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Patrick Marleau in First Fight Since 2007 – The Jeremy Roenick Effect?

The Sharks got whooped 7-3 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals Wednesday night in Vancouver. When it wasn’t Canucks fans flashing the opposing players in the penalty box, it was Kevin Bieksa and Patrick Marleau throwing down to provide the entertainment. The decision for Marleau to fight was a strange one — it was his first since 2007, and it was against a more physical opponent in Bieksa. Marleau predictably got worked in the fight. Here’s the video:

Some Sharks players ripped on Bieksa for picking on a guy like Marleau, but if anyone is in the wrong it’s Marleau. Marleau’s the one who initiated the fight, asking Bieksa if he wanted to drop gloves in the second period. The fight kept Marleau out of the game for the next five minutes, and Vancouver outscored San Jose 4-1 after the fight.

What’s sad about this whole thing is that Marleau may be listening too much to media criticism. Analyst and former Shark Jeremy Roenick ripped him after Game 5 against the Red Wings, saying he was gutless and had no heart. Marleau responded with the winning goal in Game 7 against Detroit, and a goal each of the Canucks games. But he took himself out of Game 2 by getting into a fight when he shouldn’t have, and one has to wonder if this is all a response to Jeremy Roenick. If it is, that’s sad, and Marleau should just stick to what he does best — playing hockey. Leave the fighting to everyone else.

Jeremy Roenick Praises Patrick Marleau After Game 7, Says He Gave ‘Tough Love’

The San Jose Sharks avoided the embarrassment of becoming the fourth NHL team in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to blow a 3-0 lead by defeating the Red Wings 3-2 in Game 7. Patrick Marleau, who failed to record a point the first six games of the series, scored the game-winning goal in the third period. Marleau was able to shut up his critics with the most important goal of the series, the loudest of whom was Jeremy Roenick.

Following San Jose’s Game 5 loss, Versus analyst and former San Jose Sharks player Jeremy Roenick ripped Marleau on air calling him heartless and gutless. Roenick received a tremendous amount of backlash from folks in San Jose, and you could tell he was feeling badly for his comments. During the first intermission, Roenick seemed to go out of his way to praise Marleau. Then after the game, following Marleau’s game-winner, he was asked if he wanted to apologize to Marleau. Here’s what he said:

Attributing comments to “tough love” is the classic line writers and broadcasters can use to defend their outlandish behavior. We saw Bill Plaschke use the same excuse when he wrote a pathetic column on Lamar Odom during the Hornets series. While nobody will accuse Roenick of being loyal to San Jose, I never thought his analysis was off. It may have been disloyal and unpopular, but that doesn’t mean it was inaccurate. There was no reason for him to apologize, and as much as I dislike Roenick, he handled the situation just fine. And you know what Sharks fans? If you’re upset about the analysis, be proud that the team one. Maybe the criticism is what Marleau needed to bring out his best game.

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Video: Jeremy Roenick Calls Patrick Marleau’s Performance ‘Gutless’

For the second year in a row, analyst Jeremy Roenick has criticized San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau during the playoffs. Last year, Roenick criticized Marleau for not hitting anybody. This time he said something similar, criticizing Marleau for being gutless and having no heart:

Marleau has not scored a point in San Jose’s series against Detroit, one the Sharks lead 3-2. Worse yet, he was embarrassed by Pavel Datsyuk who stole the puck from him and assisted on a goal that gave the Red Wings a 4-3 lead Sunday. Still, Marleau is one of San Jose’s top players having scored 73 points during the regular season. He may not be doing anything against Detroit and he needs to help them close things out.

The question is whether Roenick’s criticism was unfair. Look, I can’t stand Roenick from his playing days, but I think he was giving his honest opinion as a good analyst should. Was it accurate? Was it harsh? Those are debatable points and matters of opinion. You can also question Roenick’s loyalty considering the two were once teammates. To the Sharks fans offended by the analysis, I’ll say this: just hope Marleau uses it as motivation to prove him wrong. If Marleau has a good Game 6, it may have been the best thing for San Jose.

Stick tap to Puck Daddy for the video and background