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Are the San Jose Sharks headed toward chaos again?
@ESPN_Burnside: Hey, remember when we were falling all over ourselves after the Sharks got off to that sparkling 4-0 start? "They're back," we thought. Or not. The Sharks are 3-8 since, including Wednesday's 4-2 loss at home to the New York Islanders. Netminder Martin Jones barely had enough time to work up a sweat, getting yanked after allowing two goals on three shots in the first 3:30. It was the second time in three games Jones got the hook. Not that Alex Stalock was much better in relief, allowing a brutal long shot to elude him to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead. I read recently that fans' long-standing love affair with the Sharks is waning, with nightly sellouts a thing of the past. If things don't get better sooner rather than later, that's not going to change. The good thing for the Sharks is they play in the Pacific Division -- the ugliest division in hockey so far -- and all is not lost. The Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames both lost Wednesday, too, proving that you can still stay in the hunt even when you stink.
@Real_ESPNLeBrun: And now the Sharks have the distraction of Patrick Marleau possibly waiving his no-trade clause dominating their news cycle. I'm told the longtime Shark got his nose a bit out of joint after not getting a letter on his sweater for this season, which has led to the discontent fueling the trade speculation. Marleau has a full no-move clause and is in full control of his destiny. His list of teams would not be a long one, and it wouldn't surprise me if it included one or both of the other California teams. Marleau has this year and next left on his deal, which carries a $6.67-million cap hit, so I'm not sure how many teams would want that money tied up in an aging player who was not good last season. Still, Marleau was with Team Canada for the 2014 Olympics and played well there, and he remains a great skater. Where does this all end? Stay tuned.
@CraigCustance: Pierre, this Marleau story has some legs. Last night, CSN's Kevin Kurz reported that Marleau would accept a trade to the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers. That report is accurate with the small caveat from a source that those three are Marleau's preferences. It's not an iron-clad three-team list. So it's possible another team emerges into the conversation. I'm diving into this topic on the blog but it sure seems like a longshot that Doug Wilson would trade one of his best players to a division rival like the Ducks or Kings. Plus, how in the world would the Kings squeeze him into the salary cap anyways? The Ducks make sense in terms of cap space and need but I have a hard time believing that Wilson would want to aid the very team they might be competing with for one of the final playoff spots in the West. The bottom line is that Marleau controls this process but if he truly wants out, there might have to be a little more flexibility.
@DownGoesBrown: The Sharks had better hope Marleau is willing to be flexible on that list, because as it stands now they're in a terrible position if they do need to move him. A deal with the Kings or Ducks would be hard to swallow, for the reasons you guys point out, which leaves New York driving the bus. Can GM Doug Wilson really squeeze a decent trade package out of the Rangers if they know they're the only team in the running for a star forward? Maybe he should call Steve Yzerman for some tips on how to pull that off.
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