SAN JOSE — Perhaps it’s somewhat fitting that Patrick Marleau will reach another milestone and play in his 1,700th NHL game on the same night that Joe Pavelski makes his initial return to SAP Center on Saturday as a member of the Dallas Stars.
After all, Marleau was in Pavelski’s position a little more than two years ago when he returned to San Jose as an opposing player for the first time after a long career with the Sharks.
After he signed a three-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 2, 2017, Marleau, who played his first 19 NHL seasons with the Sharks, first returned to San Jose in October of that year. Pavelski spent his first 13 NHL seasons with the Sharks before he signed with the Stars on July 1 of last year.
Marleau still remembers the extended ovation he received from the fans and the special pregame introduction the Sharks gave him on his return to the Tank.
“It was incredible. The fans were incredible,” Marleau said. “I’ll never forget that for sure. It was a great moment.
“It was pretty weird all game, but you try and do your best to get through it and just play.”
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Pavelski will get the same extended pregame recognition Saturday night, and said he’ll likely feel the same emotions.
“That’s one of the most exciting parts about (Saturday), is just getting out there in front of the fans,” Pavelski said. “It was an awesome run. Always loved skating out of the Shark head. You loved scoring goals in the playoffs. Every year, those are some of the best games you can play in as a player.”
Pavelski talked with Marleau about what it might be like to leave the Sharks organization before he signed with the Stars. Without the contract offer he was looking for from the Sharks, Pavelski began to talk with other teams a week before free agency began before signing with Dallas.
“He was someone that told me it’s going to take you a little bit longer that you think to get adjusted,” Pavelski said of Marleau. “But it didn’t make it easier for me, one way or the other, any advice. It was just the way it happened at the end of the year.
“You think it’s gong to be easy, but this is a place where you know tendencies of teammates and the comfort levels. I think we’re starting to get that in Dallas as well.”
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Pavelski said the hockey part of the transition has been easy. The more challenging part at first for he and his wife, Sarah, and their young son, Nate, has been getting used to a different part of the country.
“It was just a change,” Pavelski said. “There’s still moments where Nate would want to be here. But he’s found some awesome friends and I’m pretty excited for him. It’s been fun to watch him …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports