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Blake named Sharks captain
Boyle and Thornton to wear A's
9/30/09 - By Mike Lee -

Rob Blake was named as the Sharks 7th captain in franchise history on Thursday, officially ending Patrick Marleau's tenure with the "C". Blake will begin his 20th NHL season on Thursday night in Denver, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2001. Dan Boyle and Joe Thornton were also named as assistant captains.

The decision to name Blake as captain is both logical and peculiar, given his lengthy career. He is respected league wide for his tenure and tenacity alike, but given the wear and tear on his 39 year-old frame, the question of how long he elects to continue his career will create another captains vacancy for the Sharks to fill.

Blake turned in one of the finer seasons of his career last year, so his age doesn't appear to be an immediate factor, but as a professional athlete veers into the daunting 40's, Father Time becomes more relevant. There's no doubt that Blake's reputation league wide will pay dividends for the Sharks as he serves in the role, but what happens when he retires?

There's no doubt that the Sharks needed a change. If anything Marleau's passive demeanor gave everyone outside the locker room the impression that he was probably the same mild mannered nice guy behind closed doors. After the playoff disappointments the Sharks have turned in the past few years, the Sharks need a stern voice.

It remains to be seen if Blake will be that motivator.

He was quick to point out that leadership has to come from everyone that wears a Sharks crest professionally. Perhaps coming from him, the youngsters will take more notice.

In any case, Marleau is letter-less, but that may just be the motivation that conjures up the possessed hockey player that can lead a team to the promise land. Without the distractions that a captaincy brings, perhaps Marleau can focus on putting the puck in the net on a more regular basis. Doing that in the spring would really make it worth it.


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