No hesitation whatsoever: Pavelski believes Sharks can win Cup


Since entering the NHL in 1991, the San Jose Sharks have never been to a Stanley Cup Final.

They’ve been close, sure — in fact, San Jose has won an impressive 10 playoff series over the last nine seasons. However, they’ve only managed to get as far as the Western Conference finals, losing to Calgary in 2004, Chicago in 2010 and Vancouver in 2011.

Along the way, they’ve developed a reputation for, well, to put it bluntly — choking.

But that doesn’t bother Joe Pavelski.

According to Pavelski’s agent, Daniel Plante, if the 29-year-old center didn’t believe the Sharks could finally get over the hump, he might not have signed a five-year contract extension tying him to the club through 2018-19.

“One of the things as we were going through these discussions, I asked Joe, ‘Do you believe this team can win a Stanley Cup?’ And without missing a beat, he emphatically said, ‘Yes,’” Plante said, per the Canadian Press. “So at that point in time it just became imperative that that’s where he wanted to be. He believes in the team, and then it was just finding a deal that worked for both sides.”

Next season figures to be a big one for the Sharks, with veterans Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle all in the final year of their contracts, after which they can become unrestricted free agents.

Pavelski and Logan Couture should give San Jose at least two high-quality centers for years to come. Meanwhile, Vezina Trophy finalist Antti Niemi, 29, has two years remaining on his contract.

If there’s a big question mark, it’s the blue line. Boyle is 37 and in the twilight of his career. At some point, somebody will need to step up and replace the offensive push he provides from the back end. That, or general manager Doug Wilson will have to go out and acquire somebody who can.

Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
Leave a comment

Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”



Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?