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Sharks forward Marleau on verge of 1,000 points

by Eric Gilmore /

SAN JOSE -- Patrick Marleau has spent much of his 18-season career with the San Jose Sharks rewriting their record book.

Marleau has played more games (1,341), scored more goals (459), scored more game-winning goals (88) and amassed more points (996) for the Sharks than any player.

Now Marleau is closing in on another milestone: He needs four points to become the first player with 1,000 for the Sharks.

"As a kid, you grow up, you want to be one of those players," Marleau said. "You dream about doing things like that. So it's nice to be able to say that you're one of those guys."

In the history of the NHL, 82 players have reached 1,000 points, including San Jose forward Joe Thornton, who spent eight seasons with the Boston Bruins.

"It's very, very rare to get 1,000 itself," Thornton said. "And then to have it with one club, it's extremely rare. Can't wait for him to get it."

San Jose chose Marleau with the No. 2 pick in the 1997 NHL Draft, coincidentally, one spot after the Bruins took Thornton. Marleau had 13 goals and 32 points in 74 games in 1997-98 as an 18-year-old rookie.

"That is rarefied air," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said of 1,000 points. "I mean, he's truly one of the great players in this game. That type of accomplishment is done by a lot of things. One, being a great player. Being a great professional. Training hard. Loving the game. I think it's an incredible accomplishment. And to do it with one team is extremely special.

"You look at everything he's accomplished. It's not just the 1,000 points. You look at some of the other stats that he's accomplished in this game. He's got two Olympic gold medals. Patrick Marleau is a very special player and special person. I've been very fortunate to have him as a member of the Sharks organization."

Marleau has three goals and eight points in 12 games this season.

"I've been fortunate in my short NHL coaching career," first-year Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "I've got a chance to coach Jaromir Jagr, [Martin] Brodeur, Patrik Elias, Marleau, Thornton. Those guys are special players. They're special athletes to be able to do it as long as they have and still at the high level that they play at. And for him to be able to do it with one team, that is very rare. That's not common anymore, and I don't know if you'll see that going forward with this next generation of players."

Marleau has spent half his life with the Sharks and is entrenched in the San Jose area. He met his wife in the Bay Area, and they have four sons, ages 9, 6, 4, and 11 months. His two older sons play hockey for area youth teams.

"It's pretty crazy, but I'm pretty fortunate to stay in one spot, put those roots down in the community," Marleau said. "We've had some success here, obviously, over the years with some really good teams. We're still searching for that one year (to win the Stanley Cup).

"I had a couple chances to leave but I've always believed in the players in the room. You get some pretty tight bonds with the other guys in the room when you play with them for a while. You want to help each other succeed."

Marleau and the Sharks are on a quest to win their first Stanley Cup.

"That's what I've worked my whole life for. The one last thing to top it all off, to be able to win one," he said.

Marleau turned 36 on Sept. 15, an age when most players start considering retirement. Not Marleau, who hasn't missed a game since the 2008-09 season.

"I'm going to play as long as I feel good and can contribute," Marleau said. "I don't like putting limits on things."

He came into the NHL with sprinter's speed and remains the Sharks' fastest skater 18 years later.

"I can't believe the level and the speed he still plays at," DeBoer said. "It's amazing to me."

Marleau played 82 games last season but had some injuries and finished with 19 goals and 57 points. They were his lowest totals in those categories in a full season since 2007-08. The Sharks missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season for the first time since 2003, and Marleau used the extended offseason to get healthy.

"I feel great," he said. "With the longer offseason I feel the best I've felt in a long time. I'm really excited about this year."

Marleau's teammates are excited to watch him make more Sharks and NHL history.

"The organization, the team, the city, obviously he's been here through a lot of it," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. "He's played a huge part in our team and even in my career growing up. He was one of my first linemates. So it's fun to see him kind of persevere, play through everything that he's been through and perform well."

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