On the team website, the San Jose Sharks have been running a series that has included video of the top four or five plays last season for nine players thus far. Monday, August 12 was time for the fans to vote on “Best of 2012-13: Brent Burns.”
The players chosen have not always been stars. The first installment was on checking forward Raffi Torres the day he was re-signed for 2013-14 (June 20). It has also covered fourth-line center Andrew Desjardins and defensive specialist Marc-Edouard Vlasic—the only two players to feature just four videos.
The other five players are probably the team’s biggest stars (listed in order of their inclusion in the series): Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Antti Niemi and Dan Boyle. The only player of the core missing is Joe Pavelski, who because of his defensive prowess is probably the among the fourth- or fifth-most important player on the roster for this next season.
Why he has not been featured already is a mystery. Couture and Torres were the only other ones to sign any new contracts, while Boyle and Thornton are the only others to have a birthday. “The Big Pavelski” (so named for his performances in the Stanley Cup playoffs, leading the team in scoring in 2010 and 2013) is the only player with both distinctions—and a core player to boot (skate?).
Who better to step up for this oversight than a fellow Wisconsin transplant to the Bay Area following him since he was at the University of Wisconsin? And rather than look at individual plays, why not evaluate his best complete games? Even then, the “Best of 2013-13: Joe Pavelski” list was tough to keep at just five.
March 2 vs. Nashville Predators
Joe Pavelski not only got the game-winning goal for the San Jose Sharks over the Nashville Predators. He also provided the screen on the other score, put four of six attempts on net, blocked one shot, had two takeaways to just one giveaway and won all five draws.
March 28 vs. Detroit Red Wings
Joe Pavelski going to the net created a game-winning score that the San Jose Sharks could protect from the Detroit Red Wings. He had two other shots, two hits, a takeaway and a block to go with 10 wins to seven losses in the circle.
April 5 vs. Calgary Flames
Joe Pavelski finished off a big comeback for the San Jose Sharks over the Calgary Flames. He was rewarded for the smart, attacking style (four shots, eight attempts on offense, two hits and a takeaway on defense) he had all night by being in the right place at the right time and burying the game-winner.
May 5 vs. Vancouver Canucks
Joe Pavelski got the game going with the first two goals in a big win that all-but clinched the Stanley Cup playoff series win over the Vancouver Canucks. In addition to the goals, he added an assist to go with six shots, one hit, three takeaways and two blocks while going seven of 13 in the circle (53.8 percent).
May 7 vs. Vancouver Canucks
For the second straight game, Joe truly was the Big Pavelski to secure the first-ever Stanley Cup playoff sweep for the San Jose Sharks: 10 shot attempts, eight on goal, two for scores, two blocks, two takeaways to just one giveaway and 10 of 17 (.588) in the circle.