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The Invincible M.A.E.

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Patrick Marleau

We're collecting all centers named Joe in the league

I have work to do. Thus I make a baby update.

I actually listened to the baby Sharks game yesterday (yeaaaaaah) and it sounds like Pavelski had a hell of a game yesterday, goal, assist to help the team come back from a 4-1 deficit to tie the game, then lots of good penalty killing shifts in the third period and overtime to hang on for the shootout. And then I see this article today. :)

Sharks' Pavelski a rookie in name only
Lindsay Kramer | NHL.com correspondent Nov 13, 2006, 12:00 PM EST

Worcester Sharks defenseman Joe Pavelski, a seventh-round selection in 2003, earned AHL Rookie of the Month honors for October with 15 points.

When the Worcester Sharks went on a team outing last week, they quickly discovered there was a ringer in their midst.

The Sharks decided to spend some quality time together at, of all places, a gun range. Much like he’s been at almost everything else this season, rookie center Joe Pavelski was the best at that, too. Which only figures, since Pavelski grew up in Plover, Wisc., which is cut in half by the Wisconsin River. To this day, much of his free time is spent out in nature, hunting and fishing.

“It was actually awesome,’’ Pavelski said of the shooting-range exercise. “Everyone got into it. Every time you have these big guns going off next to you, it’s pretty intense. We had a few shooting contests, with only a couple of guys. I usually took first."

And so, Worcester now knows how the rest of the AHL has been feeling since the start of the season when opponents look at Pavelski and ask, ‘Who is this guy?’’

The short answer: a former seventh-round pick with a razor attitude who proved himself a clutch player at the premier college hockey program in North America and now has put his new league in the cross-hairs.

Pavelski, 22, is coming off an October in which he was named the AHL’s rookie of the month and he paces all rookies with 15 points.

“When you make the jump to the next level, you hope you’re ready. I felt like I could handle my own,’’ Pavelski understated.

“He’s the real deal,’’ summed up Sharks coach Roy Sommer. “He’s got great vision, a good hockey sense. You could talk to anyone on our team, they’d love to play with him. He’s a special type of player who doesn’t come along too often.’’

NHL teams thought he was more like a dime a dozen in the 2003 draft. A total of 204 players were snatched before him until San Jose looked his way. Pavelski took it in stride. By his own admission he was an average skater, and his size -- now 5-11, 195 -- doesn’t cause any jaws to hit the ground.

“Until you’re the best, you always have something to prove,’’ he said. “And when you’re the best, you have to stay on top.’’

Ah, now we’re getting into Pavelski’s wheelhouse. Two seasons ago, he skated into college hockey’s cauldron and led Wisconsin in scoring as a freshman with 45 points, becoming the first rookie since Dany Heatley (1999-00) to pace the Badgers. Last season, he led the NCAA champ Badgers in assists (33), points (56), game-winning goals (six), multi-point games (15), power-play goals (11), and power play points (27).

“The last few years, I’ve been that (go-to) guy,’’ he said. “The more you play in (big games), the better you are going to get. Playing in those big-time moments, you take so much away and put it in your back pocket. Being on a winning team, knowing what it takes to win, knowing nothing will come easy.’’

His early numbers aside, Pavelski knows that cliché increases exponentially in the pros. He has to get faster. And stronger. Sommer loves the way he goes 100 mph each shift, but the coach also has to monitor his ice time, especially on the three-in-three weekends.

Still …

Sommer appreciates the way he takes the correct angles to the puck. Then there’s his vision and anticipation. And that game savvy that usually comes with veterans of a couple seasons or more. Sharks winger Mathieu Darche said Pavelski is the best center he’s ever played with.

“I haven’t seen a rookie that composed and playing like a veteran,’’ Darche said. “He won’t just wait for the puck – he’ll go in the corners and go get it. Don’t expect to see him in the AHL too long.’’

So Pavelski’s sneak-up-on ‘em days should be over, right?

We’ll see. The Sharks’ next team bonding session involves an afternoon of paintball. Hmmm. An activity that mixes shooting, quickness, guile and anticipation. Gee, who might have the edge there?

“Hopefully, he’s on my team,’’ Sommer said.

“Ah, I don’t know about (being the favorite),’’ Pavelski said. “I’ve only been paintballing a couple of times. I’m still a rookie at that.’’

He overlooks that the same can also be said of his current AHL challenge. And that seems to be working out quite well so far indeed.

Hopefully we won't need to call him up, this season, but I'm looking forward to see how he'll do in the NHL eventually.

