Auston Matthews

How Patrick Marleau's kids helped form Mitch Marner-Auston Matthews bromance

How Patrick Marleau's kids helped form Mitch Marner-Auston Matthews bromance

Patrick Marleau, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner aren’t just close friends -- they’re family.

The tight-knit group detailed what started their friendship during a recent interview with Sportsnet.

Marleau had been a member of the Sharks for 20 years and was joined by his sons who crashed the interview. One of them was even sporting a Sharks shirt which is even more adorable after Marleau had been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the deadline. The kids ended up being more of the subject as to why Marner formed such a close bond with the Marleau fam.

Marner detailed that he and Matthews would play Mini Sticks for hours with Marleau’s kids. This would go on long enough where they would have to change into another pair of clothes due to the amount of sweat that would produce.

“I think that’s just kind of where the relationship started,” Marner said. “When we started going over there -- just kind of feeling we’re a part of the family."

Matthews mirrored those sentiments.

“Yeah, I’d say it evolved pretty quickly after that,” he explained. “He had us over, and obviously the boys are a blast to hang out with -- I think they like hanging out with us -- always had a good time, Mini Sticks got intense … “

The mini-stick battle had been detailed by Marleau’s wife, Christina, with an adorable photo of the three hockey players and the mini-Marleau’s.

From the 2017-19 seasons, Marleau was with the Toronto Maple Leafs where this bromance began and stayed.

When Matthews was participating in the NHL Accuracy Shooting event during the 2019 All-Star festivities, he unveiled a Marleau jersey underneath the Leafs uniform he was sporting -- in front of the San Jose crowd.

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Amazing. 

But Marleau has said that despite the trio being family, he respects them when they face one another after the puck drops. 

That doesn’t appear to change the way they feel about one another. 

Remembering how Sharks' Tomas Hertl brought the fun as a 19-year-old

Remembering how Sharks' Tomas Hertl brought the fun as a 19-year-old

It feels like years, but it's barely been a month since Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk went in between his legs for a highlight-reel goal against the Sharks back on Feb. 10. It was so spectacular, even the San Jose broadcasters couldn't help but be in awe. Of course, it wasn't the first time they had seen something like that.

It would have been difficult for Sharks forward Tomas Hertl to get off to a better start to his NHL career than he did as a rookie during the 2013-14 season. In the first game of the season, he got the primary assist on San Jose's first goal of the campaign. Two nights later, he notched the first two goals of his career. Three points in your first two games? Pretty good.

He wasn't done. Hertl more than doubled his career point total in the next game alone.

Not one. Not two. Not three. Four. Four goals in his third career NHL game. And Hertl saved the best for last.

Already with a hat-trick, Hertl received a pass at the New York Rangers' blue line and entered the offensive zone at a high rate of speed. Without slowing down, he deftly maneuvered the puck in between his legs just before roofing it into the top of the net to give San Jose an 8-2 lead in the third period. Rangers backup goaltender Martin Biron didn't know what hit him.

With his fourth goal of the night, Hertl became the youngest NHL player (19 years, 330 days old) to record a four-goal game since Jimmy Carson (19 years, 254 days old) did it during the 1987-88 season. Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews have since accomplished the feat at a younger age.

Still, not bad for a 19-year-old, right?

Hertl has scored 126 additional goals since his coming-out-party that night against the Rangers, but never once has he tallied four in a single game. Multiple knee surgeries have slowed him down, but they've never diminished the personality of a player who once famously said, "Fun must be always."

As we all know, this is not a fun time right now. The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is being felt all around the globe, including the sports world. With the NHL season indefinitely paused, Hertl and the Sharks don't have any upcoming games in which they can generate joy for their fans. So, we're going to make it work another way.

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At 8 p.m. tonight, Hertl's four-goal game will be shown in its entirety on NBC Sports California. The Sharks ultimately won 9-2, so there will be plenty of opportunities for Sharks fans to jump out of their seats.

In these trying and unprecedented times, there isn't a better Sharks player to focus on than Hertl. We might not be able to have fun "always" right now, but at the very least, we can tonight.

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in exciting 5-2 win over Maple Leafs

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AP

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in exciting 5-2 win over Maple Leafs

BOX SCORE

In a thoroughly entertaining, back-and-forth game, the Sharks continued their recent stretch of strong play with a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night at SAP Center. Stefan Noesen scored the game-winner early in the third period and Martin Jones made several incredible saves in net to preserve the victory.

Against the uber-talented Maple Leafs, San Jose got contributions from throughout its lineup, with the first and fourth lines each scoring multiple goals. Evander Kane was flying all night long, and added two more goals to his team-leading total.

Jones got his third consecutive start in goal, and rewarded interim coach Bob Boughner with a highlight-reel performance that included a number of jaw-dropping saves. With the win, the Sharks are now halfway through an undefeated six-game homestand.

Here are three takeaways from San Jose's second straight win over an Eastern Conference contender:

Talent mismatch 

The Sharks had the higher quantity of goals in the game, but the talent mismatch between the two teams was evident in how the Maple Leafs scored theirs. Toronto has quite a stable of extremely talented forwards, and they left their mark on the night.

San Jose took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but that was erased when Auston Matthews scored his 46th goal of the season, which ranks as the second most in the NHL. Tuesday marked Matthews' seventh career game against the Sharks, and the San Ramon native has now accounted for eight goals in those contests, including at least one in each game.

Later in the second frame, Matthews was one-upped by his linemate Mitch Marner, who went between the legs for a goal that you'll be seeing on all the highlight shows for plenty of time to come.

Toronto certainly had the quality. San Jose had the advantage where it mattered, though.

Quite a response

Just over a minute after Matthews tied things up, the Sharks went back in front thanks to Antti Suomela's first goal of the season. 

It was exactly the kind of response that had been lacking throughout much of San Jose's struggles this season. All night long, the Sharks kept the pressure on, and didn't allow Toronto to carry the play for many extended stretches.

With the score tied entering the third, the game was hanging in the balance -- temporarily, that is. Suomela got the only assist on Noesen's game-winning goal less than six minutes into the frame, and 50 seconds later, Kane doubled San Jose's advantage. From that point on, whenever Toronto threatened, Jones had an answer.

The Maple Leafs are fighting for playoff positioning. The Sharks aren't. You wouldn't have been able to tell by the fight San Jose showed Tuesday night.

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Ample motivation

While the Sharks' three-game winning streak is admittedly a small sample size, it's certainly better than the alternative. San Jose could have thrown in the towel and given up on the season a while ago -- and at times, it looked like the team might have done so -- but based on the last week, it's abundantly clear the Sharks are taking this opportunity seriously, even if it's not the one they hoped to have.

Suomela's performance was the latest example of some of San Jose's younger forwards showing signs of life. Jones has been on quite a roll, and Tuesday might have been his most promising showcase yet. For those who next season isn't enough of a motivating factor, playing the role of spoiler appears to be doing the trick.

There are 16 games remaining on the Sharks' regular-season schedule. They're not going to the playoffs, but they still have plenty left to play for.