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Jonathan Cheechoo returns to the Sharks … only these ones play in Worcester

Oct 6, 2010, 11:30 AM EDT

joncheechoobacktosharks.jpgWhat happens when your career or life goes just short of full circle?

Jonathan Cheechoo knows how that feels, as the 30-year-old winger will return to the Sharks … only this time, he’ll be suiting up in Worcester instead of San Jose. Here is the story from Bill Ballou.

Jonathan Cheechoo, with 170 NHL goals on his résumé, is expected to join the Sharks today.

That’s the AHL Sharks – the ones who play their home games at the DCU Center.

Cheechoo, a 30-year-old right wing, will be signed to a pro tryout by Worcester, returning to the organization with which he began his pro career. Cheechoo’s first pro coach was Roy Sommer, now Worcester’s head coach who had him in 2000-01 with the Kentucky Thoroughblades, which at that time was San Jose’s AHL affiliate. From there, Cheechoo eventually made it up to the NHL Sharks, where his career peaked in 2005-06 with a 56-goal performance.

Since then, his production has slipped every year. Cheechoo was traded to Ottawa after the just before the 2009-10 season and by the end of last year, he was playing for the Senators’ AHL team in Binghamton. He went 8-6-14 in 25 games down there. Dallas had Cheechoo in training camp, but released him Sept. 25.

Cheechoo joins Kyle McLaren and Claude Lemieux as notable pro-level players who spent at least some time in Worcester, while Ballou points out that the closest parallel might be Gary Leeman. Leeman was a former 51-goal scorer who flamed out in the NHL before … flaming out in Worcester.

Deep down, the hope is that Cheechoo plays well enough to make an impact for the “real” Sharks. Still, that moment is a long way away for both parties, so we’ll see how he does. Best of luck to him as he gets his final opportunity (or opportunities?) to revive his professional career.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)

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