A couple of general hockey thoughts. Calls for goalie interference seem to have a higher percentage fuck up factor than most other calls. Three case studies: 1) Grier parks outside crease, Fleury skates into him and bounces off, and Grier gets called for goalie interference to negate a goal, 2) Lindros skates into Roloson, nudging his pads and knocking the goalie stick out of his hand, and no goalie interference is called thus letting a goal stand, 3) Zigomanis skates into Nabokov, cross checking him in the neck, gets a minor while Bell receives a minor for giving him a push, and Grier receives a minor for complaining about what a bullshit call it is on Bell, thus leaving Phoenix with a power play after cross checking a goalie in the neck resulting in an injury that requires him to leave the game after the first period.

It's a fast game, but it just sucks that there's so much inconsistency. Some refs make the call based on effect even if they didn't see the cause, and some don't call on effect if they didn't see cause. Blah blah blah.

My thought on head shots is that a minor penalty would be a good idea, because it might help prevent some head injuries. There are some arguments against it that it would be bad for the hitting aspect of the game cos' it would be tough to lay off a hit given the fast game, and thus guys might be discouraged from making hits altogether, but we're already in that situation with respect to boarding calls.

That said, I have no complaint against guys who make clean hits (as defined by the current rules) that result in head shots. If there are problems that exist within the framework of a game (all games, really), fix the game.

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I don't think we're ever gonna get Joe Sakic. :)

S'kinda like when Svitov checked Smid face-first into the dasher. Thoresen goes after him so he gets two for instigating, an extra two for instigating with a visor, five for fighting and a ten-minute misconduct. Svitov got five for boarding and five for fighting. So it was one minute's worth of power play plus our guy's in the box twice as long as theirs when Smid could have had a broken neck. And you know, I'm even fine with the double minor but wtf is with an apparently automatic 10-minute misconduct for starting a fight? ISN'T THAT WHAT THE FUCKING INSTIGATOR PENALTY IS FOR? That drives me nuts no matter which team it's called on.

It's so aggravating when after all's said and done, the team that tried to kill someone (well, you know, did something egregious) ends up on the power play. Like the refs have the discretion to essentially make the calls any way they want, and they basically chose to make a weak call on Bell, which set up a PK situation for us, which is clearly not right.

In that situation, it wasn't at the ref's discretion, at least I don't think, I've always seen the misconduct handed out along with the instigator, but the end result is crazy, too.

OMG is that York grappling with Hatcher there??? I mean I've seen this icon a ton of times, but never looked at the other guy.

Well, then, that's a dumb fucking rule. You're punishing the guy twice, the guy AND the team, which I guess is the point, but holy overkill, Batman.

Heh. No, but wouldn't that be hilarious? Hilarious if I wanted a dead Yorkie.

It's Kelly Buchberger, back in the day when he was our #16.

Yeah. You know, it makes me think, if Cheech had fought back with Sidney Crosby, then we would have been in that situation, cos' Crosby was clearly the instigator, and I think he wears a visor. There's some kind of screwed up logic going there.

*giggle* Haven't Hatcher and Comrie fought at some point, though? Err, not that I ever saw it, I thought I remembered someone telling me that.

GOD no. Although that would make sense, 'cause it's not like Hatcher ever friggin' took on anyone his own size. There were just a lot of shoving matches, or, you know, Comrie shoves him and Hatcher looks at him like he's an asshole. Which he is.

Strangely enough one of my ex boyfriends used to play hockey against Pavelski, he's from about an hour from where I'm from..

*shrieks* That's so weird (and cool)! I'm always weirded out when people know hockey players. I don't like thinking they're real people, haha. :P

I think head shots can been een the same way as hitting from behind, yeah sometimes it is an accident, but as tammy said "it's two if you meant to hit the puck into the stands or it was an accident" no reason head shots can't be accidents and still get two.

i dodn't usually buy that they are an accident, some guys go for the head the same way some go for the knee.

yeah I think Torres is pretty dirty, but hell my team usually has it's fair share of goons you know?

High sticking too. And you know, the thing is, nobody's going to lower their head to get hit there to draw the penalty.

Well, here's the thing. They are clean hits and some of them are intentional hits to the head. You can't watch some of Scott Stevens' hits and say, oh no, he didn't intend to do that, because it's obvious, even watching the game at full speed, that he had the time to recognise that's what it would be. And it's the same thing with a couple of Torres' hits.

But it still stands that these things are allowed within the rules of the game, thus the current rules are allowing guys to give other guys concussions, and that's not a good thing. This isn't football where the regular season is 16 games and you play once a week.

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