17 July 2019
The Big Pavelski
Little Joe, the Big Pavelski, the Captain, the guy with the Doritos-Sunkissed-Beard. The names are many, but the most important one for me, for so many Sharks fans, was: Sharks Number 8.
And so, Joe goes the way of so many Californians — to Texas!
When Patrick Marleau chose to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the Summer of 2017, I confidentially said to Dear Husband: “If Joe goes next, that’s it for the Sharks.”
Now this Sharks fan has more rounds of memories to sift through in saying goodbye to a player that was the heart-part of the heart-and-soul of the Sharks team, Patrick Marleau being the soul.
My Dear Son is the big Pavelski fan. His Mom preferred Marleau, but Pavelski was an extremely close second on the list for the Shark player that defined the team. Now Joe Pavelski will be a Star on another team, named the Stars.
We fans will all enjoy sifting through the Pavelski stories in the next few weeks and months, mourning yet another loss to the team that is no longer the Sharks that we knew and loved.
My favorite story is the one of young Joe, sitting with the remote in the Lazy-Boy chair of his hockey-host family. And the Wife in the house realizes that Joe was there to stay! Kinda like the raccoon from the old Lazy-Boy commercials!
The signature moves, the casual swagger-skate toward the net on the Shoot-Out (that did not always work, but it was gorgeous to watch), the swiftly unexpected score, again and again. How many Hat Tricks can Joe get in one night??
He arrived in San Jose in 2006 with his U-Haul, and soon married, and then quickly and phenomenally blossomed into a superlative player. Joe was quiet in the manner of Marleau, but with an overall sweetness of character that was a force multiplier for the Shark players.
This past April, during the Stanley Cup playoffs, Joe Pavelski valiantly came back from an on-ice mugging in Las Vegas to rally the playoff-troops to finish the Stanley Cup series.
Someone should inform the noble Knights and the ignoble NHL top brass that professional hockey need not engage in the Games of Elimination like some U.S. politicians running for office. I believe that the Sharks played to win that Game 7 for the Big Pavelski.
In late May, I listened to and watched the Captain in his media interview after the Sharks’ wretched Stanley Cup playoff loss to the Blues (who did go on to win The Cup). I heard the sound of goodbye and saw the muted sadness in his eyes. His tone and demeanour spoke more than “We lost, and here’s why.” Pavelski has not been the same since the departure of Marleau, whom he called the finest skater on the team.
Marleau taught Little Joe so many skills and ways-to-win when the game looked lost. Without Patrick, Pavelski was a captain without his mentor. He might not have needed the calm leadership of Marleau anymore, but somehow his own steady presence on the ice was not the same.
Those ideas are my two cents. Short and sweet, just like Joe Pavelski. Those years, 13 of them, were glorious games with the quietly dynamic Joseph James Pavelski. His hot streaks were legendary. We’ve got too many memories and stats to count. And we thank Joe for every one of them.
Best wishes to the Paveskis, big and small!