Sutter's story doubtful

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:24 PM ET


 Ron Wilson won't buy Darryl Sutter's claim vengeance is not the goal.

 Wilson, the San Jose Sharks head coach, knows Sutter insists revenge won't be on his mind when squaring off in the Western Conference final but doesn't believe those claims.

 After all, Wilson went through the experience of facing his former team, having been fired by both the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Washington Capitals, and insists it's human nature to want a pound of flesh.

 "Darryl can say all he wants that it has no impact on him but I know how I felt the year or two after (being fired) when we played against Anaheim," Wilson said during yesterday's conference call. "I wanted to beat them bad.

 "It was never anything personal with the players but you're always going to think about being let go. We've managed since I've been here to beat Washington every time we've played them, which is a pretty gratifying feeling."

 When the Flames open the best-of-seven Sunday in San Jose, Sutter will face the Sharks team that fired him in December 2002.

 He vehemently denied having extra incentive Wednesday but Wilson said it's understandable to act that way outwardly.

 Of course, his squad has a dozen players who'll face their former coach.

 "You don't want your feelings out and that's how Darryl has approached this," Wilson said. "I don't think any of our players want to go out and prove anything to Darryl.

 "They have a lot of respect for him. So I don't think from our point of view that it matters that it's Calgary. We're happy to be playing in the conference final, period."

 Under Sutter, the Sharks went from a bottom feeder to league power and improved five straight seasons before last year -- when they never regrouped from a slow start.

 It was a far cry from the Stanley Cup contender they were pegged to be before the puck dropped on the 2002-03 campaign.

 This year saw the Shark rebound to post a franchise record, Pacific Division crown and trip to the conference final for the first time in their 13-year history.

 All the while, Sutter's new team made the post-season for the first time since 1996 and ventured to the third round for the first time since hoisting the Cup in 1989.

 The similarities don't end there.

 Both are led offensively by talented scorers -- Jarome Iginla in Calgary and San Jose captain Patrick Marleau -- and boast outstanding goaltenders, the Sharks Evgeni Nabokov and his former back-up Miikka Kiprusoff.


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