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Behind Enemy Lines: Joe Pavelski on Torrey Mitchell

The Sharks captain dishes on his former San Jose teammate

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

Despite engaging in some heated battles on the ice, opposing NHL players often forge enduring friendships away from the rink. We thought it might be interesting, then, to do some reconnaissance in the visitors' dressing room to get an occasional take on a Canadiens player from a friendly foe on another club. Today: Sharks captain Joe Pavelski on his former San Jose teammate, Torrey Mitchell.

You and Torrey played for a few years together in San Jose. What was your first impression of him?
Just the speed that he could bring and the tenacity when he gets on the puck. That's what's allowed him to play for as long as he has. I still remember the training camp [in 2008] when he broke his leg. He was flying around that year, but it was a tough injury. It took him a few years to get back and get some of that speed and his confidence back. He's just a cool guy. He loves having a good time, he loves hanging around the rink, and he loves to compete. He's definitely one of my favorite teammates I've been around. 

Did you guys become friends right away? How often did you hang out away from the rink? 
We knew a little bit about each other earlier. One of my teammates from high school was actually one of his roommates in college. We got drafted one year apart and we've been to a few camps together. It was pretty exciting to make it to the NHL around the same time.

Are you guys still in touch nowadays?
Yes we are. I like to see Mitchy when we play against each other. We text and call each other here and there. Unfortunately we don't spend as much time together as we used to, but it's always fun to see him. He's one of those guys where even when you don't see him for six or seven months, we can pick up right where we left off.

You guys are both married with young kids. How much have your conversations changed since your early days together? A lot of diaper talk now? 
A little bit, definitely. We're at a different stage of our careers now and it's always fun to see how he's doing. He's got a beautiful family and I'm happy he's doing well in Montreal.

You and Torrey were roommates on the road during your first few years together with the Sharks, right? What kind of roommate was he?
He was a great roommate, always joking and having fun and pulling different pranks. There were some good ones. (laughs) 

How often did you fight over the remote control? Who would end up with it the majority of the time?
(laughs) He was my remote control! I usually made him get up and change the channels with his fingers. 

You both were pretty young guys on a veteran team when you first started in the NHL. Did you guys ever get in trouble with the older guys?
I think there were some moments where we did, but we were pretty good. Being a little bit older now, looking back we can appreciate those moments and how those guys brought us along. 

Rob Blake once told us that he used to invite Torrey over for dinner pretty often. Did Torrey ever invite you for dinner at his place? 
We've had some good meals together, but there have been a few "incidents." (laughs) It's tough to say what his best dish is.

Is his game in the kitchen as good as his game on the ice?
He probably talks a big game, but I don't know how good it is!

Could you tell us something on Torrey that not a lot of people would know?
Oh God. I'll just say that he doesn't like wearing thin shirts. (laughs)

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