Wilson Hired As Sharks Head Coach

Archived from 2002-03 season.

NHL teams

Ron Wilson was hired by the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, three days after the team fired Darryl Sutter and his two assistants.

"I was missing the game intensely," Wilson said. "You get the energy, and you want to be a part of it. You think, 'I'm not going to hear the national anthem this year.' That was really depressing."

Wilson was fired by Washington last May after five years, which included a trip to the Stanley Cup finals in 1998.

"When I got the call Sunday evening, I was rather shocked -- and happy," Wilson said. "This was the first opening (in the NHL) this season, and I'm the first guy in line. Just how lucky can I be?"

The Sharks are a talented, underachieving team, that many picked to go far this year. But a 8-12-2-2 start that put them in last place in the Pacific Division led Sharks general manager Dean Lombardi to fire Sutter along with assistants Rich Preston and Lorne Molleken.

"He's got old-time hockey in him, which is important. Look at his family tree," Lombardi said of Wilson, whose father and uncle both played for Stanley Cup-winning teams in Detroit. "And he's also very well-versed in the technical side of things. He knows how to take advantage of things that his dad and uncle never dreamed about."

During Wilson's brief stint as a studio analyst for Canadian sports network TSN, he boldly predicted that the Sharks and Philadelphia would meet in the Stanley Cup finals next June. Now, he's been handed the responsibility for making his own prediction come true.

"Boy, be careful what you say," Wilson said with a grin. "I'll stick by that: Sure, San Jose is going to come out of the West."

Wilson will run his first practice on Thursday morning, with Raeder sticking around to help out for a few days until Wilson hires his assistant coaches.

"I've always prided myself on being flexible," Wilson said. "The players will find out if you're playing hard and you're on top of your game, you're going to play a lot. If somebody else can do a better job, then fine."

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