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Marleau in a familiar position

by Dhiren Mahiban /
VANCOUVER -- Whether it was during the Olympics or in past playoffs, San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau is used to fending off criticism. The latest such episode came in the second round of these playoffs, when Versus analyst Jeremy Roenick -- a former teammate of Marleau's -- called him "gutless" after Game 6.

The Aneroid, Saskatoon native had no points through the first six games of the Sharks' series against the Detroit Red Wings and five points in six games in San Jose's Round 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Kings.

At 31 years of age, Marleau doesn't let the negativity affect him.

"You just put that out of your mind and worry about what I can control on the ice and my focus for the game – help out my teammates," he said Monday afternoon after the Sharks held an optional skate at Rogers Arena. "I'm not really concerned with what (Roenick) says – I just try to control what I can control."

Since Roenick's comments, Marleau picked up the game-winner in the Sharks' 3-2 Game 7 win against the Wings, and gave San Jose a brief 2-1 lead in Game 1 on Sunday night.

Throughout his 13-year career, all with the Sharks, Marleau has dealt with criticism – something he says is tiring.

"It just comes up every so often, you got to deal with it, kind of like a hurdle or a challenge in a way – I don't know if it's warranted or not warranted, but it is what it is."

Marleau, who played his junior hockey 140 miles south of Vancouver with the Seattle Thunderbirds, says he got support from friends, family and other players after the latest round of criticism.

"There's been guys in the room, but there's a lot of people on the outside who gave me calls or texts and lot of support from a lot of friends and family," he said. "They were just play your game don't worry about anything else – that's what I've been trying to do."

Canucks center Maxim Lapierre, who also has faced his share of criticism over the years, doesn't understand why Marleau is so often targeted.

"I think people are pretty tough on him, he's a good player, a good guy. I mean, I got a lot of respect for that guy," Lapierre said. "He's working hard out there, he's got a lot of skill and it's tough to understand why people are acting that way with him.

"I mean the guy is not lazy. He's working hard, he's doing everything on the ice. I don't know why people are doing that."

Marleau's teammates know the criticism doesn't affect him.

"It's tough, but at the same time, I know the type of person Patrick is, he doesn't let any of that affect him. He comes into the rink he goes about his business everyday, he works hard, he's a great leader and a great teammate," said rookie forward Logan Couture. "I respect him so much. I hear it, everyone else hears it, but he doesn't let it affect him."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan hopes Marleau's two goals in two games sparks one of his patented scoring streaks.

"Our use of him, his amount of ice time is a direct reflection of how much we believe in him and how much his teammates believe in him," McLellan said. "Again last night, he found away to get on the scoreboard – he's a streaky scorer, which is a good time for us right now. If he can put a 3-, 4- or 5-game streak together, it certainly would be in our benefit."
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