Joe Pavelski has been accumulating stats in two key categories for the San Jose Sharks in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. He leads the NHL in both points (tied at 21 with teammate Logan Couture) and goals, with 12.
The former seventh-round draft pick who played college hockey at the University of Wisconsin is also leading the league in this year’s playoffs for power-play goals (5) and game-winning goals (4), according to Hockey-Reference.
— #StanleyCup Playoffs (@NHL) May 24, 2016
Pavelski has made a name for himself in modeling his game after one particular NHL legend, Brett Hull, according to a recent interview of Joe by Pierre LeBrun on the ESPN website.
“His hands in front of the net were just so good.”
Now playing against Hull’s former team, the St. Louis Blues, Joe Pavelski is the one using his hands in front of the goaltender to put the puck in the net. He is doing it through a diligently practiced skill: tip-ins.
— ESPN NHL coverage (@ESPN_NHL) May 24, 2016
Redirection of the puck into the back of the net has become one of Joe Pavelski’s trademark skills. Teammate Tomas Hertl recently was quoted by ESPN explaining how astounding Pavelski is at the tip-in.
“He works on that almost every day. Every time he practices it, he never misses it. It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen before someone practice so hard on that. He’s great. He scores almost every game on those goals. He’s our leader. Again tonight, a winning goal.”
San Jose Sharks’ head coach, Pete DeBoer, also recognizes Pavelski’s skill with the redirection. He regularly sees Joe working to hone his particular ability to tip the puck past the goaltender, as recounted by ESPN.
“He works at it. He works at it every day. He gets Burnsy or one of the other D, gets them to fire 100, 200 pucks. I’ll watch him from the boards with the other coaches. He’ll get a piece of every single one. It’s something that he has worked at.”
A dedication to his craft is something that Joe Pavelski has been working on from a young age. He has also been a leader through the ranks. As reported by Ken Wiebe in the Toronto Sun, Pavelski led his high school to a Wisconsin state championship in 2002, then in 2004 he guided the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL to a Clark Cup, and two years later he helped the Wisconsin Badgers win the NCAA Frozen Four. Next up on Joe’s list of accomplishments is a Stanley Cup.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) May 24, 2016
When Pavelski left the University of Wisconsin after the 2004-05 season, he joined the Sharks’ AHL affiliate, which at the time was in Worcester, Massachusetts. It would take Joe just 16 games at the AHL level to make the jump to the NHL and never look back. His coach with the Worcester Sharks, Roy Sommer, recognized Pavelski was special right away, as reported by the Toronto Sun.
“You could tell he was special from the get-go. I’ve been doing this a long time and there are certain players that you get and you go, ‘Man this guy is going to do great things’ and that’s what he did. He was just a real curious player and I figured this guy wasn’t going to be here long.”
Statistically, Pavelski had one of his better regular seasons in the NHL during 2015-16, and his best postseason in the league. Joe was near a point-per-game for the Sharks during the regular season, notching 78 (38 goals, 40 assists) in 82 games. One stat that tells a story of Pavelski’s dedication to scoring when it counts is game-winning goals. Joe led the NHL for that stat in the regular season with 11, and he is the stat leader in the playoffs with four.
[Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images]