This week’s edition of Off the Ice with Kathryn Tappen features San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski.
The two talked about participating in the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship Tournament in Lake Tahoe this past summer and his desire to stay away from the karaoke machine.
“I really do not want to sing karaoke. It just never goes out how I picture it,” Pavelski explained.
Check out the episode above as Tappen and Pavelski also talk about the pressure of playing for the Stanley Cup, his relationship with Brent Burns, and more. Episodes will premiere exclusively on NBCSports.com/OffTheIce and YouTube each week.
Off the Ice with Kathryn Tappen takes viewers away from the rink and behind the scenes with some of the NHL’s most intriguing players, as they share their personal lives and unique hobbies with NBC Sports’ Emmy Award-Winning host and sideline reporter Kathryn Tappen.
Sharks soak in the love from fans during NHL All-Star Weekend
The three San Jose Sharks were enjoying their final moments of a memorable few days after their city played host to All-Star Weekend. The sold out SAP Center gave the love right back, as they had all weekend.
Sharks fans made their presence known during Friday’s All-Star Media Day at City National Civic Auditorium. As other NHL All-Stars were being interview at their individual pods in the center of the floor, Let’s Go Sharks! chants were heard. Then, when the three Sharks players were introduced for their turns with the media, the volume inside grew even louder.
“For this weekend to come to San Jose, it’s just a celebration of a lot of great players coming together for the game,” said Pavelski. “It’s fun playing [the All-Star Game] in the city you play for. Every time our names got announced or we stepped on the ice you could hear the little extra roars. That was pretty cool to be a part of.”
There wasn’t much for Sharks fans to cheer about during the game, however. Karlsson did score twice and Burns added another, but the Pacific’s night ended earlier than expected.
“The crowd was awesome,” said Burns. “Good energy.”
“Terrible outcome,” added a laughing Karlsson. “It’s been a while since I scored, so I was happy about that.”
It had been 22 years since San Jose hosted All-Star Weekend, and over that time there’s been a trend upward for the on-the-ice product and what’s happening in the community. The Sharks have only missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs three times since the 1997 All-Star game took place, which has helped grow the area into a very strong hockey market.
Pavelski, one of longest-tenured Sharks, has personally seen the impact hockey in the area has made.
“Right when I came in [in 2006] the Shark Tank [has] been loud and awesome to play in and the fans have been great,” he said. “I haven’t seen that change over the course of years. I’ve got a kid playing youth hockey and there’s not that much available ice time for them. They only skate a couple times a week and there’s a lot of kids on the ice, so there’s a good youth movement going on here where kids are just loving to play the game and we could use more ice. They play roller hockey, everything here, so there’s a good passion for the game.”
Karlsson is the new guy to the Bay Area. After spending the first nine years of his NHL career in Ottawa, his trade to the Sharks in September bolstered the franchise’s hopes to win their first Cup, but also left a question about his future unanswered. The 28-year-old defenseman can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He’s currently eligible to sign a seven-year extension with the Sharks, but once the Feb. 25 trade deadline passes he can ink for the max eight years.
He wasn’t going to discuss his future this weekend, but in the four months he’s been in San Jose, he’s seen what kind of market it’s become and just how strong of an organization that he’s now a part of.
“I always knew the Shark Tank was a building that was tough to play in, it was always full and loud,” he said. “But I was surprised about the Bay Area in general, how many sports fans we have, and Sharks fans. That was something I didn’t know. I think that this weekend just reiterated that, so it’s been a pleasant surprise.”
On Sunday, the roles were reversed. Wheeler extended his point streak to 10 games, collecting two assists. Scheifele was even better, generating a helper to go with two goals, with one of his tallies being the game-winner.
Scheifele, like Wheeler, often stacks the stat categories, and Sunday was no different. The star-on-a-bargain-contract enjoyed a +3 night, fired four shots on goal, blocked a shot, and went 12-8 in the faceoff circle.
This is a tough one, because while Pavelski ties Scheifele as the only Sunday scorer to collect three points, it’s inflated a bit by his goal being an empty-netter.
That extra point feels like a fair tiebreaker, though, especially since Pavelski paralleled Aleksander Barkov and others by contributing a strong all-around night. Along with that goal and two assists, Pavelski was +3, generated three SOG, delivered four hits, and blocked four shots while going 9-5 on draws.
People don’t really hammer scorers for failing to get assists in the same way they pick on someone when they haven’t managed their first goal of a season, but it has to be a relief for Pavelski to grab his first two assists of 2018-19. Considering that he’s in an uneasy contract year situation, he – and his agent, and the Sharks – are likely counting these things.
