Will Sandis Get A Second Chance?
Although no one in the organization has tipped their hand -- SOP for the SJS crew -- it's difficult to shake the impression that starting the day after tomorrow a familiar face will once again join the men of teal. Sandis Ozolinsh is trying at age thirty-five to resurrect a once-promising career which by his own admission has been derailed by alcohol and indifference to such minor details as, oh, proper physical conditioning. Legally he can't sign with San Jose until October tenth, but given the duration of his stay with the team (since mid-September) and how the team had him fly out to Denver last Saturday for practice, the main question isn't will he join the team. It's what number will he wear, since Christian Ehrhoff currently sports the #10 Ozolinsh wore during the days when he and Artus Irbe were the toast of the town.
The unanswered question is how much does Ozolinsh have left, although a more accurate line of thought might be has he reawakened his skills. He proved himself early to be top notch in the offensive defenseman department, albeit an occasional liability in what according to his job title was his primary function, that being playing defense. The latter improved as time went on, but Ozolinsh has never been mentioned as an elite defenseman, just one capable of being very good.
Right now, very good would be a welcome addition to the Sharks blueline. Thus far in this still extremely young season Ehrhoff has been terrible in all aspects of the game, and while Douglas Murray has brought plenty of spunk and scrappiness far too often he's been caught on the wrong side of the other team's offensive rush. A player with something left to give and something to prove, namely Ozolinsh as he has no desire to be remembered as ending his career via getting booed out of New York by irate Rangers fans, would if he still has the skills be a nice thing to have.
Find out day after tomorrow, I guess.