Why Jeremy Roenick thinks Patrick Marleau 'deserves' Sharks return

Why Jeremy Roenick thinks Patrick Marleau 'deserves' Sharks return

Patrick Marleau and Jeremy Roenick go way back, and not in a chummy way. 

The recently re-signed Shark and the current NBC Sports analyst played together for two seasons in San Jose from 2007 through 2009. After Roenick retired, he -- among other things -- called Marleau "gutless" after failing to score in the first five games of a playoff series in 2011, labeled Marleau as one of five players he "hated" during his career in his 2012 memoir, said Marleau was not "one of the (Sharks) locker-room favorites" in 2016 and predicted that Marleau would not score "20-30" goals in his first season with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2017.

But Roenick struck a different tone in an interview with NBC Sports California, saying that Marleau "is not only a fan favorite, but will be a player favorite."

"I think it's a class move by (general manager) Doug Wilson, bringing Patrick back," Roenick said in an interview that will air Thursday on "Sharks Pregame Live" on NBC Sports California. "Not only that, nobody wants to see a Hall of Fame career go out the window without a proper ending ... and Patrick Marleau deserves that, and deserves to do that in the city that, really, he built. I think it's a great play all the way around, and hopefully Patrick can still play at a high level, can still score some goals and help this team."

In particular, Roenick thinks the Sharks will benefit from Marleau's experience. San Jose has three rookies and seven players younger than 25 years old on its roster, and Roenick thinks the team's young players will benefit from Marleau's mentorship. 

Roenick said the Sharks' 0-4-0 start -- their first since 1993-94 -- gave Wilson an opportunity to "shake up the locker room." The losses on the ice necessitated changes, but so did San Jose's losses off of it during the offseason. 

Former captain Joe Pavelski signed with the Dallas Stars on the first day of free agency, and the Sharks were forced to let him walk thanks to their salary-cap situation. Pavelski was the team's leading scorer a year ago, but Roenick said the void he left behind in the locker room can't be overstated. 

“Look what they gave up in Joe Pavelski," Roenick said. "They gave up a 30-goal scorer -- at one time 40-goal scorer. They gave up the captain of their team. That’s the guy everybody looks to. He’s the heart and soul of the team. And they gave up probably one of the nicest guys in the NHL. He’s a guy everybody liked. He’s respectful, soft-spoken but still knows when to say something. And he’s been there his whole career. ... It's very, very difficult to replace [what the Sharks lost in Pavelski] overnight."

[RELATED: Is Marleau signing just start of Sharks moves?]

Marleau scored 16 goals in 2018-19, his fewest in an 82-game season since 1999-00 and 22 fewer than Pavelski scored a year ago. The 40-year-old can't be expected to replace Pavelski's lost production, but Roenick thinks his former teammate can be a steadying force in the Sharks' locker room.

Time apparently does heal all wounds. 

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in lackluster 5-1 loss vs. Panthers


Sharks takeaways: What we learned in lackluster 5-1 loss vs. Panthers


The Sharks needed a big turnaround on Sunday afternoon after suffering a 7-1 loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning the night before, but they didn't come close.

San Jose played better on the back end of a back-to-back, but the Florida Panthers had all the answers. In the end, the Sharks dropped their fourth game in a row, this time by a score of 5-1. 

Here are three takeaways from Sunday's game:

A goalie made the difference -- again

While Martin Jones didn't get pulled from Sunday's game like he was in Team Teal's loss to the Lighting, he still provided a mixed performance. He made a few saves to take some momentum away from the Panthers' offense, but he also gave up an early power-play goal and let two shots from the blue line find the back of the net. While he didn't receive much support from the defense early on, he still needed to buckle down more later in the game when San Jose was battling to put more points on the board.

The Sharks' offense did try to make up for the damage on the scoreboard and got some really good offensive-zone time as the game went on. Unfortunately for San Jose, Sergei Bobrovsky was in fine form and had an answer for most of the best chances.

Can't blame Kane 

The NHL says they're taking hits to the head more seriously. So it's a mystery as to why Mackenzie Weeger's hit on Evander Kane at the start of the second period didn't at least draw a penalty. Although Kane only left the ice for a quick moment and then returned to the bench, you can't blame him for standing up to Weeger on his next shift to defend himself. With Kane leaving the ice afterward with 17 minutes worth of penalties, Florida created momentum from a power-play opportunity, as the Panthers scored their third goal at even strength almost immediately afterward.

Credit should go to the Sharks for not letting the incident ruin their flow. Even though the altercation led to Kane being penalized for the rest of the period, San Jose continued to build momentum in an effort to even up the score. It's just unfortunate the Sharks couldn't get at least one goal to show for that effort.

[RELATED: Sharks' Simek to miss two weeks for minor knee procedure]

Special teams still struggling 

Yes, San Jose scored a power-play goal in the first period, the team's first in more than 20 attempts on the man advantage over a nine-game span. However, the Sharks were unable to capitalize at the beginning of the third period when they got some extended power-play time and could have trimmed the deficit to one. 

San Jose's No. 1-ranked penalty kill struggled as well, surrendering two goals to the Panthers. Whatever is ailing the Sharks' special teams, they'll have to fix if they want to get back into the win column.

Sharks' Radim Simek to miss about two weeks for minor knee procedure


Sharks' Radim Simek to miss about two weeks for minor knee procedure

The Sharks have dealt with their fair share of knee issues over the last few seasons, and they're going to have to work through another one over the next few weeks.

Defenseman Radim Simek will miss about two weeks as he needs to undergo a procedure on his surgically repaired right knee, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told reporters in Tampa on Sunday before San Jose's game against the Lightning. 

Simek tore his ACL and MCL in March, and had surgery soon after. He initially was projected to rejoin the team at the start of the season, but Simek didn't return to game action until Nov. 5. In 16 games this season, Simek has scored four points (one goal, three assists) and posted a minus-12.

[RELATED: Sharks lament 'poor, poor effort' late in loss to Lightning]

Despite those pedestrian numbers, Simek's presence in the Sharks lineup makes a big difference. San Jose is 4-10-1 when Simek has not played this season and 11-4-1 with him in the lineup.

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said Tim Heed would play in Simek's place Sunday. Although Heed has played well in his last couple of games, it's still possible Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson will play more and share Simek's responsibilities, much like they did at the start of the season when Simek initially was out.