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DALLAS – Minutes after the Sharks completed a 4-2 comeback win in Arizona last Friday, regrouping after a miserable first period, Joe Pavelski was asked what happened in the dressing room after the Sharks fell behind 2-0 to the lowly Coyotes.
“Watch Epix,” Pavelski said with a smirk.
Well, we watched Epix, and in what was probably the signature moment from a Sharks perspective through the first three episodes of the behind-the-scenes series, the cameras captured Pavelski letting his teammates have it in a profanity-laced tirade after 20 lackluster minutes.
“The pace has to be [bleeping] high,” Pavelski said. “Short, good changes. Can’t get skated. There’s a [bleeping] lesson out there. Twenty-five games left. [Bleep]. They’re all playoff games for us. We’ve got [bleeping] nothing right now. Soft [stuff] doesn’t win in the playoffs, and in the final 20 games it’s not going to [bleeping] win either.
“There’s one way we’re doing it. We’re doing it [bleeping] hard. … It’s going to be [bleeping] hard for the other team. Get our [bleeping] heads on straight and let’s [bleeping] do it right.”
After the morning skate on Thursday in Dallas, I asked Pavelski if he could add any context to that brief clip.
“There’s no context,” Pavelski said. “We wanted a lot out of that night and a good start. Whether guys were gripping their sticks too tight…it was just to get everyone going and make everyone aware of where we’re at.”
Ever since the Sharks rearranged their leadership group, taking the captain’s 'C' off of Joe Thornton’s sweater and opting to rotate four alternates, Pavelski has often been singled out as the inevitable next captain of the club at some point.
The new leadership structure was implemented with the idea of allowing new players to step up in the dressing room and take ownership of what’s happening on the ice. Pavelski was asked if that makes it easier for him to do something like he did in Arizona.
“It’s a good question. I don’t know. I’ve always looked at myself as playing the right way and trying to lead both ways.
“Maybe a little bit, maybe not. We needed a lot from everybody. … The energy has to be there and it has to be created with how we play, on the bench and collectively.”
Of course, no one should jump to conclusions based on a 30-second clip, especially considering the Sharks apparently have a fair amount of control over what gets aired and what ends up on the cutting room floor.
McLellan gave Pavelski credit for helping turn the tide against the Coyotes, but it wasn’t a one-man effort.
“I think Pav has been doing that for awhile. I think he did a very good job in that situation,” McLellan said.
“There were also a lot of other characters that were involved that night, and stuff you didn’t see, including on the bench where we got leadership from people we expect leadership from. Give Pav a tremendous amount of credit for doing that, but also be aware that there were others involved that did a really good job that night.”