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SAN JOSE – Immediately following the Sharks game on Saturday, Joe Pavelski was asked if he was disappointed he wasn’t named to his first career All-Star game despite being fifth in the NHL in goals.
“It’s one of those things. It’s great when it happens. If you don’t, you take your rest. It’s a long season. … It is what it is,” Pavelski said.
There was a sense of disappointment in the response, but perhaps that had something to do with the Sharks losing 3-1 to the Rangers. When the local media circled back to Pavelski after Monday’s practice, the 30-year-old forward didn’t seem nearly as upset.
“I wouldn’t say disappointment by any means. It’s one of those things. If you look around the league, there’s a lot of guys having good seasons that aren’t there. That’s just the way it goes. It’s a numbers game. We’re really looking forward to the break.”
Pavelski has been arguably the Sharks’ best player so far this season, even though it was Brent Burns who was named as the lone San Jose All-Star for the event in Columbus in less than two weeks.
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At the same time, he’s played plenty of hockey in the past 12 months, including the 2014 Olympics in which he skated for Team USA. The Sharks will have seven full days between games around the break, including five in which they will be completely free from Jan. 22nd through the 26th. Practice resumes on Jan. 27, and the Sharks host Anaheim on Jan. 29.
“We’ve played a lot of hockey over the last few years, Olympics and different things like that,” Pavelski said. “From a family standpoint, it’s going to be fun to have a little break and kind of relax that way, and get back to make a big push because of where we are in the standings. Every game right now is a fight.”
Todd McLellan said: “Joe is very deserving of it. I think he knows that and his teammates know that, but there’s only so many that can go. When you’re not named, it’s probably a bit of a downer, but after that you’ve got to look at the benefits of not going, too, and that’s him getting some rest and healing up and [getting] ready for the last third of the season.”
Pavelski, named as a second team NHL All-Star at left wing after last season, admitted that he would welcome taking part in the mid-season festivities at some point before his career is over.
“Yeah, I think that’s one thing you’d like,” Pavelski said. “It’s something you work toward. Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter.”
There has not been an All-Star game since 2012, due to the NHL lockout and last year’s Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Other Sharks players that were arguably All-Star caliber include defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, far and away San Jose’s best blueliner from a defensive standpoint; Logan Couture, second on the team in scoring with 15 goals and 36 points, and Joe Thornton, who has 33 points in 39 games, including a team-leading 24 assists.
Thornton, by the way, was not anticipating on going to Columbus anyway. Prior to the announcement on Saturday morning, he said through a wide smile: “I’m planning on going to Cabo to be honest with you, but thanks for the question.”