SAN JOSE -- Now that it’s been revealed the Sharks will employ four rotating alternate captains, including two guys that lost letters in August, it’s fair to question if anything was accomplished by the removal of those letters in the first place.
Asked just that, Patrick Marleau could only shrug his shoulders at first. Eventually, though, he indicated that as a group, the Sharks are more on the same page than they were at the end of last season.
Put another way, perhaps the Sharks now feel more like teammates instead of co-workers, to flip around a phrase used by general manager Doug Wilson that was repeated in the media ad nauseam this offseason.
“As a team, I think everybody has taken more ownership of the group,” Marleau said. “To a man, everybody is more involved in the decision-making, and things like that. I guess that’s one thing we’ve talked about as a group.”
How does that help?
“The main thing is everybody has a voice and has to use it. They’ve got to feel comfortable using it.”
At the same time, Marleau indicated that he thinks the team would have found a new approach regardless of the way team brass handled the captaincy situation. After the debacle in last year’s playoffs, things would have changed.
“I think it probably would have happened anyway,” Marleau said.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Pavelski are the new guys in the leadership group with Marleau and Joe Thornton, after it was thought that one of them, or forward Logan Couture, could emerge as the new captain. Couture was curiously left out of the leadership group, for now.
A captain could still be named at some point this season, depending on how it progresses. That’s not important in the short term, though, according to Vlasic.
“There are other teams that didn’t have one in the past,” Vlasic said. “It’s been done.”
The key to making this all work won’t fall on the shoulders of four players. Everyone will have a role.
“There are four guys with letters, but there are others guys as well that are leaders,” Vlasic said. “The thing that came out of this was, we’ve got a lot of leaders on this team.”
Thornton said: “Everybody is going to have to be a leader on this team, and I think that’s the point that’s been given.”