"Ha, Marleau is awkwa- holyhellwhatisupwiththatotherguy???"
I feel bad for Patrick Marleau. I really do. Sure, he's the single most awkward person that ever lived (there was a time in 1998 where he wasn't awkward for about 30 seconds but then he called a black man "brotha" and it returned) and he plays for the single most awkward franchise in the NHL, but still, I feel bad for him. I get the feeling Patrick Marleau always wanted to be like, a dentist when he was growing up. I can imagine him growing up with a little chair that his friends would get into, and then he would say, "You, sir, have a root canal!" and then grab his little plastic tools and pretend to fix it. His parents would laugh and then tell Patrick that it was time for hockey practice, and he would go and do really well, but the whole time he would be thinking about molars and incisors and someday having a nice little office in Swift Current and he how he could join the local Kiwanis club and maybe someday even become president of the club. But he kept playing hockey, and getting better, so eventually the whole becoming a dentist thing fell by the wayside; but he'll still offer to pull teammate's teeth when they're injured and joke with the team dentist about canines and the dentist will say, "Boy, you sure know a lot about teeth!" with a mix of humor and concern. Yeah, I can see that happening.
I have big eyebrows and I do the same thing Marleau does, where I try to raise them up in a bemused fashion when I take a picture. It works about as well for me as it does for him.
The point is, I feel bad for Patrick Marleau. Sure, he may not be the best leader (although he's been a captain for every team he's played for and none of us have ever seen him in the locker room with his teammates) and he doesn't get along with his coaches (although if you had to guess which person is an asshole between Marleau and Ron Wilson I think you'd probably pick Wilson), but he probably doesn't deserve to get shit on as much as he does. Maybe it's because he was drafted 2nd overall by the Sharks and they expect him to be an Iginla or a Lecavalier, and he just isn't that type of player or that type of person. He's in a gray area with Mike Cammalleri and Marian Hossa, where he's not quite good enough to be a franchise player but he's too good to simply be a cog in the machine. He was 11th in the league in goals last year but I think most people wouldn't even think to mention him if they were talking about the 50 best players in the game. But he's good. Really good. There was a game last year against the Kings where the Kings were on the power play and a forward passed the puck back to Drew Doughty and Doughty mishandled it for a split second, just a split second, and Marleau jumped on him and boom! he was gone. He took the puck down the ice and deked Jonathan Quick for a goal. It was beautiful.
Maybe Marleau does need to go to a new team where he could just be a good hockey player. One where he wouldn't be "Patrick Marleau, Cornerstone" but instead be "Patrick Marleau, Guy on Team." All I'm saying is, I feel bad for him. He's not the most underrated player in the league but he is definitely the most underappreciated. He's kind of like the quiet smart kid in class, the one that doesn't always raise his hand, but when he does he's always right, until one time he was wrong and everyone jeered him for it. I want to tell him, "Hey, keep it up big guy," and then he'll awkwardly say thanks before accidentally poking himself in the eye while trying to put on sunglasses.
Also: imagine him dancing. You laughed, right? I did too.