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San Jose: Training ground of champions
Lots of Cup winners have the Sharks on their resume
5/5/14 - By Paul Krill -

One peculiarity that dumbfounds me, and probably you, too, is how the Sharks have never won much in the post-season but so many Sharks alumni have after leaving the team.

It's as if the Sharks are like Moses in Biblical times - leading to the Promised Land but not allowed to enter themselves. There's an impressive list of folks I'm talking about:

* Coach Darryl Sutter - Never got past the second round of the playoffs with the Sharks, but led Calgary to the Stanley Cup Final (beating the Sharks on the way) in 2004 and won the Stanley Cup with Los Angeles in 2012. He may accomplish this feat again in a few weeks.

* General Manager Dean Lombardi - Once again, he never got out of the second round with the Sharks but had his day with the Cup two years ago after he arrived in Los Angeles.

* Former player Jeff Friesen- If any player was the quintessential Shark in the 1990s, it was Jeff Friesen. As a matter of fact, I'm a bit offended that Logan Couture is now allowed to wear Friesen's number 39. Friesen spent some impressive years with the Sharks and was a fan favorite. But his Stanley Cup ring, earned in 2003, says "New Jersey Devils" on it.

* Player Brad Stuart - Once again a Shark this past season, he was the third selection in the 1998 draft and spent several years in San Jose before being sent to Boston in the Joe Thornton trade in 2005. He won a Cup with Detroit in 2008.

On the other side of the coin, there's Owen Nolan, whose Cup efforts were stopped when he came to San Jose. Traded by Colorado early in the 1995-96 season, he would have won a championship that season had he not been sent away. Meanwhile, Chris Terreri won a Cup in 1995 in New Jersey, spent some time with the Sharks briefly in 1996-97 and then won another Cup with the Devils in 2000.

Of course, it's easy to forget the Sharks are not the only team stymied for decades in their efforts to win a championship. Saint Louis fans have been waiting far, far longer (since 1967), as have fans in Vancouver and Buffalo (both began play in 1970) and Washington (1974).

Not everybody gets to be Philadelphia (Cup wins in their seventh and eighth seasons, none since) or Tampa Bay (a Cup win in their 12th season). The Kings, who began play in 1967, did not win until two years ago.

Yes, this is all off-season trivia. But this off-season is going to be a particularly long one for the Sharks and their fans.

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