There was some pretty big hoopla in San Jose today as GM Doug Wilson announced that 43 year-old Claude Lemieux was being recalled from the AHL's Worcester Sharks. That's right, Claude Lemieux has returned to haunt the dreams of scoring forwards everywhere. The agitator might be a step or three slower, and he probably doesn't have the hands like he did in Montreal, but he shook off retirement talk and has made it back to The Show. At 43. Gordie Howe would be proud.
Claude Lemieux is one of only eight players to win the Stanley Cup with three different teams, turning the trick with Montreal in 1986, New Jersey in 1995, and Colorado in 1996. At that point, he was only the fifth player in NHL history to win back-to-back Stanley Cups with different teams. He also won another Stanley Cup in 2000 with the New Jersey Devils.
Not bad for a guy who has been hated by opposing fans everywhere he goes. And to add to his legacy, the Sharks have a fairly good shot at coming out of the Western Conference to play for the Silver Chalice. Four Cups with four different teams? Not out of the question for the 43 year-old forward. The 1995 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP should stick in San Jose for the rest of the season thanks to his dogged stick-to-it-ness.
You want to see Claude in action? Claude Lemieux appeared on SpikeTV's Pros Vs. Joes in the second season in 2007. And he absolutely abuses some "Joe" on the ice. Check it out.
Yeah, Claude Lemieux hasn't lost his edge. San Jose's leadership group just got stronger, and they now have a proven playoff performer on their roster. If he's playing the fourth line and six minutes per game, he'll use those six minutes to stomp all over someone. Guaranteed. That's how Claude Lemieux rolls.
Will Lemieux's presence propel the Sharks to playoff success? No idea. However, hockey at the Shark Tank just got a lot nastier with Claude in the lineup. I'm sure Detroit is past the entire Lemieux-on-Draper incident, and that's fine. But you can't tell me that players won't be looking over their shoulders for the guy who just hacked them in the back of the leg as he skated to the bench.
That's why the Sharks brought Lemieux back: he's a fierce competitor, and never gives up. Isn't that what all GMs want from their players?
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!