Thursday, February 19, 2015

Patrick Marleau Jersey Card

It seems the San Jose Sharks have begun their annual free fall earlier than usual; indeed, instead of waiting until the playoffs, they seem to have decided to crash and burn ahead of the trade deadline this year, perhaps because some of the players feel they might need a fresh start... elsewhere.

One of the two key pieces of what used to be called the team's leadership group, Patrick Marleau has been at the center of many a trade rumour in the past decade or so, as has been Joe Thornton. As a matter of fact, both former star players share another common trait: they are still playing for a team that has removed them from the captaincy, Marleau having been tossed aside for Thornton, and Jumbo Joe not currently being replaced this season... though he remains one of four skaters with an 'A' on his jersey.

Everything about the Sharks spells ''improvisation'' and ''lack of a definite plan'' after last postseason's meltdown, where they led their series against the Los Angeles Kings three games to none but ended up losing the series, becoming just the fourth team to surrender a 3-0 lead in the playoffs in NHL history; the team then swore they were rebuilding, promised they weren't, changed their leadership group (though they didn't), and spent the whole season so far with the same GM, same coach, same starting goalie, and same line-up, though they did trade Jason Demers for Brenden Dillon... which seemed to be the point where the players just lost any semblance of consistency and, dare I say, desire to play.

No Sharks player is currently on a point-per-game pace (though Joe Pavelski comes closest), and Marleau himself trails even defenseman Brent Burns. Things have been brighter for the former captain on the international stage, as he was a reserve member of Team Canada's 2004 World Cup team, and was on its 2010 and 2014 gold medal-winning Olympic teams, and won gold (2003) and silver (2005) at the World Championships. He is a rare case of a player never suiting up for Canada at the World Juniors to do so on the mens' teams.

Here he is wearing the Sharks' former white uniform dating from his captaincy days, in card #AF-PM of Upper Deck's 2005-06 SP Game-Used Edition collection (part of the Authentic Fabrics sub-set), featuring a black piece of game-worn jersey:

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