Robinson credited with helping Sharks and keeping things light (Video)

(File photo: The Gazette/Allen McInnis)

Larry Robinson was back on the ice in Montreal Saturday morning with the San Jose Sharks as the team prepares to face the Canadiens Saturday night. (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690)

The 62-year-old hall of fame defenceman who won six Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and three more coaching with the New Jersey Devils is now in his second season as an associate coach with the Sharks.

Robinson keeps everything in perspective, forward Joe Thornton said after the Sharks’ morning skate at the Bell Centre.

“He’s been so awesome for all of us guys,” Thornton said. “If there’s kind of a stressful moment on the bench, he just kind of relaxes everybody. He’s been a big help for a lot of us.”

The Sharks had one of the best penalty-kill percentages last year after having the second worst percentage among NHL teams in 2011-12.

Robinson and assistant coach Jim Johnson set a brand new penalty kill “and it’s been working for us–pressure everywhere,”  said Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, a Montreal native who expects to have about 30 family members and friends at Saturday’s game against the Canadiens.

“He does keep things loose out there. You probably heard him in practice today. He’s always yelling. He’s cracking jokes. He likes to keep the guys in a good mood. He’s a great guy to have around,” Vlasic said.

“Just the other day he was telling me how to shoot. I’ve been shooting for 26 years and he tells me my hand is too low. So little details like that that he can improve your game on.”

Robinson has had a huge impact, said Sharks coach Todd McLellan.

“He takes a lot of stress way from a lot of people in certain situations,” he said.

“He’s very astute obviously as a player. He thinks like a player. But he communicates like a coach and those tools are really remarkable for a coaching staff to have,” McLellan said.

The Sharks’ defencemen have transformed their game over the last year and a half, said McLellan, adding that Johnson also deserves a “big chunk of credit” as well.

“Between the two of them, they’ve got the back end playing really well.”

You can hear a bit of what Robinson had to say after the Sharks’ morning skate here:

30 Comments

  1. Phil C says:

    When they hired Therrien and they had their francophone coach, I thought it really opened the door for them to go after Robinson. He was available at the time, it seemed like the planets were aligning. I’m still disappointed it didn’t happen. He is not only a great coach and a great former player, he would have been a great tie to past glory.

    I’m glad he is having success in San Jose. Not sure he would have got along with Therrien anyway so it’s probably just as well. Subban won the Norris with Daigneault so he must be doing something right.

  2. Habcouver says:

    I almost didn’t believe that Robinson is 62. Where did the years go?
    It makes me feel so old.

    Waiting patiently for #25

    • Da Hema says:

      Me too. I wrote Larry Robinson a letter as a teenager, and he replied to me with a signed picture (one of my childhood treasures). Can’t stop Father Time.

  3. habstrinifan says:

    My first real post in a bit and it’s a doozy boys and girls. Hate to bring up the subject but remember when I said that one of Bournival’s best qualities is that he makes his linemates better.

    He did it with Shawinigan. He did it witl Gallagher and then Palushaj in Hamilton. And yes, I am gonna say that he is doing it with Plekanec and Gionta. I think he is bringing Plekanec out from his overly conservative mindset and making the Turtle neck one a huge scoring threat now. This is gonna be a major line tonight (I hope), Eller’s line may be more skillful but with Bournival , Gionta and Plekanec are now absolutely dangerous offensively.

  4. Phil Dude says:

    still would love to see him behind our bench one day

  5. Da Hema says:

    Whenever I see Larry Robinson on the bench in New Jersey or San Jose, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of loss. Admittedly, Robinson is one of my favorite all-time players, so I am not without biases, but I wonder at times why I continue to cheer for the Canadiens. I still believe Robinson was treated most shamelessly by the Montreal Canadiens, particularly by the pompous Serge Savard. Now instead of having Robinson teach our young defencemen how to play, he does so elsewhere. Le sigh….

    • donmarco says:

      I suspect there was a falling out with Habs management but for the life of me I can’t recall why. I know he almost begged the Habs! If they were going to retire his number, to please do it before his father died, but they didn’t. Like you I’d love to see him behind our bench.

      • Da Hema says:

        I am not claiming any factual insight, but it certainly appears to me that Ronald Corey and Serge Savard simply went insane. Savard — trading Chris Chelios? Corey — hiring Rejean Houle? I am hard-pressed to find any dumber moves than those. And Geoff Molson hired Savard as an “adviser.” Savard is a bozo.

        • habstrinifan says:

          Disagree completely that Savard is a bozo. No way! Savard made some bad GM moves.. but he was also a good GM. He made one o two moves to ‘appease’ his coach, which he later regretted and which is why he and one of those coaches became distant.

          • Da Hema says:

            People give Savard too much credit. The team he inherited had the best administrators in the NHL. He had Jacques Lemaire and Claude Ruel to develop players, and Jacques Laperriere with his encyclopedic knowledge of hockey to install a winning system on the coaching side. Savard alienated Lemaire and Laperriere, who subsequently went to New Jersey and were key factors in turning that team into a powerhouse. When all the administrative talent left Montreal, Savard’s real talents were exposed. So I profoundly disagree trini.

        • donmarco says:

          I with you on Corey (and Houle and Tremblay) but disagree on Savard. He was one of the better GM’s but working for Corey must have driven him crazy.

    • Eddie says:

      I can’t count how many times I’ve posted here that Robinson should be behind our bench coaching Subban, Beaulieu, and especially Tinordi.

      I think that’s partly why I never accepted Martin or Therrien.

    • Habcouver says:

      I don’t believe LR is fluent bilingual. After all the years in Montreal, one would think he should be. However, the language issue may have also limited the opportunity to be the Hab’s coach.
      I agree though that the Habs management did not treat him well after his playing career.

      Waiting patiently for #25

  6. Mats Naslund says:

    Call me crazy but I’m excited for the Sharks tonight. It’s been great to see some players and teams we haven’t seen for a while because of the lockout and scheduling. One of the good things about the crazy start schedule this season is the chance to see players that we only rarely see as an East team.

  7. Rad says:

    Always good to hear from the great Larry Robinson. One of the best to ever play this game.

  8. Danno says:

    Numero uno!

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