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Coaches Re-Sign With Sharks

June 19, 2002

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Coach Darryl Sutter and assistants Rich Preston and Lorne Molleken agreed to new contracts with the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.

Sutter has led the Sharks to five consecutive seasons of improvement since 1997, culminating in a franchise-record 99 points and the Sharks’ first Pacific Division championship last season. San Jose has made the playoffs in each of Sutter’s five seasons.

Sutter’s contract expired after San Jose’s second-round playoff loss to Colorado last month. The Sharks are in the process of being sold to a group of investors led by team president Greg Jamison, causing a delay in negotiations.

Terms of Sutter’s new deal weren’t disclosed, but Sharks general manager Dean Lombardi, who also re-signed with San Jose last week, said it was similar to the one that paid Sutter $850,000 last season.

Sutter coaches a conservative, no-nonsense brand of hockey that hasn’t always agreed with the Sharks’ stars, including right wing Teemu Selanne and captain Owen Nolan. But Lombardi has remained loyal to Sutter since persuading him to come out of semi-retirement five years ago to coach the Sharks.

At 184-155-58, Sutter is the Sharks’ career leader in games coached, victories and winning percentage. In the NHL, only coaches Paul Maurice of Carolina, Jacques Martin of Ottawa, Joel Quenneville of St. Louis and Lindy Ruff of Buffalo have been with their teams longer.

Sutter coached the Chicago Blackhawks from 1992-95, taking them to the Western Conference finals and a division title. He also was the Blackhawks’ captain for five seasons during an eight-year playing career.

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