"I have a lot of good memories here, and I'm excited to be here," Ozolinsh told the club's official website before the Sharks travelled to Los Angeles for their exhibition opener Tuesday night against the Kings. "This team has a chance at a Stanley Cup. I really hope I make this team."This is Ozo's last big chance to make an impact in the NHL. He has endured offensive futility with the Rangers last season (3 points in 21 games) and having to enter a substance abuse program in December 2005 and was arrested for impaired driving in 2006.
Sandis returns to the team that drafted him 30th overall in 1991. He still holds the Sharks record for points in a season by a defenceman (64 points in 81 games in 1993-94). Those were the years (1993-95) that the Sharks created 1st round upsets. In 1994, they beat the Wings in 7 games only to barely lose to the Leafs in 7 games in round 2. Ozo had 10 assists in 14 playoff games, and Arturs Irbe was a shining Buddha. The following season, they defeated the heavily favored Calgary Flames in 7 games in round 1 (Ray Whitney!!!!), but then Detroit got their revenge from the previous year and swept the Sharks in round 2.
He was traded the following year to Colorado for Owen Nolan, and made an immediate impact with the Avalanche, scoring 19 points in 22 playoff games and winning the Stanley Cup. God he was awesome that playoff run.
OK, enough history. That was 10 years ago. If Ozolinsh could regain even some of the form he showed with the Ducks 5 years ago, then Ron Wilson has a scoring defenceman to make up for the loss of Scott Hannan to Colorado this summer.
As a big Ozolinsh fan, I hope he makes it and finds a spot. He sure as hell has the hands to be an effective offensive d-man. He just needs to keep his liver clean and his keys at home.
All this just in time for the Sharks unveiling of their new jerseys. What do you think of those bad boys? Don't mind the home teal. Maybe black would have been better.
Video of the unveiling ceremony
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