Agent: Marleau ‘wanted to be a Shark at all costs’

It was San Jose or bust for Patrick Marleau.

The Sharks icon, who officially signed a one-year, $700,000 deal Wednesday, was intent on a reunion in the Bay Area all along, according to his agent Pat Brisson.

"Carolina had interest in Patrick for him to be part of the team this season, however, Patrick wanted to be a Shark at all costs. He will retire as a Shark," Brisson said in an email to Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News. "At that point, I started communicating with (Sharks general manager) Doug Wilson on a regular basis in order to try making it work."

Marleau was traded from the Maple Leafs to the Hurricanes in June and then bought out by Carolina days later. While Marleau was seeking a return home, the Leafs were intent on getting rid of his $6.25-million cap hit. Would he have stayed in Toronto if it weren't for the club's cap crunch?

"We'll never know," Marleau said with a smile.

For a while, it seemed as though a reunion with the Sharks wasn't going to be in the cards.

On Sept. 4, Brisson said there was no fit between the Sharks and Marleau and that he'd pursue other opportunities for his client. The Sharks were intent on giving some younger players a long look in training camp.

"The Sharks have made promises and commitments to their young players as part of their development," Brisson wrote to Pashelka. "If they were to look at bringing a veteran player, obviously Patrick was going to be Doug’s choice all along."

For Marleau, who rented ice in the Bay Area on his own dime to stay in shape, the uncertainty wasn't easy.

"It was a really … difficult situation," he said. "There were a lot of ups and downs. I'll leave it at that."

Marleau, who had two goals in his season debut Thursday while playing on the Sharks' top line, will play his first home game in teal this season Sunday night against the Calgary Flames.

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Report: Senators shut down search for president of hockey ops for season

The Ottawa Senators have shut down their search for a president of hockey operations until at least the end of this season, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports.

Friedman added it was unclear whether the club would resume its search.

Back in March, the team said it intended to make the hire "to support and provide guidance" to general manager Pierre Dorion while filling the void left by the late Bryan Murray.

The team also said at the time that the potential new hire wouldn't threaten Dorion's position.

Murray, the club's former general manager and head coach, died of cancer in August 2017. He stepped down as GM in April 2016, and Dorion took over the role with Murray staying on as a senior advisor until his death.

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Leafs’ Mikheyev continues to impress in win over Red Wings

The Toronto Maple Leafs could have themselves a gem in offseason addition Ilya Mikheyev.

The Russian import added a goal and an assist in the club's 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night to push his point total to five in six games. Despite his early NHL success, Mikheyev is doing his best to stay in the moment.

"I don't think about this," Mikheyev said, according to TSN's Mark Masters. "I just work, because this is my 1st NHL season, I (am in) other country, other mentality, and a new system for me ... I (am) very happy every day, when I come to practice rink or Scotiabank Arena on the game I (am) very happy."

The 25-year-old put his speed on display to score his second goal of the season. Mikheyev won a tight foot race against Red Wings defenseman Madison Bowey before zooming around netminder Jimmy Howard and depositing the puck.

"We saw a great example tonight of what he's capable of," teammate Jake Muzzin said. "Good speed, hard on the puck, hard worker, smart. Great for us. Great teammate."

Mikheyev, who played the last four seasons with the KHL's Omsk Avangard, signed a one-year, $925,000 deal with the Leafs ahead of the 2019-20 season.

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Kings cover up Taylor Swift banner at Staples Center

There's now a "Blank Space" in the Staples Center rafters.

The Los Angeles Kings covered up a banner commemorating Taylor Swift before Saturday's home opener against the Nashville Predators.

The banner, which lauded Swift for having the most sold-out performances at the arena, won't be removed entirely but will continue to be covered up at Kings games going forward, according to the Los Angeles Times' Arash Markazi.

The decision to cover it up was made solely by the hockey club, Staples Center president Lee Zeidman told Markazi.

For what it's worth, the Kings haven't won a playoff series since the banner went up in August 2015 following Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and 2014.

Los Angeles defeated the Nashville Predators 7-4 on Saturday.

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Watch: Namestnikov buries late winner to lift Senators past Lightning

Vladislav Namestnikov picked the perfect time to score his first goal with the Ottawa Senators.

The former Tampa Bay Lightning forward netted the eventual winning goal against his old club Saturday off a feed from Connor Brown with just over three minutes left.

Namestnikov, who was acquired by the Senators from the New York Rangers on Oct. 7, added an empty-netter for good measure in the final minute and finished Saturday's contest with three points.

That brings his totals up to two goals and two assists in a pair of games with Ottawa.

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