Sharks Fire Lombardi

Archived from 2002-03 season.

NHL teams

The San Jose Sharks, at the last stretch of a disappointing season, fired general manager Dean Lombardi on Tuesday.

Lombardi, who built the Sharks from bottom feeders to Stanley Cup contenders during seven seasons at the helm, was fired by owner Greg Jamison.

"This season has been a struggle and clearly has not progressed as any of us expected," Jamison said in a statement. "We feel this move is a necessary step in returning the San Jose Sharks to the postseason next year."

The Sharks are 26-33-6-7 this season, last in the division and 13th in the Western Conference and will miss the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.

Earlier in the year the Sharks fired coach Darryl Sutter and replaced him by Ron Wilson, who hasn't been able to turn the team around.

As the Sharks' season progressed, Lombardi traded Marcus Ragnarsson, Jeff Jillson, Niklas Sundstrom, Owen Nolan, Bryan Marchment and Matt Bradley, but things never got better.

"Right now, we're basically a lottery team. We need a fresh start," Jamison said. "We wanted to get started right now. Today is a new beginning, and we look forward to some exciting hockey for next season."

Last fall, goalie Evgeni Nabokov and defenseman Brad Stuart held out through the start of the regular season, which played a large role in the Sharks' slow start.

"We didn't get off to a good start, and we continued to play subpar hockey," Jamison said. "It just didn't seem to work. There's a lot of different guesses, suggestions, input as to what happened, but at the end of the day, it was very much an underperforming team."

When San Jose won just one of its first five games, Lombardi abruptly capitulated to Nabokov's salary demands -- but without participating in training camp, Nabokov started slowly and never got into top form this season.

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