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Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back
The prodigal Shark comes home, under trying circumstances
10/9/19 - By Paul Krill -

Four games into this fiasco of a season, we finally have something to cheer about: The impending return of Patrick Marleau. The circumstances around his return, though, wreak of desperation on the franchise's behalf. Just a couple weeks ago, we were told not to expect Marleau back; the team was moving in a different direction.

Their current direction, though, has the team with the worst record in the league at 0-4, five goals scored vs. 17 allowed, and not a single player with a positive +/- statistic. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Kevin Labanc lead the way at -7, followed closely by Erik Karlsson at -6. Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl, both 30-goal scorers last season, have zero points. Same with Labanc, who is on a one-year deal and botching his chance for a lucrative, long-term extension after a promising 2018-19 campaign.

Meanwhile, who can forget our minor league-level goaltending? We watch topnotch NHL goalies like Marc-Andre Fleury and John Gibson with envy, since they make opponents earn goals. This has not been the case a lot of the time with our goaltending. (As a matter of fact, at the only home game so far, my friend and I joked about whether Martin Jones could go a whole five minutes from the start of the game without giving up a goal.

And - eureka - he did it!

He let in a goal with 14 minutes and 59 seconds left, as in, five minutes and one second into the game. Mission accomplished.)

I keep hearing what a long season it is and not to worry. But with the team playing like it is, not scoring, not stopping pucks, and never having a lead in a single game so far, I only think of how truly awful this season could get if things don't turn around and fast. Want to hear something that will make you feel even worse? OK, you asked for it: We don't have a first-round draft pick this year. Ottawa could be sitting pretty with our first-round pick, acquired in the Erik Karlsson trade.

So, amidst this nightmare, here comes Marleau to hopefully save the day. Or, maybe to just help the Sharks sell some tickets, which is looking more and more like it is going to be a tough task this season. I am thrilled to have him back. And it would be great if his joining the team does turn things around.

Otherwise, it could one dismal, long season for the Sharks and the people in the stands, whose numbers are likely to dwindle to frightfully low numbers if things keep up as they are.

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