Patrick Marleau Is Back Where He Belongs

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Patrick Marleau (No. 12). Photo by Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Marleau (No. 12). Photo by Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

It always had to come back to San Jose. Patrick Marleau spent the first 19 seasons of his NHL career with the Sharks and now the veteran forward returns for a third and likely final stint with the franchise.

As a team, the stakes are low – San Jose is in a rebuilding trough right now – but for the individual, history is on the horizon: Marleau is just 45 games shy of breaking Gordie Howe’s record for games played in the NHL, a mark that currently stands at 1,767. While Marleau has spent the past couple of seasons chasing that elusive Stanley Cup (first with Toronto, then with Pittsburgh), now he returns home to Northern California to cement a legacy that is sterling, with or without a championship.