Dan's Thought of the Day - 4/12/2013

Friday, 04.12.2013 / 11:04 AM PT
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / Great White Bites
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Dan\'s Thought of the Day - 4\/12\/2013

Here are two sidebars from last night’s great Sharks win against the Detroit Red Wings that continued the tremendous history in the series between the two clubs. Both have a somewhat predictive quality, and one is illustrative of what hockey is all about.

If you listen to the “Coach’s Chalkboard” segment with Todd McLellan on KFOX 98.5/102.1 and the San Jose Sharks Radio Network affiliate stations near you, you usually get a gem or two from the leader behind the bench. Here is a modest case in point from last night’s game:

McLellan was showing some concern about the previous loss in Columbus, but he saw the Detroit game as a chance to squash the poor memory of that disappointment. “Our opportunity that lies in front of us is a good one,” he said on the radio. “There are some key people on our team that have to play a certain way and play well to lead and we expect everyone else to follow. Now, they can’t do that every night – it’s not humanly possible – so when they’re not doing it, others have to pick up the slack. But the key people right now are our leaders and they have to get things done.”

It was a bit of a message to the likes of Patrick Marleau, who had 0 goals in his previous 7 games and just 1 in his last 11; to Joe Thornton, who played a Sharks-career-low 10:30 in Columbus, and who had 0 points in his previous 3 games; to Martin Havlat, who had 1 goal in his previous 8 contests; to Logan Couture, who had 0 goals in 4 and 1 goal in his last 10 games; and to Antti Niemi, who had allowed 4 goals in each of his previous 2 starts.

Everyone played better, and the Sharks won in the shootout, 3-2, capturing the season series with the Red Wings with a 2-0-1 record. But as I pondered the greatness of the resolve and the win, I flashed back to a heartwarming moment that I witnessed in the morning.

The Sharks were heading out to morning practice, and as is the custom, a few folks were waiting to secure a handshake, a photo, or an autograph from them. As is usually the case, there were a few folks who I call “professional autograph seekers,” who are usually pretty recognizable.

But on this particular morning in Detroit, there was a young boy standing quietly, with his mother by his side. This Motor City youngster was wearing a Sharks jersey with the number 12, and the nameplate “MARLEAU” on his back. He wasn’t a professional autograph seeker. He was a Patrick Marleau fan who wanted a moment with his favorite player.

Patrick spotted his young fan, and stopped for a moment to sign the jersey and pose for a picture before departing for practice. As he walked away, I saw a look of sheer joy on the boy’s face, which was punctuated when he turned around and high-fived with his mother in celebration of the moment. “Patrick is going to have a good game for this kid,” I found myself thinking.

Well, we all know what happened next. Marleau scored a brilliant shorthanded goal in the first period, and scored another magnificent goal in the shootout that decided the game. Something tells me that his young fan in Detroit was high-fiving a lot of people last night, whether he was at Joe Louis Arena, watching on TV, or listening on the radio.

I love stories like that.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 37 33 12 70
L. Couture 82 27 40 -6 67
J. Thornton 78 16 49 -4 65
B. Burns 82 17 43 -9 60
P. Marleau 82 19 38 -17 57
T. Wingels 75 15 21 -7 36
T. Hertl 82 13 18 -5 31
M. Nieto 72 10 17 -12 27
M. Karlsson 53 13 11 -3 24
M. Vlasic 70 9 14 12 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 31 23 7 .914 2.59
A. Stalock 8 9 2 .902 2.62
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