Last week, the most important hockey player in San Jose Sharks history announced his retirement.
Patrick Marleau is a more skilled and accomplished player who is almost certain to have a longer career. If one player personifies this franchise, it is Patty.
Doug Wilson was one of the first Sharks leaders and is now their general manager. He is a Hall of Famer in his former role (an honour that is no given for Nolan) and is on his way to assembling a team that makes eight straight playoffs and probably five straight division titles, though Sunday's performance did not help that goal.
But no one meant more than Nolan. He was the best player on a team that was fighting to be relevant in the NHL. Sure, it had already won a playoff series against the vaunted Detroit Red Wings (though less vaunted at that time), but they were never contenders or even pretenders before Nolan came along.
Nolan's last official NHL game was April 4, 2010. But being the fighter he was, he refused to give up on his career for 22 months after that. As recently as this September, he was in a Vancouver Canucks uniform trying to make the team against San Jose.
Finally, on February 7, he announced he would hang up the skates. This is a time for nostalgia, looking back at the greatest moments of his career with the franchise.