Of all the adjectives used to describe Sharks franchise icon Patrick Marleau over the years, outspoken has rarely, if ever, been one of them.
Thats changed in recent days, though, as Marleau has become a vocal critical of the leagues tactics when it comes to the current labor impasse. It began when I spoke with him myself on Thursday at Sharks Ice and he bluntly stated, If the owners cared about the game, we would be playing. (He later clarified that when he refers to the owners, hes talking about what he believes is a small group of hard-liners, of which Gary Bettman needs just eight to veto any CBA proposal).
Marleau continued to voice his disapproval in a text message sent to Josh Rimer of NextSportsStar.com (via ProHockeyTalk.com) on Saturday.
The league had these games canceled already in the summer. They are just releasing that info now, Marleau said, referring to the NHL cancelling the schedule through November.
Its not hard to see why Marleau might jump to that conclusion. The NHLs opening CBA proposal was an early signal of the leagues draconian approach, and its more recent refusal to meet with the players association in the days leading up to their own Oct. 25 deadline to save a full season was peculiar.
Many have suggested that NHL ownership is following the same guidelines used by NBA owners around this time last year. There were several perceived peaks and valleys during those negotiations, which ended with ownership getting a larger percentage of profits as well as a condensed 66-game season starting on Christmas Day.
So, Marleau could be on to something.
For now, though, the enigmatic forward is one of a few Sharks still in the Bay Area. That could change shortly, though, as he told CSNCalifornia.com on Thursday that hes spoken to his agent about possibly going abroad.
Its definitely an option, he said.
Couture gets fancy
Speaking of overseas, Sharks stars Logan Couture and Joe Thornton went head-to-head in Switzerland for the second time over the weekend, with Coutures first-place Geneve-Servette team coming away with a 5-4 win over Thorntons HC Davos squad.
In a much-tweeted highlight (courtesy of Puck Daddy), Couture managed to score his fifth goal of the season with an incredible between-the-legs shot. He also has 11 assists on the year, including two in the game against Davos, for a total of 16 points in 12 games.
Thornton had one assist in the loss, and has four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 15 games.
Champs for Charity a success
Adam Burish is still waiting for the chance to don a Sharks jersey after signing with San Jose in the offseason, but hes making the most of his time off.
Burish, a member of the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks, helped put together a reunion of that team to benefit local Chicago charities, and it was a resounding success. On Saturday at Allstate Arena, home of the AHLs Chicago Wolves, the game brought in more than 323,000 for the Ronald McDonald House.
The biggest thing for me was all these guys deciding to participate. Guys I won a championship with showed up, guys Ive played against showed up. To me, thats what meant a lot, Burish told CSNChicago.com. They were so giving with their time, doing whatever they could to help, because it wasnt easy. I hope everyone had fun, because I did.
The vocal crowd, presumably desperate for the lockout to end, exceeded 12,000.
It brings you right back to the regular season and playoffs. And its all for a great cause, Patrick Sharp said. Whenever you score a goal you get a good feeling. You play to win and be a part of a team. We were messing around out there but we were still playing hockey. There were a lot of antics going on but it was fun to be a part of a game again.
There were more than just Blackhawks that suited up. Opponents of the former champs included Bobby Ryan, Jordan Staal and Ryan Suter.
After a slow start in which they failed to win any of their first four games, the Worcester Sharks collected four of a possible six points over the weekend. Goaltender Alex Stalock was in net for wins on Friday and Sunday, stopping 51 of 54 shots total in the two games.
A quick look at the stats shows Tim Kennedy leading the Worcester offense with three goals and five assists for eight points, while Sebastian Stalberg (4g, 2a) and Bracken Kearns (1g, 5a) have six points apiece.
James Sheppard, perhaps the most intriguing player on Worcesters roster, has cooled off. After recording three points in the first two games, he has just one assist in the last five.
The Sharks (2-4-0-1, 5 pts.) are in fourth place in the five-team Atlantic Division.
Coyle impressing in AHL
In other minor league news, former Sharks first round pick Charlie Coyle is impressing for Minnesotas farm team in Houston. Coyle was part of the package the Sharks sent to the Wild in order to acquire defenseman Brent Burns.
Coyle, drafted 28th overall by San Jose in 2010, leads all rookie forwards in the AHL with five goals, prompting this tweet from Wild beat writer Michael Russo. He could very well be a part of the Wilds roster if the NHL and NHLPA get their act together to salvage a season.
Minnesotas roster already has a number of former Sharks, including Devin Setoguchi and Torrey Mitchell, the latter of whom signed there this past offseason.