Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SJ Sharks Captaincy Empty

For those who follow the NHL, you may have come across the story that's been out the last few days that Patrick Marleau has been stripped of his role as San Jose Sharks captain by head coach Todd McLellan. This will, of course, do nothing to stop the never-ending trade rumors that surround Marleau- his name has, after all, been constantly linked to trade rumors for the last couple of seasons.

But what might be more interesting to you Badger fans is that among the possible favorites to replace Marleau as captain of the Sharks is non other than the Polish Prince himself: Joe Pavelski.

Mark Purdy of Mercury News (Bay Area) notes Pavs along with Dan Boyle and Joe "Yes, Boston Really Traded Me" Thornton as one of his three candidates for the job:

"The final possibility is Joe Pavelski, the young second-line center who was among the most visibly angry Sharks following the playoff loss to the Ducks. He won an NCAA championship at the University of Wisconsin. Pavelski, 25, would be a bold selection, though not an utter shock."
Michael Farber on SI.com also suggested Pavelski as a candidate (Farber is also keen on Boyle, Thornton and geezer Rob Blake), as well as offering this quote from Pavs about Marleau's demotion:

"Pat is great," a somber Pavelski said Tuesday. "This isn't going to take anything away from the kind of character (player) he is. He is probably going to have to come out stronger after something like this. Or (he'll have to go) elsewhere . . . When something like that happens, it's not just Patty. This could be a wakeup call to the team. I feel just as bad for him because I could have done more."
(Emphasis added)
A lot of talk has been bubbling around over at The Sporting News regarding the Sharks and Pavs. Columnist Craig Custance in particular seems pretty into the idea of Pavelski stepping into the role. He's written a blog post and a twit (I like that word better... and thanks to 60 for pointing out the twitter post) proclaiming as such. The blog (emphasis added):

"It's been great getting to know some of the US players. Had a great chat today with Joe Pavelski which we used as a Q and A. I know people in the Sharks organization love Joe, I remember one San Jose scout telling me that before Pavelski was drafted the knock on Joe was his skating but he was constantly around the puck. That really stood out to them. Joe was pretty candid about his hopes of one day being a captain and if the decision was mine, which sadly it's not, I would give him a long look at the newly vacated captaincy in San Jose. He's won at every level and seems to have a drive and focus that a good captain needs. Believe me, he's still ticked off about the playoff loss."
The Twit:

"The more I talk to Joe Pavelski the more I think he needs to be the next Sharks captain."
Custance also posted a relatively in-depth Q&A with Pavs on the subject. Some choice quotes from Pavs to note (again, emphasis added):

"[The playoff exit] wasn't just [Marleau's] fault. I blame myself just as much as anything for something like that. In the game you need a supporting staff. I'm just as responsible for it as he is. We didn't get the job done this year."

"There are no captains right now. Someone will be named the captain, but it's going to be collective. Everybody needs to step up."

"I want to keep getting better. I want to eventually [be the captain] -- maybe it comes this year -- a different role, a more leadership role. I want to get to that level. I want to get there as quick as I can."
I may be accused of bias here, but from the quotes and phrases that I'm seeing from and about Pavs, it seems like he would be the natural choice to be captain. His Q&A with Custance in particular is showing that in spades. How many athletes, when asked about this sort of major shakeup by a member of the press, would be so forthcoming? So detailed and thought out in his responses? So accepting of his own responsibility? More often than not, you see an athlete give lip-service answers or go into some abbreviated version of coach-speak. Joe Pavelski seems as if he's having none of that, and I applaud him for it.

Here's hoping to see a 'C' on his chest this fall. All hail the Polish Prince!