Former Sharks Coach Returns to Tank Tonight

Hasn't been back since being fired

Ron Wilson has been hired and fired by enough hockey teams to render him immune to any silly, sentimental longings for an old home or a lost opportunity.

Even if Wilson felt bittersweet about the San Jose Sharks' outstanding start in their first season since his departure, he would never admit it to the likes of Sharks veterans Jeremy Roenick or Joe Thornton.

The blustering coach who led the Sharks to almost every major NHL achievement except the Stanley Cup finals returns to San Jose on Tuesday night behind the Toronto Maple Leafs' bench.

Like any coach, Wilson admires the 20-3-1 powerhouse that has emerged in San Jose under new coach Todd McLellan, but he doesn't anticipate any excess pride or disappointment at the Shark Tank, which is likely to greet him warmly.

"I've been through this three or four times," Wilson said Monday after the Maple Leafs' morning skate in Los Angeles. "How many times have you been fired? If you haven't, you don't know what I'm talking about. Don't assume you know what I'm thinking. Obviously, I have great friendships there. I think I have a lot of good relationships with a lot of the players. It's going to be fun to see them."

Wilson is the winningest coach in Sharks history, going 206-134-45 after taking over midseason in December 2002. His teams won two Pacific Division titles and reached the Western Conference finals in 2004, winning a playoff round in each of his four full seasons.

"They fired me, and I was on a red-eye and a golf course the next morning," said Wilson, who spends the offseason in South Carolina. "That's exactly what I did. On my boat in the evening. The first thing I did was bust out the golf clubs and move on. It's as simple as that."

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