Scott Hannan

Patrick Marleau reflects on Sharks return during drive to SAP Center

Patrick Marleau reflects on Sharks return during drive to SAP Center

Patrick Marleau is back where he always wanted to be.

The Sharks icon signed a contract to return to his first franchise on Oct. 8, and the reunion has been nothing but magical in the three games since.

In his first game back with the team, Marleau scored two goals to help the Sharks beat Chicago for their first win of the season.

But then things got really emotional when Marleau played in front of Sharks fans for the first time on Sunday against Calgary. During a video tribute in the first period, Marleau could be seen wiping away tears. It was one of those moments that gave everyone chills.

"When you're not in a training camp, don't have a team and you're seeing everybody's playing, you're anxious, you're excited to get back out there and play," Marleau told NBC Sports California analyst Scott Hannan during an exclusive interview earlier this week. "For me to be able to put on the Sharks jersey again ... as silly as it sounds, to go out of the Shark head, to slip the jersey on and go out the Shark head, I don't think there's anything better than that. To do it in front of the fans here that are so passionate, it's truly amazing."

Marleau and Hannan jumped into the 40-year-old's Mercedes SUV and drove from his home to SAP Center in San Jose before Wednesday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Along the way, they spoke about the feeling of returning to the Sharks.

Just like Marleau, Hannan started his career with San Jose and then returned at the end of career for one last stint.

"To play in a place for so long, and then to be able to to come back and hopefully finish it here where it all started would be ideal for myself and for my family," Marleau said. "This is where we're going to live when I'm done and retired. This is where the family is. Where our heart is. Where our home is. It's great that I was able to come back here and play here once again."

[RELATED: How Marleau has filled a void]

The full ride-along interview between Marleau and Hannan can be seen during Sharks Pregame Live at 7 p.m. PT on Saturday. Marleau and the Sharks go for their fourth straight win as they host the Buffalo Sabres, the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Patrick Marleau depended on Scott Hannan to prepare for Sharks return

Patrick Marleau depended on Scott Hannan to prepare for Sharks return

Patrick Marleau had a storybook beginning to his second go-around with the Sharks.

Two days after signing his contract, he scored two goals in his first game back with the franchise to help San Jose earn its first win of the season Thursday night in Chicago. The last NHL game Marleau had played in prior to that was last April, with no training camp to speak of in between.

So, when he got the call from general manager Doug Wilson, he had to snap into action. Marleau revealed following Thursday's win that there were places he had to get to, but not before getting one last tune-up in. So, naturally, he turned to an old friend for assistance, who he later credited with helping him get prepared.

NBC Sports California's Scott Hannan spent the first eight and final three seasons of his NHL career with the Sharks, all of which included Marleau as a teammate. So, when his longtime friend needed an on-ice partner, Hannan came through in the clutch.

"I think he gives me a little too much credit out there," Hannan said modestly after the Sharks' 5-4 victory. "I've skated with Patty a couple times. Once the [training] camps started, he was finding ice on his own, so it's always good to get another guy out there. 

"I was able to pass him some pucks, feed him some stuff, so I will take a little bit of credit," he continued. "We were working a lot the other day on our tipped shots -- our high tips, our low tips and coming out in the slot -- I don't know if that paid the big dividend."

A quick glance at Marleau's first goal against the Blackhawks would lead one to believe the tipping practice did pay off, as he deflected an Erik Karlsson shot past Chicago's goalkeeper from -- of course -- the slot.

"The game he had tonight was awesome," Hannan said of his former teammate. "Seeing him score two goals, to see that from a guy that I've -- I mean, we've known each other forever. So to see him have that experience out there on the ice was awesome."

As thrilled as Hannan was to have watched Marleau be so successful in his first game back with the Sharks, it's not like he didn't see it coming.

"To be honest, no, I wasn't surprised," Hannan explained. "Knowing Patty for as long as I've known him, it can almost sometimes pay dividends to miss a camp. He's a consummate professional. He kept himself in great shape. He skates so well out there, so you could throw him out there on any team and he's gonna look good. 

"I thought his timing might have been a little off," Hannan admitted, "but obviously not with the way he played tonight. He was a force out there on the backcheck, forecheck, got a couple goals ... I hope we can keep it up."

[RELATED: Sharks elated but not surprised about Marleau's debut]

Marleau has been back for one game, and suddenly, the Sharks are no longer winless. Coincidence?

"I think they play with more confidence," Hannan said of the effect Marleau has on the Sharks' locker room. "They played good in Nashville. They had some moments there and they found a way to lose, whereas tonight they found a way to win." 

San Jose will put the Marleau luck charm to the test next against the Flames in what will be his second-ever home debut as a member of the Sharks.

"On Sunday, I think they're going to be able to feed off that crowd," Hannan predicted. "Patty's going to bring a lot of energy as far as the feelings he's going to have. They have to harness those and put them in the right direction and get a win against Calgary on Sunday."

It would be unreasonable to expect Marleau to score another two goals against the Flames. But you should bring some earplugs just in case.