SAN JOSE -- Patrick Marleau is making his always-out-there critics eat their words.
A new book by former Sharks teammate Jeremy Roenick ripped him during the lockout. A Calgary radio station mocked him before the team's season opener against the Flames.
So all Marleau did in the first 10 days of this abbreviated NHL season is:
"I will say I'm very happy to see it. I don't mind when somebody tries to stuff something back in my face," said Roenick, now an NBC Sports analyst. "I hope he's on a mission to be as good as he possibly can be."
Roenick is quick to note, though, that he never questioned Marleau's skill level, just his effort.
Todd McLellan wasn't talking about Roenick specifically, but the Sharks coach has his own views when it comes to the external criticisms of Marleau.
"I believe the outside world finds ways to poke holes in Patty Marleau rather than looking at what he does well most of the time," McLellan said. "He's had a great start."
Marleau shakes off any suggestion that he's trying to redeem himself in anyone's eyes. Beyond
"I can't really focus on that scoring. If you think about it too much, it probably won't happen," he said.
He spreads the credit to linemates Thornton and Joe Pavelski as well the team's defensemen for their setup passes. And Marleau resists the idea that he's altered his game this season, that he's driving the net more or staying longer in the "dirty areas."
"I'm not really doing anything that different," he said. "I'm playing with some good players right now, and they've been able to find me. Pucks are getting through, and I've been able to score some goals."
McLellan, too, says he's not seeing anything new from Marleau this season, though consistency has been an issue in the past.
"He's a streaky scorer," the coach said. "When it's not going well for him, some of those things fall off a little bit and we have to poke and prod him to get him back to it."
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Marleau has brought size and skill to the NHL since the Sharks made him the second overall player taken in the 1997 entry draft -- right after Boston selected Thornton. Marleau's 396 goals are a franchise best and rank eighth among active players.
But he's also been portrayed as the poster boy for playoff frustration, and that gets into perception-reality issues. While he failed to get a point in San Jose's first-round loss to St. Louis last spring, his 52 playoff goals rank second among active players.
While Marleau's linemates competed in Europe during the lockout, he stayed in San Jose, practicing four times a week with a handful of his teammates and others.
"He needs to thank the guys that he skated with those three months," joked defenseman Dan Boyle, one of those players and someone who has assisted on four of Marleau's goals while adding three of his own.
But Marleau also worked on his shooting and stickhandling with about 20 other top NHL players including Sidney Crosby when they converged on Vail, Colo., and Scottsdale, Ariz., for hockey camps during the lockout.
"When you skate with almost like 20-something NHL guys that are elite-caliber and they're all competing, that kept me on edge a little bit," Marleau said. "That's where it helped me keep sharp."
Marleau wasn't ready to say those camps explain the strong start that now links him with Cy Denneny of the Ottawa Senators, the last player to start a season with four multi-goal games, in 1917.
But whatever the reason, his performance has gotten the attention of the hockey world, and that includes his newer teammates.
"You just sit back, and it's fun to watch," Scott Gomez said. "You always knew Patty is an outstanding player -- but being a teammate of his now and seeing it firsthand, it's awesome. Just how he prepares, how he gets ready."
Defenseman Brad Stuart knew Marleau as a teammate for five seasons before the November 2005 deal that sent Stuart to Boston. The next seven seasons, they would be on opposing teams before Stuart was reacquired last summer.
Having faced Marleau just last season, how does Stuart see other teams defending against him at this point?
"You don't want to overplay somebody," Stuart said, "but obviously teams are going to talk about it. You want to make sure that you've got his stick and you're not giving him too many open opportunities."
At the same time, Stuart added, the Sharks "have other guys to worry about, too, so you don't want to focus on one guy."
That might have been what happened in Sunday's 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Marleau did get one goal, but Pavelski added two and Thornton the other. All three were among the NHL's top five scorers entering Monday night's games.
Neither McLellan nor Marleau expects this goal-scoring pace to continue. But what needs to continue, they agree, is the style of play.
"Just being in front of the net when shots are coming and causing a little havoc around there," Marleau said.
While Marleau brushed off Roenick's criticism during the lockout, he can't so easily dismiss another voice he's heard from lately. Landon Marleau, age 6, dinged his dad for not getting a hat trick during his streak.
"He told me," Marleau said, "that I should have shot on one play."
Anaheim (3-1-0) at Sharks (5-0-0), 7:30 p.m. CSNCA