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Sharks coach says playoff letdowns will motivate Thornton, Marleau

Jan 24, 2014, 4:54 PM EDT

Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Jonas Hiller AP

Sharks coach Todd McLellan isn’t worried that Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will lose their motivation now that they’ve signed three-year contract extensions, which will guarantee the pair of 34-year-old forwards a healthy paycheck through the 2016-17 season.

“They haven’t won a Stanley Cup. They haven’t been in the finals,” McLellan said today, per CSN Bay Area. “If that’s not motivating enough… I look at some of the guys like Ray Bourque and Dave Andreychuk, and, in my own experience, Dallas Drake, that played for a number of years. The hunger grows as you get older because your opportunity for success is shorter”

That lack of playoff success remains the big knock on both players. Marleau was drafted by the Sharks in 1997; Thornton was traded to San Jose during the 2005-06 season. Together, they’ve been to the Western Conference finals twice, falling to Chicago and Vancouver in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

It won’t be easy to get out of the West this year either. In fact, this may be the toughest test yet for San Jose. If the playoffs started today, the Sharks would face the Kings in the first round. Beat L.A. and they could easily get the Ducks next. Beat Anaheim and it could be the Blackhawks or Blues after that.

  1. purpleguy - Jan 24, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    Past losses shouldn’t be needed for motivation; otherwise, Edmonton would be headed for a Stanley Cup this year.

    • polegojim - Jan 24, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      That is EXCELLENT logic Mr. Purple.

      I do respect that Todd is trying to motivate his vets to avoid another perennial Sharks choke.

      They’ve had the talent for many seasons… but will they have the heart and health to complete one season as the last team standing in 2014???

  2. flash8910 - Jan 24, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    This is beyond laughable. So they didn’t have this motivation until now?!?!

  3. bencia823 - Jan 24, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    For those of you who didn’t read the article: Mcclellan’s point is that they won’t be less motivated now that they have a big contract. Some players begin to tank after recieving a big deal

  4. nogoodtomedead - Jan 24, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    Ahhh- a thread just made for people to call Joe, Patty, and the Sharks playoff chokers!

    Can’t deny they haven’t gotten over the hump- but it isn’t because these guys are the problem. They both have had under-whelming series here and there over the years- but its bound to happen when you go to the playoffs every year. The bigger issue in years past has been running into hot goalies who steal a series, no production beyond the scoring lines, and playing teams who were just plain better (It happens- its the playoffs!)

    Regardless of what people will say I’m glad they are back- especially on team friendly deals. Thornton and Marleau (and I bet Boyle re-signs too) will be there to support Couture, Pavs, Burns and Vlasic. And with the cap rising the Sharks will have space to tinker if they need. I’m sure there are fans of about 25 teams out there that would trade their team’s situation for the Sharks in a second.

    • 19wasthebest - Jan 24, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      Going to the playoffs year in and year out has nothing to do with it. They used to say the same things about the Wings. It has to do with leadership and heart. Quit making excuses!

    • 19wasthebest - Jan 24, 2014 at 8:11 PM

      Also Thornton is nothing but a PUNK. Get him frustrated is all you have to do then he starts being a goon and that makes it worse for his TEAM.

      • sjsharks66 - Jan 24, 2014 at 8:47 PM

        I cannot wrap my head around how idiotic you sound. Obviously you have never really watched the Sharks play. Give me a couple examples of how Jumbo turns into a “goon”? Leave out the incident with Detroit in the playoffs a few years ago.

        As for making excuses, I believe he said the Sharks run into hot goalies and better teams? Sorry, how is that an excuse? It has to do with leadership and heart? Yeah, but last time I checked teams do not win the cup just because their captain is playing well. It is a team effort and Thornton and Marleau take all the criticism because of who they are. I think Pavs should have been called out last year against the Kings. When he missed an entirely empty net to tie game 7. Alas, the blame came back to how Thornton is a terrible leader.

      • gp424 - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:56 PM


        Right out of the Sharks PR department. Don’t blame the teams highest paid players, don’t blame those who have been in the longest, blame just plain bad luck???LOL. It’s just bad luck that Joe is -21 in the playoffs, which puts him 578 of 579 of every current player who has played in the playoffs. And lets not blame Patsy Marleau, Mr golly gee, a minus -11 ranking 545 of current NHL players. Poor little Patsy never gets a single break, its always someone elses fault. I am surprised you haven’t blamed the fans yet. I mean we have the greatest GM ever, the Greatest Coach ever, and two of the Greatest players ever according to you. But we still cannot even get to the Cup Finals Series, let alone win a Conference Championship. Poor Patsy and Joe, its just pure hot goaltending, bad calls, someone dropped a stick, a puck it a bad bump on the ice yeah it happens every single year. And the PR Department is great at making excuses for the teams failure.

    • gp424 - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      And I bet Joe and Pasty will continue their playoff failure, both planning on landing in the #1 and #2 of most games played by an NHL without ever winning a Stanley Cup. Right now Patsy is #2 all time on the list for most games played without ever winning a Conference championship. But I am so glad we will continue to do the same thing. And who knows using what Sharks66 says maybe we will get a lucky break every single series, because with all these great players and a great coach we still need some “Luck” to win. LOL!!

      • sjsharks66 - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:46 PM

        You should probably just stop being a Sharks fan. Nothing more really to say to all of that. Maybe you can jump on the Blackhawks or even better the Ducks bandwagon. They are doing mighty well this year. As for me, Im standing behind my team. Win or lose, even if Patty and Jumbo do not bring a cup to San Jose.

      • gp424 - Jan 25, 2014 at 12:16 AM

        Like I said sjshark66 right out of the PR book. If you don’t like what we do, go away. Not happening I know sjsharks66 the pr department loves to spread lies and half truths but the bottom line is that both Pasty and Joe resigned here because they know they would have it easy. Fans who adore them regardless of whether the team wins or losses. Fans who are soft and think winning is a nasty word. A local media with no clue about hockey, and too busy worrying about being allowed in the press box at home games.

        66, what will be the PR departments excuse be this year? Hot goalie, bad call by referee, hot goal scorer, lucky break, Havlat was injured again what will it be? And then you will come out and say, it was a great season, we won nothing and can hang up no banners but I am happy because I get to talk to sleepy Joe and Lazy Patsy at the local Starbucks, and Patty even smiles at you.

  5. jpat2424 - Jan 24, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    Never gonna happen

  6. ihtfp13 - Jan 25, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    Wow. Sjsharks66 taking a serious beating. Time to turtle.

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