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Midweek Mailbag: Marleau’s future, Sharks bench bosses, and John Leonard’s fan club

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We just started the club, but we’re gonna make jackets.

Feb 1, 2020; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing Patrick Marleau (12) during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at SAP Center at San Jose. Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, folks, it’s been a minute since we chatted. I asked for your questions, Sharks hockey or not, and here’s what you came up with.

Let’s just dive right in, yeah?

Oh man. So first of all, if you don’t know, I have a wall of hats. They’re mostly snapbacks, with a few dad caps and trucker hats, too. I always get one when I go to a new arena, but a lot of them have come to me in other ways, with their own stories and reasons for being on my wall.

This is definitely my most unique and on-brand hat:

As far a favorite, though? Man. This floral Lakers one is pretty good. There’s also an old Kalamazoo Wings IHL hat and Toledo Goaldiggers hat you can see in this photo and I love them both very dearly. And I mean, come on.

They’re all good hats, Kendra.

I refuse to let another white boy from the USHL who took the NCAA route break my heart.

[sees John Leonard scored 27 goals in 33 games last year]

Excuse me, I have to go gather my hopes and dreams, I have another white boy from the USHL who took the NCAA route to hang them on.

I don’t hate it. I think that’s probably the best solution on keeping the room happy, especially considering the turnover in every part of the locker room over the last few seasons. It certainly would help the “re-tool” vibe that Doug Wilson is going for, promoting in-house.

But it’s not my favorite solution. I think adding Erik Karlsson was a big move that this organization is still grappling with and part of that is hanging on to too many ideas about the way things are “supposed” to be done or the way they’ve always been done before. I want someone creative behind the bench, someone who is used to having elite defenders lead the club, because when Ryan Merkley is calling San Jose home, I can tell you that they’re going to want that kind of system in place.

That said, I’m not as well versed in who’s available in the coaching world, given how many leagues that spans and the fact that it’d be for naught. The NHL is satisfied by shuffling the same 30 coaches around the league.

Fuck it, bring Ken Hitchcock out of retirement again.

This is really hard to answer in that there are so many ways the league could potentially return and some of them may not see the Sharks playing anymore hockey this season, which is really doing us a favor.

Let’s say they return, though. It’ll probably be the healthiest the Sharks have looked in months. Keeping that in mind, I’m likely putting Couture on PP1 to start, but might try Thornton if we’re still easing Logan back in.

I hope not.

I want to say that I think Patrick Marleau is done. That’s not to say that he couldn’t get a contract in San Jose (and in fact, at the deadline Pierre LeBrun of the Athletic tweeted that both Marleau and Thornton would be welcomed back in free agency), but after the rigamarole of last season that ended with him in Pittsburgh and the world subsequently imploding, I’m not sure I see the benefit on his end to not just retire at this point.

Or if he really can’t stay away, wait it out until the last minute to sign and still be eligible for playoffs if the Sharks are in better shape by that time next season. Get Patty his cup, for sure, but watching him on the Sharks for another 82-game season is just gonna make me sad, I think.

First of all, please check in with the rest of us in the comments, because I haven’t heard direct updates from our readers in awhile. I hope you’re all staying safe and sane, given the circumstances. If you’re struggling, let us know how we can help.

As for me personally, I’m getting better. If you don’t know, during this season pause, we lost my Grandma Morley. It hasn’t been easy to grieve in a world where we never got to see her when she fell ill and we can’t have a funeral for months, if at all. So that’s been a struggle.

But my birthday was last week and my sister drove to the grocery store when she knew I was there to drop off a Dairy Queen Blizzard for me in the parking lot, letting me see my niece for the first time in a few weeks through a car window. When I got home, my villagers in Animal Crossing threw me a surprise birthday party in my favorite villager’s home.

I cried a lot on my birthday, okay.