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

Friday, 04.12.2013 / 2:04 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Radio, Play-by-Play 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.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
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