Programming note: Blue Jackets-Sharks coverage begins tonight at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE -- Patrick Marleau has had an eventful 2014, and it’s only a little more than a month old.
The Sharks’ forward was named to his second career Olympic team early in January, despite not being invited to Team Canada’s orientation camp before the start of the NHL season. Not a lock to make it even with his solid numbers through December, a motivated Marleau earned his spot.
Just a few weeks later, the 34-year-old franchise scoring leader signed a three-year, $20 million contract extension to remain in San Jose, giving up the opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
His scoring output, though, much like the rest of the Sharks, has dried up. Not only that, Marleau has a -7 rating to go along with just one goal and one assist in the seven games since the contract extension was announced on Jan. 25.
He doesn’t seem concerned, though.
“The chances have been there, so happy with that,” Marleau said on Friday morning. “I would be a lot happier if they start going in a little bit more, but as the team goes, as we go, that’s kind of how things work. We’ve been trying to find line combinations, and things like that. But, chances have been there, so they’re going to start going in.”
Head coach Todd McLellan wasn’t quite so blasé.
“There’s more to Patty than we’ve seen over the last little bit,” McLellan said. “He’s had some things, the Olympics, the contract, a number of things that have occurred over the last couple weeks.
“Again, he is a streaky player, as well. We’ve talked about him and Brent Burns (no goals in 15 games). I think [Marleau] is skating well, it’s using his body and his size and his strength, and I think he can get better in that area.”
The Sharks’ power play enters Friday's game with Columbus in a 1-for-24 rut in its last eight games, and that’s another area Marleau can improve, according to McLellan. Marleau has seven power play goals, second on the Sharks to Joe Pavelski’s 10, but none since Dec. 27 at Phoenix.
“We talk about power play, he’s a guy that can really make that happen and make that click,” McLellan said. “He probably scores more power play goals than anybody in our group, yet hasn’t had many opportunities on it."