Sharks

Why former Sharks star Patrick Marleau wants to return to California

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USATSI

Why former Sharks star Patrick Marleau wants to return to California

Patrick Marleau spent the first 19 years of his NHL career with the San Jose Sharks. He arrived at 19 years old and left at 37.

Now it sounds like he wants to come back.

The Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday traded 39-year-old Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes, along with a conditional 2020 first-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round selection, for a 2020 sixth-round choice. But this easily could be a salary dump, as the former Sharks star wishes to be back in San Jose.

Marleau, who still had one year left on his Leafs contract, put his Toronto home on the market earlier this month for more than $11 million, TSN reported. His wife and four sons were on their way back to California, and that's exactly why Canadian-born Marleau wants to be back on the West Coast.

"Everything is based on that -- family," Marleau said in an interview with NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger that ran Monday. "I wanted to kind of be with them. Our one son, it's based on his schooling and what was best for him. It was at the point where my wife and kids were planning on coming back [to California] already. It kind of ties it all together. Hard to explain it all.

"Basically, for the kids' schooling and stuff, we thought we could get the help and support we needed here. With four boys, it's a little bit easier here with family around for my wife."

The Hurricanes could buy out the final year of Marleau's contract, making him a free agent and helping his hopes of being closer to his family in the Bay Area. That's out of his hands, however.

"We'll see what happens," Marleau said. "I'll leave that to my representatives and the Hurricanes to discuss."

Marleau played in all 82 games for the Leafs last season, but it certainly was a down year for the three-time All-Star. His 16 goals were his fewest since his rookie year, as were his 37 points -- outside of the strike-shortened 2012 season.

Despite turning 40, Marleau believes he still has plenty left in his tank. 

[RELATED: Here's why Marleau reunion doesn't make sense for Sharks]

"I could see myself playing beyond this next year. I still feel really good, and I still feel I can contribute," Marleau said. "Last year wasn't a very good year by my standards, so I'm looking forward to proving that wrong. That kind of gets the adrenaline going. You have to prove yourself year after year. I look forward to doing that this year."

If that will be at The Tank in San Jose is yet to be determined.

Sharks face 'big test' vs. Hurricanes as they seek third straight win

Sharks face 'big test' vs. Hurricanes as they seek third straight win

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks appear to be bouncing back from a dismal start to their season with two wins in a row. But they face new challenges as they continue their homestand against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"It's a big test for us," head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters during Wednesday's morning skate. "You just look at the analytics. Number one in the league in creating scoring chances off of the rush, in the top two or three of creating offense. They're scoring in bunches. (There are) a lot of different things there you're going to have to deal with -- maybe the best defense corps in the league one through six, and they're getting great goaltending. That's why their record is what it is."

Of course, San Jose is looking to jump on the Canes early, especially since the Sharks are hosting and playing on the tail-end of a back-to-back. They beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 in LA on Tuesday night. But when a team is as good as Carolina is, there's a little more to it.

"We just can't beat ourselves," DeBoer said. "We know what they do well. It's exactly like when we play playoff hockey against an opponent. You've got to take away what they do well or not feed what they do well. And at the same time, try to establish our own game. That's something I've talked about since day one."

Multiple Sharks contributed to the team's 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Sunday. Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, and Kevin Labanc all found the back of the net while Martin Jones stopped 29 of 30 shots that came his way and the penalty kill went a perfect four-for-four. But DeBoer knows his team's overall game still has another level it needs to find.

"We won the last game and I thought we were better defensively," he said. "But we only generated 20 shots, We've got to find a way to start getting a four-line identity where we're harder to play against and spend more time in the other team's end."

[RELATED: Kevin Labanc focused on future during turnaround]

The Hurricanes visit SAP Center with a 6-1-0 overall record on the season and are undefeated through three road contests.

San Jose went 1-0-1 against Carolina last season, tallying their solo win at home 5-1. The Sharks are 20-17-0-3 all-time through 40 games against the Hurricanes.

Sharks' Kevin Labanc focused on future as team continues turnaround

Sharks' Kevin Labanc focused on future as team continues turnaround

SAN JOSE - Like with just about every other player on the Sharks, Kevin Labanc's game is doing an about-face after a rocky start to the 2019-20 season. 

But even with two goals scored in the last two games, there's still another level that Labanc thinks his game can get to. And the best way for him to do that is to keep his focus on the future.

"I think my game's found itself a little bit," Labanc told NBC Sports California. "Last game, I think I definitely could've played better. But it's a learning curve. You just have to bring it every single game and worry about this upcoming game."

That's a pretty on-brand self-assessment from the 23-year-old winger. He isn't one to make excuses or brush off when he doesn't well. He even made fun of himself last year when asked why he's regularly the player that bench boss Peter DeBoer sends to the penalty box to serve the too-many-men penalty. 

But Labanc also isn't one to dwell on his mishaps for too long, which is an important quality for one of the young players San Jose is leaning on to make a jump this season and take on more responsibility. 

"You want to stay in the moment as much as you can in this business," Labanc continued. "If you start worrying about how good or bad you were the game before, it won't help your situation in the present. I'm just focused on tonight, making sure I go out there and do my job and that I can be good on all ends of the rink."

Doing a good job on both ends of the ice is an aspect of Labanc's game that DeBoer wants to see more of. While getting on the scoreboard is important, there are other areas that need to follow suit.

"For me, I measure his game on a lot more than just the production, but obviously that is something that we are counting on," the head coach explained. "I talked to him -- two games ago I thought he was our best player on the ice, in Chicago. Last game, I know he scored but he and I talked (because) I didn't think he had a great game."

This isn't to say DeBoer is completely dissatisfied with where Labanc's game is at right at this early point in the season. "I think, like all goal-scorers, he's a little streaky," DeBoer said. "He's a young guy. He came (into camp) in great shape, I think he's moving well. And he's a product a little bit of our start as a team."

[RELATED: Sharks historically far more successful when scoring first]

For the Sharks as a whole, putting that rough start to the season in the rearview mirror is important with the tough competition they have coming up on their schedule. San Jose closes out a three-game homestand by hosting the Carolina Hurricanes and the Buffalo Sabres -- two squads who are dominating the Eastern Conference at this early point in the season. As happy as San Jose might be with how they played over their last couple of games, the focus has to remain on what's ahead of them.

"We're all feeling really good, but it's still a long season though and there are just so many games," Labanc said. "You can't worry about your past success. You have to worry about your future."