Reunited, and it feels so good.
The fact that Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are teammates on the Sharks -- for the second time -- is, frankly, just absurd. It's entirely awesome, but yes, absurd.
Thornton and Marleau were the No. 1 and 2 picks in the 1997 NHL Draft, respectively, and they're the last two players standing from that draft class. They're both 40 years old. One guy has had major surgery on both knees. The other wasn't signed until four games into the current season.
The odds were most definitely against the two future Hall of Famers being reunited in San Jose, but they beat them anyway. And now, they're having a blast together again.
That much was readily apparent through a recent Q&A Thornton and Marleau did with The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.
"Never," Thornton said of if he thought they would ever be teammates in the first place. "We played together for Canada on under-18 so we knew each other before the draft. But going 1-2, I thought he was in the West and I was in the East permanently. Yeah. We’d play together internationally and stuff like that but never on the same NHL team. No."
As for being reunited, Thornton was as pleasantly surprised as the rest of us. "Isn’t it great? Who would have seen that!"
"Couldn’t stay away from the big guy here," Marleau quipped.
Thornton and Marleau had been teammates for the better part of 12 seasons prior to the current one. That's a lot of time together in close quarters, but the two longtime friends have always seemed to enjoy each other's company -- even when they didn't have to.
When the NHL returned from the 2012-13 lockout, a rule in the CBA was changed that required all players past their entry-level contracts to get their own hotel room on the road. Thornton and Marleau were both 33 years old at the time.
They kept rooming together anyway.
"It might have been more than a year," Marleau recalled.
"Yeah it might have been like two years," Thornton corrected.
Apparently, the choice to remain roommates on the road was a logical one.
"Yeah, we always woke up at the same time," Thornton said. "It was just, why change it? It was working out. We were playing good ...
"Yeah but it was 9:30 p.m. and shut out the lights (laughs)."
Now teammates -- again -- in their 40s, their friendship can be traced back multiple decades.
"We’ve had our fun," Thornton said. "But I just think the fact that we’ve had quality time together. We’ve got to know each other’s families. I’ve got to know the Marleau family, which is important. We have a lot of good memories, played on a lot of good teams."
"Right from when we were 17 years old," Marleau interjected. "We got in trouble that year (starts laughing)."
Oh? (eyes emoji)
Marleau then proceeded to remind Thornton about some good old-fashioned boyhood fun that went a little overboard -- literally -- back while they were playing on Canada's under-18 national team.
"We wrecked a couple of kayaks," Marleau recalled. "We had rented a couple of kayaks one day and somehow ran into each other.
"A couple of us jumped off and went swimming a little bit."
"So we had to pay for the damages," Thornton remembered. "They said, ‘You owe us money!’"
While Thornton and Marleau attempt to steer the Sharks better than they did those kayaks, they now have more time to build more memories together.
"The fun isn’t ending," Thornton said, "that’s for sure."
Well, as long as it doesn't keep the old-timers up past their bedtime.
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