Just a few seconds before Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal for Team Canada in the 2010 Olympic Games, Joe Pavelski had a chance to win it for the Americans.
Roberto Luongo stopped Pavelski’s quick turnaround wrist shot from the faceoff circle though, and the puck was quickly transitioned the other way. The rest is history.
Pavelski will seek redemption as part of the 2014 team in Sochi, Russia, as he was officially named to Team USA on Wednesday following the Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, MI.
“I remember in overtime just kind of knocking a puck down right in front of the net there, and just turning and firing,” Pavelski said on a conference call, shortly after the announcement. “Just one of those feel plays, and you come back to the [bench], and I remember (backup goalie) Tim Thomas just kind of saying how close it was. Luongo made a little save with his shoulder to keep the game going.”
Thirteen Americans in all will return to the Olympics from the 2010 squad that fell just short, including Pavelski, a Wisconsin native. The 29-year-old had three assists in six games with a +2 rating as Team USA won the Silver Medal.
“It’s four years later. We’ve all kind of grown up in the NHL and played against each other and with each other, and with a lot of the players that we’ll be competing against,” Pavelski said.
There was little doubt that Pavelski would make the team, as he’s second on the Sharks with 16 goals and is tied for second in scoring with Patrick Marleau with 37 points. Pavelski attended the orientation camp in Washington before the NHL season started, too.
At the same time, it was a relief to him when everything was made official. He pointed to an abundance of big-game experience in helping him become one of the United States’ best hockey players.
“Playing with the Sharks organization we’ve been good, and played in a lot of important games along the way to kind of gain experience in those big moments. I think all of it helps,” he said.
“They talk about the body of work, and have a good start (to the season). You feel like you have a better chance. You don’t know until your final name is called there, but it’s definitely a good feeling being on the team.”
Joining Pavelski on the USA roster will be several players that are bitter rivals during the NHL season. Among them are Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick of the Kings; Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler, and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks.
The Sharks forward indicated it’s easy to put those previous battles aside.
“You know you’re going to leave it on the ice, play, and do everything you can to win. That’s one of the easiest things,” he said. “You step on the ice, you’re all on the same team, and you’re just trying to find a way to win together. It is pretty easy to come together, I think.”
Several other Sharks are in consideration for their respective countries for the Olympics, which will take place in mid-February. The deadline for Olympic rosters is Jan. 7.
The United States plays its first game on Feb. 13 vs. Slovakia.