The Invincible M.A.E.


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Kyle McLaren
harleymae

I got Pickles!

Oh Kyle, what a lovely pirouette for Versus and TSN.

I think the boys rested up during the Blues game cos' they knew they'd be playing the next day against a tougher opponent. I approve. Everyone can take a rest, and we'll just make the kid from the AHL do all the work. :)

Pavelski + Carle article = ficcage

Sharks rookie stating his case
PAVELSKI REUNITED WITH CARLE, A FOE FROM COLLEGE DAYS
By David Pollak
Mercury News

Sharks rookie center Joe Pavelski was sitting alone in a downtown San Jose restaurant a few hours before what would be his first NHL game.

There were jitters to overcome and mostaccioli to devour. Breakfast, after all, was a cross-country flight from Boston behind him. But any feeling of isolation disappeared when defenseman Matt Carle -- an intense opponent during their college days, but now a teammate -- showed up at the same Italian eatery.

``He looked pretty tired,'' Carle recalled of the chance meeting the day before Thanksgiving. ``I almost thought he was going to fall asleep and his face would go straight into his food.''

Pavelski remained awake long enough to score his first NHL goal that night against Los Angeles. With the Sharks in St. Louis tonight for the first of four consecutive road games, he hopes to continue to make his case for an extended stay in the NHL.

Things haven't always been this buddy-buddy for Pavelski and Carle, both 22.

They were born in the United States -- Carle in Alaska, Pavelski in Wisconsin -- and first squared off against each other at 18 in the United States Hockey League, a top junior program with teams in the Midwest. Pavelski's Waterloo Black Hawks met Carle's River City Lancers in the second round of the 2003 playoffs.

``We were rolling,'' Pavelski said. ``We swept our first series, and then we ran into them and kind of fizzled out. It was a bad feeling.''

Both were chosen by the Sharks in the 2003 draft -- Carle as the 47th player taken overall, Pavelski as the 205th. But each opted for college, with Carle becoming an eventual Hobey Baker Award winner at Denver and Pavelski the leading scorer for two seasons at Wisconsin.

``When the Sharks drafted both of us, we had just finished a year in juniors battling each other,'' Carle said. ``I knew he was good, so I was happy for him to be drafted in the same organization. But I didn't know how we'd get along.''

Denver and Wisconsin are league rivals, and the teams went head-to-head six times over two seasons. Denver went 4-1-1, though Pavelski had better individual stats -- three goals and four assists to Carle's five assists.

``They were always a good team, and he was on their first line so we were matched up quite a bit against each other,'' Carle said.

As fierce as things could get on the ice, the pair still would get together after games. Among other things, they would compare notes on what contact each had been having with San Jose's front office.

The two ended up as roommates when they came to San Jose for a summer development camp in 2005. Because of NCAA regulations, college players must pay for their own hotel rooms, so the two decided to share the cost.

Each player's team won the NCAA Frozen Four title -- Denver in 2004 and 2005, Wisconsin in 2006. Each then chose to leave school before graduating to see what they could accomplish as pros.

Carle went directly to the NHL last spring. Pavelski impressed coaches in training camp, but was sent to the minors where he had eight goals and 26 points in 18 games at Worcester.

The call-up to San Jose came after injuries to Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek. Pavelski -- considered a first- or second-line forward because of his offensive potential -- has averaged 17:26 of ice time skating with Patrick Marleau and Steve Bernier.

Still, how long he stays in the lineup could depend as much on Cheechoo and Michalek's recoveries as Pavelski's own play.

``Obviously we're missing two important people right now, but he's showed that he doesn't look out of place at all,'' said Sharks Coach Ron Wilson, adding that if Pavelski ends up being sent back to Worcester, it's not a big deal.

Bernier and Cheechoo, Wilson pointed out, didn't stick in the NHL their first times up.

``That's the way it can go with some guys,'' Wilson said. ``You're making a transition from one level to the next, and sometimes it takes you two or three times to catch up to the speed.''

Pavelski said he's willing to do whatever the team asks, skate on whatever line, to stay in the NHL. And if he's sent back to Worcester?

``Then I take the experience for what it is, play however many games up here I can, learn that much more,'' Pavelski said. ``And the next time I come up here, I can contribute even more. Everything right now is positive. I'm just trying to be in the moment.''

Once bitter rivals, now playing on the same team, sharing a hotel room at development camp... oh, and Carle assisted on Pavelski's goal in Minnesota. :P

If you haven't seen it, an article for you crazy Joe Thornton fans:
Thornton's impact still being felt in San Jose

"That trade gave me a new start," he said. "It opened up so many different things for me on the ice and off of it. Probably the best part of the trade was that it brought be together with my cousin Scott for the first time. And I think it even brought my dad, Wayne, and Scott’s dad, Jack, even closer.

"Most of all, I know my grandfather, Cliff, was watching down on us smiling. For years, he used to complain that he couldn’t watch us both at the same time, that he’d have to be ready to watch my games at about 7 and Scott’s at around 10:30 ... and some nights he’d be up until 1:30 in the morning just trying to keep up with us."

That's "pretty nice".

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