Tag: Owen Nolan

Joe Thornton

Fanspeak: Joe Thornton voted greatest Shark in franchise history


This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

San Jose Sharks

1. Joe Thornton — 477 votes

2. Patrick Marleau — 475 votes

3. Owen Nolan — 352 votes

4. Other — 395 votes

Quite the close vote we had here and just think, both of these guys were supposed to be ticketed out of town this summer! But seriously, are there two players more emblematic of the Sharks than Thornton and Marleau? Not a chance, and Thornton is the best of the bunch.

Thornton’s arrival to town via a lopsided deal with the Boston Bruins that only cost the Sharks Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart, and Wayne Primeau netted them an instant MVP winner and one of the best set-up men in the game. After nine seasons in San Jose, he has 740 points in 675 games with 567 of those points coming from assists.

Seeing Thornton come out on top of this vote may surprise some Sharks faithful given that Marleau has been a lifer in a Sharks uniform and leads the franchise’s all-time list in games played, goals, and points. But it’s Thornton who drives the bus (for now) as the team captain. The fact he was given the “C” after it was taken from Marleau is still a touchy matter among some fans, but there’s been no doubt he’s the leader since he’s had it.

Now if they can just get to the Stanley Cup Final, maybe they become immortals in San Jose.

Owen Nolan calls Sharks loss ‘disheartening’

Dan Boyle, Brad Stuart, Justin Braun

Former San Jose Sharks great Owen Nolan was recently inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. After eight seasons with the Sharks, he’s a guy who has strong ties to the team and community. He’s also a guy with opinions.

As Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News shares in an interview with Nolan, he’s feeling down about seeing the Sharks lose in seven games to the Los Angeles Kings, especially after holding a 3-0 lead.

I am surprised. I really thought this year we were going to make a really solid run at it, especially when they get up three-games-to-none. To lose four straight, it was disheartening,” Nolan said. “Everybody will have their opinion. Nobody really knows what went wrong except for inside the organization.”

Hearing a Sharks alum like Nolan call their latest playoff departure “disheartening” is like hearing it from a disappointed parent.

You know Nolan loves the team and wants to see the best for them (he was team captain for a bit) but coming up short when they were so close to finishing it off and moving on hits him right in the emotional wheelhouse.

For the record, Nolan knew a thing or two about coming up big in a big spot for the Sharks. Just ask Roman Turek…

Owen Nolan retires a San Jose Shark

Owen Nolan Sharks

After 18 seasons and 1200 games played, Owen Nolan has retired in teal.

The gritty 39-year-old power forward signed a one-day contract with San Jose on Tuesday, followed by a press conference announcing his retirement and celebrating his career:

San Jose made the playoffs in five of Nolan’s eight seasons in the Bay Area, including a huge upset of the Presidents Trophy-winning St. Louis Blues in 2000. He ranks second on the franchise leaderboard in goals (206) and power-play goals (75) and third in assists (245) and points (451).

The press conference was a who’s who of former and current franchise greats. Four of San Jose’s eight captains — Nolan, Doug Wilson, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thorton — were in attendance, along with a number of Nolan’s ex-teammates, including Dave Lowry, Mike Ricci and Jarome Iginla (the two won gold together for Team Canada at the 2002 Winter Olympics.)

An emotional Nolan choked back tears while addressing the audience, thanking his friends, family, teammates, the San Jose organization and all the Sharks supporters.

“To all the fans, without you guys there are no sports,” Nolan said. “Thank you very much.”

Owen Nolan to formally retire Tuesday in San Jose?

Owen Nolan

This just in from the San Jose Sharks:

WHAT: Former Sharks captain Owen Nolan will make an announcement regarding the future of his hockey career.

WHEN: Tues., Feb. 7, at 2:30 p.m. (PDT)

WHERE: The Grill at HP Pavilion

WHO: Owen Nolan, Doug Wilson, and “special guests”

And why? The Sharks didn’t include that part, but the speculation is Nolan will formally retire.

The 39-year-old hasn’t played in the NHL since 2010. He tried out with the Canucks in the fall, but was released.

Nolan was selected first overall in 1990 by the Quebec Nordiques. He spent eight seasons with the Sharks from 1995 to 2003, scoring 206 goals and 245 assists (not including the playoffs).

Owen Nolan faces long odds as he tries to find a spot on the Canucks

Canucks Oilers Hockey

It’s tough enough for a 39-year-old veteran to make it in the NHL—let alone one coming off of a season in Switzerland that is forced to make an NHL team on a tryout. That’s exactly the challenge Owen Nolan is facing during training camp this season. After playing in 1200 NHL regular season games and netting 422 career goals, Nolan is being asked to prove his worth before the Canucks are willing to make any commitment.

Alain Vigneault has been happy with Nolan’s play throughout training camp and pleased once again during the Canucks 4-3 loss to the Sharks on Sunday night. The first overall pick in the 1990 draft could hypothetically bring an element to the defending Western Conference champs that they could use—a gritty, talented body to put in front of the net.

Of course, there’s a reason that he’s been out of the league for a season. In a league where players can’t lose a step—he’s lost two. Throughout his two decade long NHL career, he’s never been able to play a full 82 game season. It’s hard to believe that a body that has been through so many wars would magically find health as he approaches his 40th birthday. Playing Nolan’s style of game for twenty years is much different than a guy like Mark Recchi playing twenty years of his particular style. Endurance and durability are questions that Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault have thought about:

“Can the body hold up the pace and can his body sustain it on a consistent basis? You have to be able to practise and play to maintain a high tempo. He’s playing today. Is he going to be able to practise tomorrow? That’s part of the body being able to hold up at that age. He’s been able to follow the pace and has brought the skill he might still have — those hands are still there — and he goes to the net hard.

“That power forward type of player, if we could add it to our group, we would.”

The former Sharks captain understands the questions surround his worth, but he’s not ready to hand ‘em up quite yet. Most successful veterans acknowledge that the passion to play the game is almost as important as skill they near retirement. Nolan explains that the fire burns just as bright as ever:

“I know I’m not 20, but the willingness to compete and still do that is there and playing physical has been part of my career and I’m not going to stop. Sometimes you lose a step, but the longer you play the smarter you get. You learn to read certain situations and how to react to them so you don’t get caught out of position.”

Nolan has played for six NHL organizations throughout his lengthy NHL career. If he wants to add the Vancouver Canucks to the list that already includes the Nordiques/Avalanche, Sharks, Maple Leafs, Coyotes, Flames, and Wild, he’ll need the Vancouver organization to value his experience and leadership as much as his play on the ice. There are younger players signed who are itching for an opportunity to play energy roles on the Canucks this season. Players like Cody Hodgson, Mark Mancari, Marco Sturm, and Victor Oreskovich who are all battling to solidify their roles on the team.

Would the Canucks be willing to look past players who are younger, faster, or more physically imposing for a man in the twilight of his career? Thus far in training camp, he certainly hasn’t embarrassed himself throughout his try-out. But has he done enough to make the team?

Update: Minutes after we posted this article, reports surfaced that the Canucks have released Owen Nolan from his professional tryout. Impeccable timing as usual…