Home » More & Less Hockey » Patrick Marleau: still smokin’

Patrick Marleau: still smokin’

(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, January 26, 2013)

With tedious regularity, Patrick Marleau scores two goals. Of course it’s not tedious at all, it’s a beautiful thing. Someone should write a song about it.

He scores two goals in Alberta,
And two in the next game.
He scores two goals before he scores two goals,
And then…*

Well, we’re not to game five yet.  But he’s already done something that hasn’t been done in nearly 100 years:

@SharksStats: “Patrick Marleau 2nd player in NHL history to begin a season with 4 multi-goal games (Cy Denneny, 1917-18 Ottawa Senators). #Elias”

They say variety is the spice of life.  Maybe that’s why Todd McLellan decided to put Greiss in net, try Scott Gomez out on the fourth line, and move Andrew Desjardins to the wing.  I mean, he had to do something to help Sharks fans tell the difference between games.  Yes, yes, there’s a need to try the new guy and with back to backs obviously the Sharks would put the backup against the Avalanche instead of the Canucks.  You don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, but in a compressed season, obviously better to get everyone going as soon as possible.

Matt Irwin’s first NHL goal put the Sharks up 4-0.  Jon Allred shared some background on that:

@Jon_Allred: “YES MATT IRWIN! Watched him do that all the time with the #WorSharks. From on top of the left face off circle is his sweet spot. #SJSharks”

I may be ignoring Joe Thornton’s goal, the third of the game, but he’s the NHL points leader and all that, so it’s hard to keep track.  At least he had the lead until Marleau took it away from him today.  Still, here’s something nice about Jumbo:

@SharksStats: With his two points today, Joe Thornton moved into 57th on the all-time list with 1,089. He passed Theoren Fleury.

It seems like Pavelski is due, even if McLellan’s stated intention is to get some points from the lower six.  It just feels out of balance with two guys on the top line getting all the glory.

I love to watch Thomas Greiss play. I like to call his style “elegant.”  It might sound like a frivolous term to use but there’s some practical value there. If a goalie keeps his back more straight than hunched over, and shoulders back instead of rolled in, he’ll be wider and taller. That means he blocks more space as well as having good posture.  Assuming he’s comfortable like that, his center of balance puts him in a better position to move quickly.  You don’t have to know anything about goaltending to know this is true. It’s just the way the human body works.  Doesn’t matter if you’re skating, dancing, or doing martial arts.

Of course, several goalies break those rules and do very well. It’s still more pleasant to watch an elegant goalie at work.  Today, Greiss got his first NHL shutout and looked good doing it.

The Avs changed goalies for the third period but it didn’t really seem like Varlamov’s fault the Sharks were up 4-0.  The Sharks didn’t score on Giguere but they did demonstrate why they scored so often on Varly. They never let up, made the Avs look like they need to check their alignment or work on their brakes.  Much was made of the fact that the Avs had a good start in the first period, despite Marleau’s early two goals.  But they only outshot the Sharks 8-7 in the first.  By the end of the game the shots were 43-24 for the Sharks.  The game never looked especially balanced, the Sharks did not back off even with the lead.

Also, the Sharks’ penalty kill got the job done.  That is a very good thing.  They seem to be getting more comfortable with an aggressive approach.

This is surreal. It’s early yet, but this is the team I knew the Sharks could be.

___________________________________________________

*Apologies to the straight-edge kids who might not know that song.

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