Patrick Marleau Answers Sharks' Challenge in Full

Archie RoboostoffContributor IMarch 24, 2009

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 15:  Patrick Marleau #12 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 15, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Sharks 6-5.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau doesn't say much. 

Marleau chooses to use his play instead of his mouth, and what he's saying this year speaks volumes about his character and demonstrates the ability he has that few professional athletes possess: the ability to put team goals and personal pride before ego.

Coming off the 2007-2008 season, Marleau, with only 48 points and a -19 rating, recorded one of his worst seasons as a Shark. After enduring a season-long "tough love" strategy from former coach Ron Wilson that included a number of benchings, Marleau was the focus of offseason trade rumors.

General Manager Doug Wilson has made some masterful moves with San Jose to give the team a legitimate shot at Lord Stanley's Cup. Moves that brought Joe Thornton, Jody Shelley, and Brian Boucher to San Jose, while initially questioned, have proved to be exactly what the team needed.  

Wilson's best trade, however, was not trading Marleau.

Marleau's response to this second chance has been nothing short of spectacular. With only 10 games left, Marleau already has his highest goal total this year and went from the dismal -19 rating to an astonishing +20. Add to that the fact that Marleau has 10 game winning goals this season and it's difficult to argue this isn't one of the more compelling comeback stories in the NHL.

In a sporting world that has superstars like baseball's Manny Ramirez literally throwing in the towel and giving up on a team to suit his own interests, the public most likely wouldn't have been surprised if Marleau decided to move on to another team.

Lucky for the Sharks, Marleau decided to buck the norm, put his head down, work hard, and preach from his silent soap box.

Sharks fans are liking what they are hearing.