How Marleau Can You Go?

Anyone tired of Patrick Marleau scoring game-winning goals in OT? I’m not, but I have a feeling Nashville players and fans might be. Along with Tuesday night, Marleau scored in characteristic fashion (breakaway) a few short weeks ago to beat the Preds, and he also joins three others as the only players in NHL history to score three or more OT goals in a ten game span.

Sorry Nashville, but Marleau wasn’t the only player you assisted into the record books with that goal. Ian White registered a helper on the goal, which gave him an overtime point with three different teams in a single season, a new NHL record no player has accomplished before. It just so happens that two of those OT points were against Nashville, the first one taking place in October when White was with the Flames. While that may not be the most flattering of records to hold, it provided me with grounds for a bad pun, and was thus worth mentioning.

Last week I agreed with fans as they voted Marleau the #1 greatest Shark of all time on a CSN Bay Area poll, only to see that ruling overturned shortly thereafter by the tyrannical broadcast team of Randy Hand and Drew Remenda who picked Jumbo-Joe Thornton instead. They have a compelling argument in that Thornton is directly responsible for changing the franchise into the elite and perennial contender it is now, and he definitely has been our MVP since he arrived at The Tank.

But then why did the fans so overwhelmingly choose Marleau as #1? Probably because Marleau has been doing what he did last night for well over a decade now, and we sports fans tend to enjoy getting nostalgic and reminiscing on the good ol’ days. I suppose I should amend that to say ‘sports fans of a competitive team’, as my experience as a Detroit Lions football fan has not been a pleasant stroll down memory lane thus far.

Just briefly thinking about the Lions resulted in an immediate case of writer’s block, so back to hockey! Marleau has led the team in goals five times in the last nine years, only losing out to the likes of Teemu Selanne, Joe Thornton and of course the supernatural Rocket Richard season of Jonathan Cheechoo. Over the years Patty has supplied us with enough thrilling overtime goals, breakaways, and miscellaneous magic to last a lifetime as it is, and he’s still chugging along with a lot still to prove in the playoffs. Ask Anti Niemi about Marleau in the postseason and he may recall five out of the Sharks seven goals in the Conference Finals last year coming off the blade of Patty’s stick.

While it would be fun to start the postseason off with a rematch against Chicago, in light of recent events it seems the heavens may be aligning to pair us up against the Predators in the first round. I don’t want to give Nashville too much credit for our good fortune though, as the Sharks have been firing on all cylinders lately, even if the cylinder looks like this. Even if they end up losing a few more games, if Todd McLellan can find a way to keep the Sharks playing as a cohesive unit they should be in good shape heading into April.

As we enter the home stretch players and fans alike should be taking a hard look in the mirror, and at each other, and asking a crucial question:

How Marleau can you go?

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