Mullen is focused on the task at hand — getting his team ready for the Minutemen.

In terms of giving legitimate on-field help to Newton, their $60 million franchise cornerstone, the Panthers seem to still be making it up as they go along. They act as if they’re allergic to keeping receivers around, no matter their productivity, potential, age, contract or overall value. Steve Smith got the boot long ago. Ted Ginn Jr. left after last season. Greg Olsen wrestled with them for a new contract before getting just a tweaked one.

Olsen missed the first half of the season with a broken foot. When he returns, Benjamin won’t be there. Olsen, Ginn and Benjamin were their three leading receivers last season.

Heed scored a tiebreaking goal on the power play early in the third period and assisted on Joe Pavelski’s second-period goal to lead the Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night in Marleau’s first game as a visitor in San Jose.

“I feel comfortable out there,” said Heed, who has six points in nine games. “It feels better and better every game. I play with great players out there who make good plays for me. It’s great playing with them.”

Heed scored on a slap shot from just above the faceoff circle with 15:49 to play to give the Sharks their 10th straight win over Toronto. Joel Ward added an empty-net goal for San Jose.

This time it came with Marleau in a Maple Leafs sweater as he returned to the arena he called home for his first 19 seasons in the NHL. Marleau left as a free agent this summer to sign an $18.75 million, three-year contract with Toronto but was welcomed back warmly by a fan base that still adores him.

But there’s been a lot of speculation about Mullen’s future since Florida fired Jim McElwain on Sunday.


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