Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sandis Ozolinsh?

I reported earlier that ex-Shark Mark Smith joined the New York Rangers training camp on a tryout basis. Ironically enough, former Ranger (who has also played for the Sharks, among other teams) Sandis Ozolinsh has been brought into Sharks camp on a tryout. The Latvian defenseman was last seen in the NHL this past season, playing 21 games for New York before riding the bench the rest of the way.

I honestly don't understand this move. Even if you disregard the rumors that Ozolinsh enrolled in the NHLPA's substance abuse program two seasons ago, the guy is a headcase. Yes, he owns the Sharks single-season record for goals and points by a defenseman, but not only is he no longer potent offensively, he is, as he has always been, a defensive liability. Now, it's certainly not given that he'll make the team and the good thing about a tryout contract is that it's noncommittal, but Ozolinsh is a known locker-room cancer and may disturb the chemistry of the Sharks' current defense corps. Then again, anything to push Alexei Semenov, Rob Davison and Doug Murray should be considered a good thing, so I can see where Doug Wilson is coming from in making this move. If anything else, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

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