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.
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…
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.”