| Marleau loses his
No successor named
In a move to spread more accountability across the
roster, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan relieved Patrick Marleau of the team
captaincy. David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News broke the story on Monday
on his blog on Monday. Pollak posted comments from questions that he posed to
McLellan, during a trip to the Sharks practice facility at Sharks Ice.
Marleau was given the responsibility by former head coach Ron Wilson back in
2004, in a move to empower the Sharks up and coming star. Marleaus
four-plus seasons in the role were marred with early playoff exits, progressing
to the Conference Finals only once during that run.
Marleau of the C, the Sharks continue to focus on instilling a different
attitude from the top down, but McLellan was cautious in his comments about the
Does that fall onto one guys shoulder, the guy
wearing the C? No. Its a collective thing and it starts with me at a
The move is a sensitive one, because a hockey captaincy
is something that most hockey players consider an actual honor. Unlike
football, baseball or basketball, the role is typically bestowed on a worthy
player with the expectations that they will lead their team.
Marleaus mild-mannered personality often came across as passivity in a
game where bone crunching hits and intensity are a given. Successful teams
dont need raving intensity freaks flying off the handle and laying
checks, but having a soft-spoken leader hasnt worked for the Sharks.
Proponents of Marleaus can point to former Detroit Red Wings
captain Steve Yzerman as proof that an even keeled leader can successful. The
difference between the two however, is that Yzerman consistently delivered on
the ice. Rumors of a Marleau trade swirled three season ago, until the Shark
centerman turned in a gritty performance against the Dallas Stars in the 2008
Western Conference semi-finals.
Rather than using that series as a
spring board, Marleau went into a shell once again last spring when the Anaheim
Ducks bounced the Sharks in the first round of the playoffs.
The one captainly thing Marleau did do this year, is
tell the Sharks that he would relinquish the role if it would help the Sharks
get to the next step. San Joses brass took him up on the offer and made
it public on Monday.
Now Marleau gets to focus on putting the puck in
the net and setting up his linemates to do the same. For all the criticisms,
Marleau had a great regular season. He disappeared in the Sharks short playoff
run, but then again, who didnt. Marleau was playing with a bum knee, but
his 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) in 6 games just didnt cut, captain or
So now, Marleau gets to see what he can do without the undo
burden of being the team spokesman and leader. That responsibility will almost
certainly fall on Dan Boyles shoulders.
Now Marleau gets to put
his game together, and ready himself for a push to make the playoffs, and
hopefully help push the Sharks over the Stanley Cup hump. Hopefully the rest of
the organization sees the move as a statement that San Jose will do whatever it
takes to get over that hump.
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