One guy who’s taken advantage of the doldrums of the summer is Sergei Samsonov.
After a report surfaced last week that Samsonov would be getting a tryout with the San Jose Sharks pending a lockout, his agent Neil Abbott quickly shot that down, but make no bones about it he wants back in the NHL.
Kevin Kurz at CSNBayArea.com talked with Sharks captain Joe Thornton who says he would love to have his former Boston teammate back in the game.
“It was so long ago, but I enjoyed playing with Sergei. He can stickhandle in a phone booth and is a very high end, skilled player,” Thornton said. “It would be nice to see him back after missing last year, to see what he can do.”
Stickhandling is well and good, but if he can’t score goals then he’ll have a hard time sticking around if he returns. In his last NHL season in 2010-11 he had 13 goals and 27 assists splitting time with the Hurricanes and Panthers.
Whether or not he could rekindle old fires with Thornton in San Jose is a good question to ask, especially with Samsonov turning 34 years-old in October.
Sergei Samsonov didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he may be getting a shot to come back.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reports according to his agent Igor Larionov, Samsonov will get a tryout with the San Jose Sharks, but there’s a catch.
For him to get a chance to show what he’s got left there needs to be a training camp to try out in. If the NHL locks out the players, the chances we’ll see training camp decrease each day it goes on. As it is, the CBA expires on September 15 which is right about when camp would begin in the first place.
Samsonov last played in the NHL in the 2010-11 season with the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers scoring 13 goals and adding 27 assists. The Sharks may be hoping Samsonov can find old chemistry with fellow former Bruin Joe Thornton and give them a needed, and inexpensive, offensive lift.
UPDATE (4:09 p.m. ET): According to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty, Samsonov’s actual agent Neil Abbot says there is no training camp deal with the Sharks as of yet and that his client is speaking with many teams.
Read more at CSNBayArea.com
Hockey fans own plenty of go-to punching bags, but Joe Thornton’s supposed playoff woes are a near-universal favorite. There’s at least one group of people who are unlikely to bash Jumbo Joe, though: the wingers he made rich.
With Thornton’s 1,000th game in the books, here’s a look at some of the guys who should’ve given him a serious cut of their checks.
Sergei Samsonov: More than half of the speedy Russian’s career goals came in Boston. That is not a coincidence. It’s possible that Samsonov received so many chances to turn his career around because people dreamed that he’d find his old magic, but that magic came from someone else.
Glen Murray: Murray went from a solid 29-goal scorer with the Los Angeles Kings to a two-time All-Star with the Bruins, where Thornton helped him score a career-high 92 points. Murray never topped 62 without Jumbo Joe.
Jonathan Cheechoo: “The Cheechoo Train” is the most obvious example of The Thornton Effect. Cheechoo won the 2006 Maurice Richard Trophy after he scored 56 goals thanks to Thornton’s gigantic year. Now he’s relegated to minor league indignity.
Patrick Marleau: Obviously, Marleau was a great player before Thornton – the player who was drafted ahead of him in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Still, his game jumped to a higher level with Thornton; the speedy forward posted a career-high 44 goals on a line with Jumbo Joe in 09-10. Even if they haven’t always lined up together, Marleau benefited from easier defensive matchups – all five of his highest goal scoring years came after the Thornton trade.
Thornton’s Hall of Fame worthiness is up to debate, but making average guys into stars (and stars into superstars) shows that he deserves a lot more respect.