44-27-11, fifth in West; lost in second round to Edmonton
KEY ADDITIONS LW
Mark Bell, C Curtis Brown, RW Mike Grier
KEY LOSSES C Alyn
McCauley, LW Scott Thornton
After toiling in
obscurity for four seasons in Chicago, newly acquired left wing Mark Bell is
finally getting attention--just not the kind of attention he wanted. Ten days
before training camp began last month Bell, 26, allegedly rear-ended a pickup
truck, left the scene and walked for about a quarter mile before San Jose
police caught up to him. No one was seriously injured, but Bell, who is still
expected to play alongside Hart Trophy winner Joe Thornton (box, page 97) and
right wing Jonathan Cheechoo on what could be the NHL's best line, was arrested
on suspicion of drunk driving and felony hit-and-run. His arraignment was
postponed until October.
The Sharks' other
newcomers have kept a lower profile. After a disheartening loss to the Oilers
in last season's playoffs (the Sharks once led the series two games to none),
San Jose brought in free-agent center Curtis Brown and winger Mike Grier, a
defensive specialist, to take critical face-offs and to help kill penalties.
They join a club that has great depth on defense--and very high expectations.
Says coach Ron Wilson, "This team is competing for the Stanley Cup.
Anything short of that is a disappointment."
53-23-6, second in West; lost in first round to Colorado
KEY ADDITIONS C
Eric Lindros, C Patrik Stefan, D Darryl Sydor
KEY LOSSES C
Jason Arnott, C Niko Kapanen, D Willie Mitchell
Turco's disappointing performance in the playoffs--the heavily favored Stars
were knocked out by the Avalanche in the first round in each of the last two
seasons--has exhausted the patience of coach Dave Tippett. "I put trust in
a lot of [veterans], and the results haven't been there," says Tippett.
"When that happens, you tend to trust less. You make sure things get done
without relying on those players."