Sunday, August 16, 2020

Joe Pavelski Jersey Card

There is one hint that this Relics card of Joe Pavelski's from his days with the San Jose Sharks in Upper Deck's 2015-16 Champ's set is indeed a "Jersey' card and not just another random piece of cloth:
It's not that the back states  that's it's "memorabilia that has been certified as having been used in an official NHL game", but the fact that it's #J-JP in the set.

I'm not the world's biggest Sharks fan, so even though the teal game-worn jersey swatch looks pretty good, it wasn't the hit I was hoping for... but it was better than getting anything from the Toronto Maple Leafs, that's for sure!

It was also a chance to feature "Little Joe", a player who almost every season garners a little bit of Selke Trophy talk, once in a while gets Hart consideration as journalists' fifth pick to finish in the top-20 and always seems to want to carry his team that extra mile.

Unfortunately, whether it's playing in San Jose or for Team USA, it seems his Herculean efforts always end up in losses, the most painful being the 2015-16 Stanley Cup Final loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the 2010 Olympics, where he had three assists in the final game and ending up with a silver medal because Sidney Crosby scored a lucky goal from the corner behind the goal line.

I'm not the world's biggest Crosby fan, but I'll take the Pens over the Sharks and Team Canada over the Americans almost every time. Still, it can't be easy realizing late in your career your biggest nemesis in team success is the most media-focused player of his generation.

I'm not the biggest Dallas Stars fan, but I do like them, and I was surprised they made such an aggressive push to add the 35-year-old as a free agent last summer. Not that they would be interested, not that they would give him $7M that first season, but that he would get a three-year deal. In the cap era where teams seem to shun veteran talent, it came as a bit of a shock, but when you realize he was actually a couple of weeks ahead of his 35th birthday and thus wouldn't fall under the "must keep cap hit even if bought out" category, it started to make a bit more sense.

Long a problem in Dallas, offense was in a complete drought in 2019-20, with no skater producing above the 50-point mark, everyone but Tyler Seguin falling below the 40-point mark and only 22-year-old rookie Denis Gurianov hitting the 20-goal mark. Captain Jamie Benn is looking more and more like his best days are behind him - and possibly a compliance buyout candidate in the event of a second large Covid wave or another pandemic in a couple of years - and Alexander Radulov seems to have two good years for every one he takes off, so they're going to need to milk Pavelski for every ounce of juice he's got left.

Lucky for them, he does see to have gas left in the tank, as his hat trick propelled the Stars to a 5-4 overtime win over the Calgary Flames to even the series at two games apiece. His third goal - the game-tying goal - was scored with just 11.9 seconds left in the third period.

His next playoff goal (54th) will move him ahead of Jeremy Roenick (53) as third all-time American-born postseason sniper, behind Mike Modano (58) and Joe Mullen (60). Both Modano and Mullen have Stanley Cups, Roenick and Pavelski do not.

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