Why You Should Be Rooting for Claude Lemieux

As I outlined yesterday here at The Sporting Blog, things are going rather swimmingly for the Sharks in San Jose these days. With a revamped blue line and a lineup energized and inspired by the arrival of new head coach Todd McLellan from Detroit, the Sharks have to be considered one of the early favorites, alongside the Detroit Red Wings, to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. ↵

↵Things are going so well for the Sharks, in fact, that one wonders why General Manager Doug Wilson would want to change anything right now. Then again, an organization can't ever have enough good players, which is probably why Wilson and the Sharks might be willing to take a chance on perennial pest and post-season hero Claude Lemieux. ↵

↵

↵Until just a few months ago, Lemieux was last sighted wearing a Dallas Stars uniform at the end of the 2002-03 season. But back in September, he surfaced again, telling RDS in Canada that he was ready to try a comeback at the age of 43, five years after last donning an NHL uniform. ↵

↵

↵Plenty of folks laughed, until of course Lemieux proved he was serious by flying all the way to China to play a pair of games with the China Sharks -- a San Jose affiliate -- in Shanghai. Two games and two assists later, and Lemieux is back on a plane and headed to the team's AHL affiliate in Worcester, where he's expected to report later this week. ↵

↵

↵Besides being an incredible comeback story -- Lemieux has apparently always been a fitness fanatic -- the prospect of Lemieux's return has to be considered a boon for the entire NHL. Outside of Sean Avery, it's hard to find another player who is despised in more cities around the league than Lemieux, particularly in Detroit, where memories are very long: ↵

↵
↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵
↵

↵While we're only about a quarter of the way through the regular season, it's very probable that the Red Wings and Sharks stand in one another's way on the path to the Stanley Cup Finals. Throwing Lemieux into that mix in a playoff series could only make a potentially titanic clash all the more epic. ↵

↵

↵I'm rooting for Lemieux and you should be too. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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