What Was Supposed to Be a San Jose Shark Season Preview

Josh PearlsteinContributor IOctober 2, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Patrick Marleau #12 of the San Jose Sharks warms up before the preseason NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on September 26, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Sharks 2-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Before I begin my premier article, I felt the need to give a general surgeon warning. While my article will not do any harm to your liver, kidney, or any other organs, and can be read by pregnant women, my articles are not meant for everyone.  They are not meant for those who want non-opinion reporting.

As a reader you are subject to random tangents that may or may not have anything with the article at hand. 

The source of these tangents may result from but are not limited to frustration from: course work, boring course work, studying for classes, completing applications, poor Sharks play, poor Giants play, stupid off season moves, uneducated criticism towards one of my teams because West Coast games start to late and reports are done solely on stats. 

Lastly, before I begin, I wanted to thank Bleacher Report and all of its contributors for enabling my to fill my procrastination time with enjoyable articles.  That are thought provoking, fun, humors, and most importantly geared to the sports fan whose thirst isn't quenched by the basic articles that ESPN has to offer.

Hockey begins tonight.

I wanted to begin my legacy by writing about the San Jose Sharks.  I planned on going through every player on the roster and discussing their role and how vital each cog is into the quest to hoisting Lord Stanley's cup. 

You would have read about the impact of Joe Pavelski, what Jamie McGinn means to the organization, and what to or not to expect out of Evgeni Nabakov.  

Had I gone to Yahoo! or ESPN to look up the "official" roster, you would be reading right now about Devin Setoguchi. But I went to SJSharks.com, and I didn't even make it to the roster page.  

I was stopped cold at the intro page of sjsharks.com.    

There was letterless-Patrick Marleau pictured in his home sweater promoting the single season ticket sales.  Coincidence? No. Irony? Yes. Nausea? Yes.

The intro page was a slap in the face to former Captain Patrick Marleau and to the fan base.  It has that same feeling as someone who is apologizing with the best intentions in mind, but is just making it harder.

One of the hottest stories this off season was that Marleau was left off the Sharks season ticket promotion, trying to foreshadow whether he would be back this year or not. Which is why I see it as no coincidence he graces the intro page.  It is the organizations way of saying sorry.  

I don't want to speculate how Marleau feels, for it is impossible to predict what is going through that blank stare of his.  I can tell you though, as a member of the Sharks cult (like it or not if your a Shark fan in Northern California you are a member of a cult) it brought nausea.

There is no doubt had the Sharks been an east coast team or a Canadian team, he would be the city's prodigal son, the media darling, imagine Mark Sanchez on ice (playing for the Rangers, not the Islanders).  Marleau is not considered the face of the franchise because the media didn't dub him as such, because his career didn't start in in the east coast or Canada.

Had Marleau been drafted in place of Joe Thornton with the number one overall pick by the Boston Bruins and then traded to the Sharks, us fans - believe it or not - would view Marleau in the way we do Thornton today.

It isn't our fault.  Faces of franchises and of the league are not festered on the west coast, the media doesn't allow it.  When you think of the Ducks you think of Scott Niedermayer who came from the Devils (east coast), the Kings it was Gretzky (Canada), and the Sharks its Thornton (east coast) and formerly Owen Nolan (Canada).  Marleau never had a chance.

We, as a fan base, watched Marleau grow up.  We where there with him when he got drafted, when he scored his first NHL goal, when he got married, when he played on a line with Marco Sturm, when he lived with Kelly Hrudey, when he had his first kid, and when Allyn McCauley walked into the locker room one day and said to the team, "this (referring to Patrick Marleau), this is your Captain."

We've been there for the most exciting of times (reaching the conference finals) and for the worst of times Detroit 2008.

In some ways, we as fans raised Marleau.  Marleau even without the "C" is the center of this organization and the center of hockey in the Bay Area. It may take decades to fully understand the importance of Patrick Marleau.  

The man has been thrown under the bus countless times for no reason, stripped of his dignity, and has never ever said a bad thing about the San Jose Sharks franchise, or its fans.

He could have easily and understandably asked for a trade. 

He has the opportunity to walk after this season, yet there is no indication that he will.  

Marleau is and always will be a Shark.


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