With time ticking away here in mid-November, a return for the NHL on Jan. 1 remains more idealistic than imminent.
It’s a safe assumption that all Sharks players are eager to immediately resume their careers in any fashion. It’s also a reasonable assumption that elder statesmen across the league, such as 41-year old Patrick Marleau might have the extra urge of ‘need’ to return even greater than the ‘want’ of most others.
“I understand the question,” Marleau told NBC Sports California. “But I think it’s just the fact I want to get back to normal. Back to playing.
“It’s got to be under the right circumstances that we do it, obviously, everybody being safe.”
Marleau currently is in San Jose, skating three times per week with several teammates. He gets regular updates from the NHLPA, and says all his training and preparation goes a lot easier when carrying an optimistic outlook. But that doesn’t stop him from recognizing the realities, and letting his mind wander to alternatives.
As we all do.
“It’s hard not to flip back and forth and look at all the different avenues that this could play out,” Marleau admitted.
Marleau always has been known for his endurance and durability, as evidenced by his 1,723 NHL games played -- just 45 shy of overtaking Gordie Howe for the most in league history. He’s confident that even if everything goes terribly wrong in the coming weeks and months, this won’t be how it ends.
“If it gets pushed back, I still feel confident that I’ll be able to play,” he said. “My goal is to keep staying in shape, keep skating. If I can do that then worst-case scenario, if there isn’t another season, I’m still in shape. Still in the mode to play.”