SAN JOSE -– There’s been some speculation lately, including here, that the Sharks will name Joe Pavelski as their next captain at some point in the future.
A tweet last week from Damien Cox of Sportsnet.ca suggested as much, while ESPN’s Craig Custance wrote on Wednesday: “Joe Pavelski is going to be the next Sharks captain. Unless there’s a monumental shift internally, this is inevitable.”
General manager Doug Wilson has made it clear that the ultimate decision on which players wear letters is up to the coaching staff. Todd McLellan indicated on Friday that nothing is imminent regarding Pavelski, or anyone else, getting a C stitched on his sweater.
Wins in six of seven games likely contributes to that stance.
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“I like where we’re at right now,” McLellan said. “I like the fact that a number of different players have stepped up, with their play but also with their actions away from the rink -– Pav included, because there’s speculation about him –- but [Tommy] Wingels, [Justin] Braun, [Marc-Edouard] Vlasic, you can go on and on.
“I think the staff has done a better job of including different personalities in the decision process. … The other thing is that the group is allowing others to participate, which is a real positive thing, too. There’s a lot of good things going on right now with the leadership and the way they are handling themselves.”
Is that different than last year?
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“Yes, it is, due in a large part in how I’m handling things,” McLellan said. “I include more people. I’m responsible for that. I include more [players], I allow more of the personalities to be part of the process –- less veteran-type stature.
“I’ve asked a lot of young players questions about what they think we should do in certain situations, and they have a say. They don’t have the end say, but they do get a say.”
The Sharks, of course, rearranged their leadership group in the offseason, taking the captaincy away from Joe Thornton, but later naming a rotating group of alternates including Thornton, Pavelski, Vlasic and Patrick Marleau.