Sharks

Why Patrick Marleau reunion with Sharks actually wouldn't be good idea

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USATSI

Why Patrick Marleau reunion with Sharks actually wouldn't be good idea

It's the rumor built to pull at every Sharks fans' heartstrings: Patrick Marleau wants to return to San Jose.

The franchise's longest-tenured player and current Maple Leaf has been the subject of trade talk as Toronto battles to get far enough under the salary cap to sign young gun Mitch Marner to a new contract. Marleau, who is entering the final season of a three-year deal, reportedly put his Toronto home on the market and is ready to part ways with the Leafs.

There's one big catch, though: Marleau reportedly only will OK a move if it's back to the Sharks, the team with which he played for nearly two decades.

Of course, this would thrill Sharks fans. But the team isn't rolling out a red carpet for Marleau, and it shouldn't. In fact, bringing Marleau back wouldn't be in the Sharks' best interest. Fans might not want to hear it, but a Marleau-Sharks reunion isn't a good idea.

For starters, a team building for another run at the Stanley Cup shouldn't take on a player who's coming off a down season. Even though Marleau remains the Sharks' all-time leader in points and goals, he just finished a 37-point campaign, his only sub-40-point season since he was a rookie. By comparison, Joonas Donskoi also is coming off a 37-point season, and he was benched toward the end of the regular season for not producing.

Given the Sharks' biggest problem at the end of their playoff run was lack of production from their depth forwards, it wouldn't make sense to add a player who's on the decline.

Yes, even one as well-liked as Marleau.

Then there's the whole mess of how the Sharks would get Marleau back in San Jose in the first place. As SportsNet's Nick Kypreos reported Tuesday, a third team probably would have to acquire Marleau and buy out the rest of his contract so the Sharks could sign him at a price with which they are comfortable.

Keep in mind, the Sharks still have plenty of other contracts they need to settle ahead of free agency, and they're sitting pretty snug under the salary cap after making Erik Karlsson the NHL's highest-paid defenseman. If the Sharks want to keep Joe Pavelski from hitting the market or Timo Meier from becoming a restricted free agent -- just to name two of San Jose's 21-player list of free agents -- then adding more money to the mix would prevent them from doing that.

If anything, trying to bring Marleau back only would make San Jose's current situation worse.

At the end of the day, a team can't be sentimental when it comes to the business of hockey. If the Sharks were, they wouldn't have traded Justin Braun to the Flyers on Tuesday in order to free up cap space.

[RELATED: Jumbo says he'll return for another season, maybe more]

Marleau remains a fan favorite in San Jose, but that doesn't mean the Sharks should bring him back. Their goal remains to win a Stanley Cup, and this isn't a move that would position them to do that.

So until the day Marleau signs a one-day contract and retires in teal, a reunion probably isn't a great idea for the Sharks.

Red Wings hilariously troll Logan Couture on Pavel Datsyuk's birthday

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AP

Red Wings hilariously troll Logan Couture on Pavel Datsyuk's birthday

Pavel Datsyuk's birthday might not be a day that Sharks center Logan Couture circles on his calendar every year, but he was reminded Saturday.

In honor of "The Magic Man" turning 41, the Detroit Red Wings' Twitter account posted a GIF of Couture falling victim to Datsyukian dangle. Couture, understandably, was none too pleased. 

To make matters worse -- or at least more ironic -- for Couture, the GIF in question came on his 24th birthday. The Sharks hosted Datsyuk's Red Wings on March 28, 2013, back in Detroit's last season in the Western Conference and just two years after San Jose eliminated the Winged Wheel in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second straight season.

The Red Wings were in the Western Conference for the first four years of Couture's career, and he played more regular-season and playoff games against Detroit (24) during that span than any team other than the Los Angeles Kings (30). Couture credited those matchups for helping him develop in a piece for The Players' Tribune in 2015, and called Datsyuk's deke "an example that my teammates will probably never let me live down." 

"Thankfully, I’m far from the only one to be victimized by Pavel," Couture wrote at the time. "He has the best hands in the NHL. One little trick he likes to do is stick-handle between a player’s tripod — between their feet and stick. He’ll even use the net as a prop to make you look dumb."

[RELATED: Why DeBoer credits Thornton for Sharks' historic Game 7 power play]

Datsyuk retired from the NHL three years ago to return to his native Russia, and signed with hometown Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL this summer. There were rumors of him considering an NHL return, but Couture won't have to worry about Datsyuk's stickhandling much moving forward. 

Well, at least until the next time someone digs up the clip. 

Why Peter DeBoer credits Joe Thornton in Sharks' wild Vegas comeback

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AP

Why Peter DeBoer credits Joe Thornton in Sharks' wild Vegas comeback

In the aftermath of the Sharks' improbable -- if controversial -- Stanley Cup playoff comeback against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 7 of the first round, San Jose coach Peter DeBoer credited veteran center Joe Thornton for speaking up in the immediate aftermath of then-captain Joe Pavelski's head injury. 

Earlier this week, San Jose's bench boss revealed that the 40-year-old did so at the expense of his own playing time. DeBoer told The Athletic's Craig Custance at a presentation during the Hockey Coaches Conference in Toronto this week that, when the Sharks scored their third goal on the contentious major penalty back on April 23, Thornton said DeBoer shouldn't put the veteran's power-play unit on the ice. 

Kevin Labanc scored the Sharks' fourth goal -- and his fourth point -- of the power play 28 seconds after Couture tied the game 3-3. San Jose scored two goals within 1:04 of the major penalty being called, with forwards Couture, Labanc, Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl joined on the ice by defenseman Erik Karlsson. Thornton, Evander Kane, Gustav Nyquist and Marcus Sorensen took the ice with defenseman Brent Burns after the first two goals, but the Golden Knights held the second unit to two shots on goal and no goals for nearly two minutes of power-play time. 

Couture tied Game 7 with about 1:20 remaining on the power play, scoring the top power-play unit's third goal on their fifth shot attempt. On their sixth, Labanc gave the Sharks the lead. 

[RELATED: Sharks prospect Chekhovich has skill to earn NHL spot]

They still needed overtime to advance to the second round, but riding their hot hands resulted in an historic power play for the Sharks. According to DeBoer, he can thank Thornton for that.