Again, this is a spot where you could argue for Barkov, or maybe Jaroslav Halak, who finished Sunday with only one fewer save (37). How much do you weigh Barkov’s strong overall performance/two goals over Kuemper’s nice work and 38 stops?
To me, Kuemper gets the edge for a few reasons:
Kuemper was facing a rested team in Washington, while Arizona was wrapping up a back-to-back following frustrating 4-0 loss to the Penguins on Saturday.
That rested team was the Capitals, a squad that can manufacture goals even when it’s playing 50-50 hockey, and even if they are the one dealing with more fatigue.
Other goalies with similar stats didn’t face that rest disparity.
He likely came into Sunday with fire in his belly, yet low confidence, as he had allowed a total of 13 goals in his past three starts.
Maybe you prefer the work of Barkov or someone else, but you have to admit that Kuemper enjoyed quite the performance.
A player as smart and skilled as Barkov can make you pay for a mistake and/or unlucky bounce in a matter of seconds:
The Minnesota Wild are red-hot lately, and Devan Dubnyk usually is at the forefront of their hot streaks. Making saves like these reminds us that he’s one of the better goalies in the NHL during the (rather frequent) spans when he’s on his game:
Pavel Bure wasn’t a member of the Panthers all that long, yet he authored some astounding moments in Florida, so Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov flirting with one of his club marks is impressive. Also: scary, since the Panthers also employ that Barkov fellow. Oh, And Vincent Trocheck. And Keith Yandle. And …
Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues: Another player who scored twice on Thursday night. Schenn set the tone early, fighting Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog three seconds after puck drop in the first period. He backed that up with his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season.
Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames: Boring Sean Monahan has 27 goals on the season after scoring a brace in the Flames 3-2 win against the New Jersey Devils.
P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators: Subban also score two goals, including the game-tying goal late in the third period to force overtime against the Ottawa Senators. Subban’s second goal was his 15th of the season, matching a career-high.
Nick Cousins, Arizona Coyotes: OK, last one. Cousins scored twice, and his second with 19 seconds left in the third period forced overtime, where Clayton Keller fired home the winner to give the desert dogs a 4-3 come-from-behind win.
Despite over 300 wins, two Western Conference Finals appearances and a reputation as one of the NHL’s better coaches, the writing was on the wall last year — San Jose missed the playoffs for the first time in the McLellan era, and Sharks GM Doug Wilson all but admitted the dismissal, which was classified as a mutual parting of ways, had to be made.
“Sometimes a change is best for all parties involved,” Wilson said.
So, enter veteran bench boss Peter DeBoer, set to coach his third NHL club after being let go in Florida and New Jersey.
Known for his demanding style and strong tactical acumen — “He’s technically as sound as anyone,” said former boss Lou Lamoriello — DeBoer was brought aboard in late May and wasted no time outlining his goals and plans for the upcoming campaign.
Chief among them?
First, Getting back into the playoffs. DeBoer seemed to downplay Wilson’s previous notion that San Jose was a “tomorrow team,” saying he expects a “big bounce-back” after the team missed the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.
“The expectation is to win right now,” DeBoer said. “Regardless of the ages or the birth certificates of the players, there’s a tradition here of winning and of challenging to go deep into the playoffs. That’s my expectation.
“I think that’s [GM Doug Wilson’s] expectation, and I don’t think anyone’s looking for anything less than that here.”
Second, the team is going to have a captain.
This was a point of contention throughout McLellan’s final year in San Jose. The decision to strip Joe Thornton of the “C,” then re-implement him as one of the club’s four alternates — the Sharks played without a captain all last year — basically blew up in McLellan and Wilson’s faces; the issue ate away at the team all year long, to the point where one of the club’s leaders, Logan Couture, classified the club’s culture as “not great” by year’s end.
“It’s not something we are going to drag around as a distraction this year,” DeBoer explained, per NHL.com. “We’re going to move past that.
“I think the players are ready for that too; they just want to play some hockey and get this thing back on track.”
But big questions still remain. Specifically, will DeBoer’s playoff proclamation and anointing of a captain really make any difference?
The Sharks are, at their core, still the same team built around the same group of veteran players. Sweater letters or no, Thornton and Patrick Marleau carry major influence in the room, as will Joe Pavelski (who enjoyed his greatest success under McLellan) and Couture (a favorite of McLellan’s).
To his credit, DeBoer knows he’s inheriting a veteran-laden team that, as he put it, has “hit a little bit of a rut here.” His objective is to try and steer the group back on track by reinvigorating the leadership group that was already in place.
A good plan, sure. But not the easiest to execute.