Lemieux Signs With Sharks; Doubts Linger

When last we checked in with the notorious Claude Lemieux, the former Conn Smythe trophy winner and multiple Stanley Cup champion, he was winging his way from a two-game tryout in Shanghai, China, to Worcester of the American Hockey League, where he would be continuing his delightfully improbable attempt to earn a roster spot with the best team in the NHL at the age of 43 -- a full five years after he last took to the ice with the Dallas Stars. ↵

↵Well, you'd have to conclude that after 14 games with the Worcester Sharks, where Lemieux has potted a pair of goals and four assists to go with 12 PIMs, the Sharks have seen more than enough to give the Quebec native a fighting chance to make it back to the NHL. Yesterday, San Jose signed Lemieux to a two-way contract, and now that he safely passed through waivers yesterday, the Sharks can promote him to the big club anytime they please. ↵

↵

↵As it turns out, not everyone is on the Lemieux bandwagon -- a shocker I know. Among the non-believers is the Sharks blog Two for Elbowing, which wrote earlier this season that it would be distressing to see Lemieux get an NHL sweater when there might be others in the organization who are more deserving. ↵

↵

↵But more than a few doubts about Lemieux's viability are echoing out of the Dallas Stars locker room, where Dallas goalie Marty Turco and head coach Dave Tippett weighed in: ↵

↵
↵⇥"He's a guy who always took care of himself," Stars goalie Marty Turco said, "but it's very rare that you ever hear of guys that one, can come back, and two, want to come back -- especially now that he's got kids growing up and playing hockey." … ↵⇥

↵⇥But Stars Coach Dave Tippett said nagging injuries also limited playing time for Lemieux, who had two goals, six points and 14 penalty minutes during his 32 regular-season games in Dallas ... "When we brought him here," Tippett said, "they thought he was really going to be a good contributor. But I don't think his injuries allowed him to get there." ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Then Tippett paused before adding: "That's a long time ago." ↵⇥

↵
↵Indeed it was. But when it comes to Lemieux, whose desire to win has never been in doubt, I'm sure it's nothing more than fuel for the fire. Stay tuned.↵

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

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