It's not too far fetched to favourably compare the careers of Ottawa Senator Daniel Alfredsson and San Jose Shark Patrick Marleau.
Both came into the league within 3 years of each other and both have played with only one team in that span, becoming captains and offensive leaders on their clubs. Daniel Alfredsson's career totals are more impressive than Marleau's but considering their respective ages, they will probably end up within 100 points of each other when the crying's all over.
Unfortunately for Marleau, he hasn't crossed that invisible threshold from great player to indispensable franchise player the way that Alfredsson did back in 2007 during the Senators brilliant run to the Stanley Cup final.
Both captains received eerily similar criticism after each playoff failure, with people questioning their aggressiveness both on the ice and in the locker room. Alfie won over his doubters but Marleau is still a work-in-progress.
And now the knives have come out.
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan has announced that Marleau is no longer the captain of the team after yet another disappointing playoff exit by the polite lads in teal.
Who knows? If Alfredsson and the Senators weren't able to turn their 2007 season around after a near-disaster like beginning, maybe the universe would be different and Alfie would have been in a similar situation that Marleau is in now, namely a sitting duck waiting to get traded.
Marleau does have a no-trade clause in his contract but, as Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated points out, his time in San Jose has probably come to an end.
"Marleau's demotion -- think of a guy getting his stripes ripped off in one of those old war movies -- effectively ends his time in San Jose. Theoretically he can stick around -- Modano did in Dallas when he ceded the C to Brenden Morrow, and Vincent Lecavalier actually matured after losing the C in Tampa Bay -- but Sharks general manager Doug Wilson knows he has to change the mix on his team. If he were trying to trade Marleau before, now Wilson must get rid of the player who scored a career-high 38 goals last season.
"Pat is great," a somber (Joe) Pavelski said Tuesday. "This isn't going to take anything away from the kind of character (player) he is. He is probably going to have to come out stronger after something like this. Or (he'll have to go)elsewhere . . . "
Of course, this kind of talk will inevitably lead to the Dany Heatley situation. Would Marleau waive his no-trade to come to Ottawa? We can probably assume Heatley would love the chance to play with Joe Thornton. But then you just start getting into more of the same tiresome speculation that everyone has had enough of by now.
Regardless, Marleau would be a "nifty" little centre for Alex Kovalev or even Daniel Alfredsson himself (who by the way, is only 68 games shy of 1000 for his career - barring injury he'll hit that milestone this season, probably in March or April).
Something to watch.