I present you all with cause for celebration. Sure, the nightly news still has me wringing my hands. Writing deadlines loom before me, and a threatened Northern California power outage has me typing frantically. Yet tonight, I cheer. Why?
Patrick Marleau is a San Jose Shark again.
Of course, to most devotees of Team Teal, he never stopped being one. Nevertheless, if my mom’s tears and hugs following the announcement were any indication, this is a happy development indeed. Welcome back, Patty!
Patrick Marleau’s career milestones have been a frequent topic on this blog. His equally accomplished San Jose Sharks teammate Joe Thornton was not to be outdone last night. In a 3-2 Sharks victory over the Winnipeg Jets, Thornton assisted on Joe Pavelski’s game-winning empty-net goal. Thus, he became only the 13th player (over 100 years of NHL history) to notch 1,000 assists in his career. (Yet, somehow, the NHL didn’t see fit to place Thornton or Marleau on the list of 100 all-time NHL greats announced earlier this year. Don’t get me started…)
Conventional wisdom says that the NHL is a league suited for rookies, and that a nineteen-year veteran’s best days on the ice are likely behind him. (Obviously, these naysayers never heard of Gordie Howe, but that’s another post entirely.) It’s true that 37-year-old Patrick Marleau has racked up many career milestones, including two Olympic gold medals for Team Canada. Nevertheless, in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche last night, Marleau had the best offensive performance of his career thus far. He became the oldest NHL player to score four goals in a single period, and only the 12th to do so in NHL history. Consider that he scored on each shot he took in the third, and the achievement is even more impressive:
After scoring a natural hat trick (plus one) the night before, Marleau managed to net the game-winning goal against the Winnipeg Jets tonight. With two more tallies, he’ll reach 500 goals in his career. Of course, Patty took it all in stride:
[Update on 2/2/17: Patrick Marleau scored his 500th goal tonight in Vancouver!]
On Friday the San Jose Sharks debuted a Secret Santa-themed homage to The Office, the latest in their long-running series of annual holiday videos. While I was fairly surprised that avowed Office buffs Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau don’t appear in this one, the concept works pretty well. (Appropriately, the chosen Sharks play the material much straighter than in previous years. Forward Chris Tierney and goalie Martin Jones are particularly deadpan.) Just when you think “Hmm, this is starting to drag,” Tomas Hertl and Tommy Wingels bring it home with…well, just watch. Happy holidays, everybody!
In the San Jose Sharks’ 6-1 victory over the (somewhat flu-decimated) Colorado Avalanche on Monday night, Joe Thornton picked up two assists. As a result, he became the 33rd player in NHL history to reach 1,300 career points (367 goals and 933 assists, for those of you who are keeping score). It’s great to see Thornton (and Patrick Marleau) going strong in the later stages of their careers, at a crucial time for the Sharks. Of course, Thornton seemed to take it all in stride:
Since the San Jose Sharks set the bar high with last year’s holiday video, I awaited this year’s model with interest. I admit that I was skeptical about the Behind The Music homage and mock-documentary format, but the end result works beautifully thanks to the Sharks’ deadpan delivery. (I especially enjoy Nabokov’s Stanislavski reference, broadcaster Randy Hahn’s hip-hop persona, and the revelation that Patrick Marleau attended Canadian Juilliard.) The self-referential approach may confuse newcomers at first, but all will be revealed. (Trust me, it’s worth it.) Well done, guys! (Also, please heal quickly over the holidays. Thank you.)
During the San Jose Sharks’ game against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, Patrick Marleau scored his 1,000th NHL career point. (It was a secondary assist on Brent Burns’ first goal of the game.) By doing so, Marleau became only the fifth active NHL player to achieve that feat, and the 83rd player in NHL history. I could mention his two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada, his World Championship and World Cup of Hockey gold medals, or the various franchise records he holds for the Sharks. The following clip reel, however, is much more fun:
I’m especially proud that, since Marleau was drafted #2 overall in 1997, all of his 1,348 career games have been with the Sharks. His speed, versatility, and quietly effective leadership qualities embody all the best aspects of the San Jose Sharks, to me and to countless hockey fans. Congratulations!
(Okay, technically, he’s the 1,001-point wonder. After all, Marleau did get another assist last night.)