Upon hearing the sudden announcement coming out of San Jose on Monday it’s hard not to read between the lines and wonder if perhaps veteran Patrick Marleau’s days with the Sharks might be numbered. Even though this 29 year-old rebounded from a dismal 48 -point season two years ago to score 71 last year Marleau had his captaincy stripped by coach Todd McLellan. “As of now, nobody is our captain,” said McLellan who led the Sharks to the Presidents Trophy last season with 117 points. “I want to see who’s stepping up to the front. We’ll see as it (training camp) evolves. I can walk around town and everybody’s giving me a suggestion. I believe it’ll sort itself out.” For the past few years Marleau who was drafted first round and second overall by the Sharks in ’97 has been criticized unfairly for the team’s lack of playoff success and his overall leadership has come into question by management. As a captain I agree that Marleau should be made a little more accountable then his teammates for underachieving on the teams expectations of winning the Stanley Cup. That being said even though McLellan emphasized that he could earn the captaincy back in training camp I can’t help to wonder if perhaps they are trying to aggravate this 276- career goal scorer into waiving his no trade clause. Heading into the new season Marleau has one year left before he can become and unrestricted free agent. Even though he had that great bounce back year lots of skeptics were pointing at him after he scored only three points in a six game playoff loss to the eighth seeded Anaheim Ducks. McLellan also made the assistant captain positions vacant. I hope that I’m wrong and that perhaps management is taking the captaincy away from Marleau to relieve some added pressure. Maybe this 6-2 220 pound forward will respond by having the season of his life and excel in post season where in his career he only has 62 points in 92 games. That being said I can’t help but to be a pessimist and wonder if taking the captaincy is the first step in trying to take his pride away and in the process angering him to waive that no- trade clause. Only time will tell my friends.
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