Tuesday, November 16, 1999
Sharks a good fit for Damphousse
By MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun
This was one captain who gladly bailed out on his sinking ship.
"I have no sympathy for them," Vincent Damphousse said yesterday when asked about the struggles of his former club, the Montreal Canadiens. "It was their choice."
On March 23, 1999, the Canadiens shipped then-captain Damphousse to the San Jose Sharks for second-round and fifth-round picks in the 1999 draft, along with future considerations. Obviously building for the future, the Habs also saw the deal as a salary dump.
Damphousse has flourished while wearing the Sharks' teal, compiling 33 points in 33 games since the trade, including a goal in San Jose's 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre last night. The onetime Leafs forward will be staying out on the Left Coast for a while, too, signing a four-year deal worth just over $18 million US this past off-season.
As for the Habs, they find themselves with just 12 points in their first 18 games this season.
"It was a matter of timing," Damphousse said. "It was the right time for me to leave Montreal. It's my home town and I spent seven good seasons there, but they wanted to rebuild.
"I still have friends who play for that team. They still have no depth because of all the trades they made for draft picks.
"I enjoyed my time in Toronto and Montreal, but playing for San Jose certainly is different. Away from the rink, nobody knows me."
Damphousse certainly enjoys playing at the Air Canada Centre.
One day after joining San Jose last season, Damphousse scored twice in his Sharks debut, an 8-5 victory over the host Leafs. Last night Damphousse was at it again, opening the scoring at 3:48 of the first period.
Damphousse's playmaking skills have helped teammate Owen Nolan get off to one of the fastest starts of his career. Nolan, who had an assist on Damphousse's goal last night, has 12 goals and 28 points.
"We feel we have a good team here," Nolan said. "We came into training camp confident and that helped us get off to a good start.
"This team is definitely stronger. We haven't spent as much time in our own end, and that translates into more scoring chances."