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San Jose Fires Sims as Coach

May 10, 1997|From Staff and Wire Reports

The San Jose Sharks, who had the second-worst record in the NHL this season, fired Coach Al Sims on Friday after only one year.

The Sharks went 27-47-8 for 62 points, ahead only of Boston (26-47-9 with 61 points).

"The fit was not right for the future of this team," Shark General Manager Dean Lombardi said. "The franchise made many positive strides this season, but this change was necessary to continue in the right direction."

Before he joined the Sharks, Sims was an assistant coach for three seasons with Anaheim. He was hired by the Sharks last June to replace interim coach Jim Wiley, who took over when Kevin Constantine was fired in December 1995.

The team said assistant coaches Wayne Cashman and Roy Sommer would retain their jobs.


It's a Stanley Cup playoff tradition that players hide injuries from opponents and reporters, and Mighty Duck center Steve Rucchin did his part the past two weeks.

Rucchin played the final five playoff games with a separated left shoulder, suffered after a hard check against the boards midway through Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinals April 27 against Phoenix.

Asked repeatedly if he was fit, Rucchin's standard answer was: "I'm not 100%, but I'm fine. I can play." He and the Duck medical staff said it was merely a bruise.

"It was so bad he took three shots," Coach Ron Wilson said after Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 of their semifinal series eliminated the Ducks from the playoffs.

"It was so frustrating," Rucchin said. "My shoulder was so weak. I was trying so hard. It would have almost been better to have lost in regulation because we worked so hard out there. To lose another overtime game, what can you say? It stinks."

Rucchin had a goal and two assists in the playoffs--all after he was injured. He also missed the first three games of the quarterfinals because of back spasms.


Boston University's Jack Parker turned down an offer to coach the Boston Bruins and will stay at the school he has led to two national championships over 24 years.

Parker, 52, cited the extra travel, the demands of an 82-game season compared to a 40-game schedule and the media glare as reasons for passing up what has been reported as a four-year, $2-million deal to coach the Bruins.


NHL spokesman Arthur Pincus said the league is reviewing a slashing incident that left New York Ranger foward Niklas Sundstrom with a broken left arm but that it will not have a decision until at least today.

The Rangers want John MacLean, the New Jersey Devils' leading playoff scorer, suspended.

After being hooked around the shoulder and neck by Sundstrom late in the third period of Thursday's Game 4 in the Eastern Conference semifinals, MacLean, a 14-year veteran, turned and swung his stick at the second-year player, hitting the arm in an unprotected area.

Sundstrom, who scored 24 goals this season, is scheduled to have a plate and screws placed in the arm today, Ranger Coach Colin Campbell said.

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