The Sharks welcomed back an old face Sunday. Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh arrived for a training camp tryout.
Ozolinsh, one of San Jose's first stars, was traded to Colorado in the deal that brought Owen Nolan to the Sharks in 1995. Ozolinsh then was an integral part of the Avalanche's 1996 Stanley Cup-winning team.
"This is a good opportunity for him and for us," said Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson. "We'll just see where it goes. We think it's well worth the time."
To be fair, it was his first game back from injury, but boy, did he look lost. And perhaps that's the best way to describe Ozolinsh's recent history off the ice, where two years ago, he entered the NHL's substance abuse program. Seven months later, he pleaded guilty to drunk driving.
And, all along the way, injuries have dogged his attempted return.
What's really interesting about all of this, however, is that Sharks GM Doug Wilson apparently saw fit to mandate that Mark Bell be included as a throw-in in any deal involving former netminder Vesa Toskala, an arrangement only the Maple Leafs were willing to go along with. But if Bell was thrown overboard given his history, why then does a 35-year-old Ozolinsh with similar demons get this tryout?
San Jose was one of the quietest teams in the league this off-season when it came to player signings, something that had the fan base in fits, and over the past week, we've seen two over the hill former stars brought into the fold.
A strange strategy for a contender if I ever saw one. (That said, I don't have a problem with the Roenick move — only the fact that these are the only players to join the team.)