the house and practice, so I was going to school and he was kind enough to talk hockey with me, let me pick his brain,” Grier said.

[RELATED: Quinn hired as Sharks coach, replaces Boughner]

The pair — who first met when Grier played for BU and Quinn coached Northeastern University in the 1990s — were talking about hockey those summer days when neither knew that they would one day work together, drawing on the philosophies they had found they had in common.

“When I was coaching at BU, we spent a lot of time at BU, watching practices,” Quinn said. “We talked before training, after training. I think instinctively we see the game in a very similar way. We have the same level of expectations. There will be respectful disagreements, like there are with everyone in hockey. subjective game.

“But I think what makes this situation unique is that we had a high level of familiarity with each other.”

It all goes back to Jack Parker, Grier explained. The legendary BU manager coached both men as players, Quinn from 1984 to 1988 and Grier from 1993 to 1996. He helped develop both Grier and Quinn, later hiring Quinn as an associate head coach, forming a foundation that would help them bond as they discovered commonalities in how they saw the game.

They found themselves aligned, on ideas and ways of playing, on concepts and a philosophy.

“It sure is,” Grier said, of the two men in sync. “I think that was a big factor in the process – how I see the game and how he sees the game. They fit together well. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to push each other, challenge each other, if we see things differently to help us improve and move forward, but that’s definitely part of it.

They know it won’t be easy. The Sharks have just completed three seasons past the Stanley Cup playoffs after reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2019, when they lost to eventual Cup champion St. Louis Blues in six games. .

San Jose has lost some of its biggest names and most important faces since that time — Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Brent burns all left, with Burns leaving by trade to the Carolina Hurricanes on July 13.

It’s clearly a new era for the Sharks. And Grier and Quinn believe they are the team to lead them into their next phase.

“My coaching philosophy has always been about relationships,” Quinn said. “I don’t care what you do for a living, if you don’t have a connection to the people you lead, whether you’re an office manager or a hockey team coach, you’re not going to get the best out of people.

“When the people you lead know that you care about them and want the best for them, you have a much better chance of getting the best out of them.”

Which might as well have been Grier’s answer for part of why he hired Quinn.

And it does not stop there. John McCarthy was named coach of the San Jose Barracuda, the Sharks’ affiliate in the American Hockey League, on May 18. McCarthy played for Quinn from 2005 to 2009, when Quinn was BU’s associate head coach.

“The fact that he and I have a prior relationship — and a lot of respect for each other personally and professionally — I think our relationship with the Barracuda will be unique,” Quinn said. “So obviously our communication will be consistent, it will be often and there will be no surprises about what is happening with our American Hockey League team.”

As for the NHL team, Quinn and Grier are realistic. The Sharks could struggle to score, as they averaged the third-fewest goals per game in the NHL last season (2.57), behind the Arizona Coyotes (2.51) and the Philadelphia Flyers (2.56).

“We’re going to push, try to make the playoffs,” Grier said. “If we don’t, we know we’ll have been competitive all season. In every game, the team will have put in an effort that we can be proud of. And if we’re not there yet, we won’t. are not yet.” right there again.”

Quinn used words like tenacious, fast and aggressive to describe the team he wanted to coach, a team that would be, as he put it, “ultra competitive”.

“I think a lot of the answers are in that locker room,” Quinn said. “If we can get everyone to be a little bit better. We’re not asking a guy to go from five goals to 40. We’re not asking a guy to do something he’s not capable of to do. But what we want everyone to do is to do the things that they can do a little better.

“If you have 23 people doing 5-10% better, that’s the difference between making the playoffs and not.”

Photo Credit: Amanda Cain/San Jose Sharks

Leave a Reply