Marleau back with winless Sharks as Blackhawks await

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The San Jose Sharks are dipping into their past to try to avoid the worst start in franchise history.

The Sharks (0-4-0) signed 40-year-old forward Patrick Marleau, the team’s career leader in games played (1,493), goals (508) and points (1,082), to a one-year contract Tuesday. Marleau could see action Thursday night when the Sharks will be in Chicago for the Blackhawks’ home opener.

“We look forward to Patrick joining us,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. “We stay very committed to what we started the year with, which is integrating all of the young players into the organization. But there’s realities that you have to deal with — such as suspensions or injuries that we’ve run into a myriad of.

“This is an opportunity to add a veteran into our group to give us some veteran depth, that’s versatile, understands how we play and is very accepting of the role that head coach Pete DeBoer may need on different nights.”

Marleau spent the first 19 seasons of his NHL career with the Sharks, who drafted him second overall in 1997 — one spot behind longtime teammate Joe Thornton.

Marleau left the Sharks as an unrestricted free agent two years ago, signing a three-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was traded to Carolina this summer and the Hurricanes bought out the final year of his contract.

Wilson said Marleau’s agent, Pat Brisson, had been in frequent contact.

“The one thing that Pat Brisson had asked and requested of me was to keep them in the loop,” Wilson said, “that if at any point I was going to add a veteran that Patrick would be one that would be considered. For a lot of reasons, obviously he would be at the top of the list for our relationship with him, how we play and the fact he skated with most of our guys all summer. That’s what has led us to this decision.”

The Sharks could use all the help they can get. They’ve been outscored 17-5, which includes a 5-2 defeat Tuesday at Nashville. The Sharks also began the 1993-94 season with four straight defeats en route to an 0-8-1 start.

“It’s the goals-against that are killing us,” said Sharks forward Evander Kane, who returned Tuesday after serving a three-game suspension for physical abuse of officials in a preseason contest. “You look at the goals we’re giving up, we go three or four shifts in a row in their end, got all the momentum, we’re dominating the game, and then we want to get cute and give up 2-on-1s, and they’re putting them in the back of the net. And then we give up another 2-on-1, (and it’s) in the back of the net. They’re just blatant giveaways. We’ve got to figure out how we want to play.”

The Blackhawks (0-1-0) are opening a seven-game homestand after beginning the season in Europe, where they suffered a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers last Friday in Prague, Czech Republic.

Chicago forward Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists in the loss.

“I think there’s always things to improve upon,” Kane told “For some reason every year it takes me a little bit to get into the game. Whatever the numbers were (in the opener), I still think I have more to give to the team and can create more and have the puck a little bit more out there too, so just keep building here.”

Goaltender Robin Lehner, a Vezina Trophy finalist last season with the New York Islanders, might make his Blackhawks debut against San Jose.

–Field Level Media

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