Marleau emerges in
By Karl Samuelson | NHL.com correspondent
Jan. 25, 2006
The NHL has many good players, all of whom possess the requisite skill, talent and character to play the world's fastest game. But within the mass of 600 players spread over 30 franchises stands a distinctive group, a small number of individuals who have been accorded the honor of team captain, and it is to them the other players look for leadership.
A captain must lead the team both on and off the ice. He must be someone who cares about the players, is aware of their problems and can keep the group together, not only in good times, but more importantly when times get tough, and that happens every year with every team.
Some are more effective than others by virtue of a predisposition, a presence and an unparalleled work ethic. The San Jose Sharks saw those qualities in Patrick Marleau when they named him team captain on Jan. 5, 2004, following a rotating captaincy during the first half of the season. Marleau wears the "C" with pride and stands out for his ability to lead by example and master the events around him.
"Patty is one of our best conditioned athletes and leads by example," says San Jose Executive Vice-President and General Manager Doug Wilson. "He is a big man at 220 pounds, so he expresses himself on the ice in many different ways. Patty is now in his eighth year in the League. He is a veteran who is just coming into his prime. He will be his own man, but I think you'll see him relate to the leadership styles of players like Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman."
Sakic's approach to being team captain is simple, yet effective.
"Anybody who is a captain feels honored to have the 'C' on his sweater," says the only captain in the history of the Colorado Avalanche. "There are different types of captains, everybody has their own qualities. For me, it is to lead by example on and off the ice and do whatever I can to help the team win."
Sakic is similar to Yzerman in that both are hockey icons who exercise their leadership without a lot of fuss.
"Joe is more like Yzerman than anybody else," says Hall of Famer Michel Goulet, the special assistant to the president of the Avalanche. "He is a pretty quiet guy, but Joe speaks his mind too. Off the ice, he is one of the most well-conditioned players on our team. He works hard on his conditioning all year round. Still, he is very concerned about what he can do on the ice and that's the way he leads the team."
Like the two future Hall of Famers, Marleau is a quintessential quiet leader who will never ask a teammate to do something that he won't do himself and Marleau will do anything to win -- set up plays, score timely goals, win critical faceoffs and make big hits. The 26-year old native of Aneroid, Saskatchewan is maturing into the type of leader that his size, skill and personality destined him to become when he was named the Sharks' first choice (2nd overall) in the 1997 Entry Draft. The young veteran already has five 20+ goal seasons to his credit, including back-to-back team leading 28-goal campaigns.
"I definitely want to build on that," says Marleau. "You always want to be the best you can and I definitely want to have a breakout season and help the team win. Even when you're not scoring you have to do something to help the team, whether that's defensively or playing specialty teams, you have to do the things that benefits the team."
The new rules and up-tempo style of play evident this season will only benefit the emerging star.
"That's a fair comment," agrees Wilson. "This style of hockey will be great for him. We play a speed and puck-possession style of game and that fits Patty really well. I don't compare it to how we used to play, it's just a different time and place with different rules. But this style frees him up a little more offensively and creatively with how the game is played today and how we play in particular."
Marleau's serious approach to the game and enormous skill level is no mystery to hockey people outside the Sharks organization. Selected as a member of Canada's championship team at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the silver medal-winning team at the 2005 World Championships.
"The value of being around players at the World Cup and Olympic training camps helps him tremendously," says Wilson. "Just seeing how other people lead is so important. It was a tremendous experience for Patty being around great players and he didn't play as much as he wanted, but he was there. He trained hard. The response I got from Wayne Gretzky and Kevin Lowe was Patty was a great teammate and he learned from those experiences. The next time those teams line up he wants to be on the ice."
Getting ample ice time is not an issue for Marleau with the Sharks. The high-powered center is called upon in all key situations. His tremendous speed and soft hands make him one of the most dangerous players in the league. Like Yzerman and Sakic, the Sharks' marquee player steps up his game when his team needs it the most -- in the clutch.
"He is very strong in the clutch," concludes Wilson. "People don't realize that the last couple of years Patty had better playoff numbers than Vincent Lecavalier. (Marleau -- 14 goals and 23 points in 29 games; Lecavalier -- 12 goals and 22 points in 34 games) We look at our people performing the best when it matters the most and I truly believe that Patty should be considered one of the top players in the League. He is in that top level now and I honestly think that he's going to get to another level."
Just one quote from Patty. That's more like it. :P
fetisha, I need your mailing address. Email it to me at my LJ address? :)
[Edit: Oh! And I found a nice thingie about comics in a book about blood:
Their unique dynamism, I've learned, hinges on a device that's crucial to this art form: the blank space between panels--the gutter, it's called. Much happens in these narrow strips of nothing. There, your mind takes two scenes and bridges them, filling in the elements that are not drawn or lettered. A fist is thrown in one panel; the villain careens backward in the next; but you envision the wallop. The moment of impact and the crunch of cartilage are you creations, as is the breadth of emotion. An eerie calm can stretch as long as you decide. This involvement turns you from a mere reader of the comic book into a collaborator, a member of the creative team that makes the story work.]