DAVID KEON: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm David Keon of the National Hockey League's public relations department and I'd like to welcome you to today's call. With us we have San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski
. Thanks to Joe for taking the time today and answer your questions, and thanks to Scott Emmert and Tom Holy of the Sharks public relations staff for arranging the call.
Joe led San Jose in scoring recording eight points in the Sharks six-game victory over the Colorado Avalanche in the opening round of the National Hockey League playoffs. Among his five goals was a last-minute game-tying goal in Game 2, the overtime winner in Game 4, and the series-clinching game winner in Game 6.
In his fourth NHL season, all with the Sharks, the Plover, Wisconsin native appeared in 67 regular-season games, recording 51 points on 25 goals and 26 assists. He was also a member of the silver medal winning Team USA at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver this past February.
Later this week the Sharks will open the Western Conference Semifinals against the winner of the Detroit-Phoenix series, which concludes with Game 7 in Phoenix tonight.
Thanks again to Joe for joining us to answer your questions. Well open it up for questions. Q.
The post-season you've had statistically has been remarkable. One of the by-products of it in the media has been a comparison, contrasting between your performance and that of Joe Thornton
. Does that comparison make you uncomfortable at all, the scrutiny Joe goes under in comparison to the success you've had?
No, I don't think so. I think he would say we're trying to -- obviously, this first series we talked about was overcoming. Didn't really matter how we got there, we just wanted to win. I think other years he's led the way at times. It was just important we won. We found a way, however it got done. I think we're happy to be moving on to the next round. Q.
Joe, seeing how you're going to be meeting the Coyotes-Red Wings winner, what impresses you about both teams based on regular-season play and what you've seen in the post-season? What is going to be the most challenging aspect of playing against either the Coyotes or the Red Wings? JOE PAVELSKI:
They're both really disciplined teams. I think that's one of the biggest things. They've had good goaltending throughout the year when we've seen them. They're really structured. You've kind of seen it go back and forth throughout their series. I guess it's going to Game 7.
It's been pretty impressive the way Phoenix has stepped up, and they are really deep. I don't think they have really one guy who steps up all the time; they kind of get it done by committee.
It's the same way with Detroit. They got a lot of really good players and good defense. They're just kind of solid all the way through. They're fairly similar. It will be an interesting Game 7 tonight. Q.
What about the prospect of the Sharks facing either of these teams? What is going to be the thing that's going to keep you up at night in preparation for the series?
Well, I think we don't care who we're playing right now. We're going to have to overcome a good team throughout the way you look at any team that wins the Stanley Cup at the end. There's good teams along the way, every series, especially this year, the way every series has gone pretty deep for the most part.
Whether we see Phoenix or Detroit, obviously you got Detroit, and they've been there and they've had the experience. That's why you give them the edge I think in tonight's game, is they've been there and they've done it.
At the same time Phoenix, you can tell they're really hungry. So a lot of it will be about what we do, how everybody steps up. Every series you need some depth and you need your role players to score a few goals, you need your top lines to perform. It's something that every game is really critical. That first game should be, you know, pretty exciting, I think. Q.
Joe, can you talk about the feeling in the locker room after Game 6 when you closed out Colorado. Were you happy or was it more of like a sigh of relief that you were able to clear this first hurdle?
By no means was it a sigh of relief. I think we were happy, we were excited. A lot of work went into that series. You look at the first couple games, see the games we lost, putting 50 shots. We invested quite a bit physically. It paid off at the end.
It was good. We didn't want a Game 7. That third period they were up 2-1. We wanted to get it done. We put on a little press. Danny made a great shot there to tie it up. We were able to find a way to win that game.
I think it was more satisfying because it felt like we put the work in and we didn't really take any nights off. We didn't have a good game, then take a step back, kind of let them walk all over us. So that was encouraging there. That was one of the obstacles we wanted to overcome, was keep going, keep pressing, putting the hard work in, see where it gets us. You do it right, you're more than likely going to win most series. Q.
Joe, it's been a couple days since your series ended. It will be a couple more before the second round begins. I'm wondering what you are doing with the time in the middle and if you prefer it get going sooner than later? JOE PAVELSKI:
I think the earliest we can play is Thursday, latest Sunday. Guys want to play Thursday. Four days off I think we'll have then. That's more than enough. Either way, I think we'll be ready. But Thursday would be good.
Just trying to keep your legs, get your rest when you can recover. You know, you're still preparing a little bit. You see these teams enough to know that you can go and play them back-to-back and be ready for them either way.
For the most part we have an understanding of what they're doing, their tendencies. So I think we'll have a day or two to prepare and then we'll just go. Q.
On a personal level, what do you enjoy most about the post-season?
Well, just the atmosphere. It's unbelievable, the intensity. You feel it the night before games. You feel it watching all the games on TV. Sometimes you just got to step away and just kind of try to get away from it because you can get yourself overexcited. That's an easy thing to do.
You step out on the ice, especially in the Shark Tank at the HP there, the crowd has been great. Game 5, we scored a couple goals, I think that's the loudest it's ever been in the building. It helps us. We like playing in there. The fans have been great for us. It's a good thing we have home ice. Hopefully we can use it a little better here in the next series. Q.
Joe, you talked earlier about the idea of overcoming and how the first round is about overcoming. Obviously the Sharks have done so well in the regular season over the last few years, not done well in the playoffs. Can you talk about the idea of overcoming that reputation or just the feeling that you have trouble advancing. How do you overcome that?
Well, that is our reputation right now. You got to work extremely hard to change your reputation once something happens. A lot of us in that room have only been to the second round. I mean, a few guys won Cups. We know that experience. But it's something, you always got to reprove yourself every year.
So it's a new challenge for us. We haven't made it past the second round in four or five years, I think, not since I've been here. It's new territory. We got to understand it only gets harder and more important games. The mental side of the game I think is really important for us.
Overcoming situations, we got to take it game by game. The first game is important. We haven't won one of those in a while. I think the guys will be ready for that one. Q.
Is this something that you guys actually have talked about, like, We got to turn this around? JOE PAVELSKI:
No, not really. We've heard it in the media. You know, I think guys are aware of it. But there hasn't been, We got to win Game 1 or we're not going to win the series. But it's going to make our jobs a lot easier if we can accomplish that and hold on to home ice.
Joe, you talked a little bit earlier about everybody needing to produce, whether it's your depth players or top line guys. Like your reputation for being in the playoffs, Thornton, Marleau, Heatley are counted on to lead you guys. How can you help get them rolling and have them be the regular-season players they are in the post-season? JOE PAVELSKI:
You know, that's a tough question. Everybody feels different at certain times. I guess the only way you can help is just worry about yourself.
You know great players are going to work it out. You know, we earned another series, which gives them time. You know, we expect great things from them. They've led us all year. That's what we expect now.
But, as well, everyone's got to lead in their own way and establish their game. You saw in the first series, Scottie Nichol and Manny, Malhotra, they all scored big goals for us, got us going at certain times in the games. It's important. So we expect them.
They had some good looks at the net, as well. A few pucks didn't go in. They're working just as hard as anybody right now. They want it just as bad as anybody. So hopefully it goes in for them and hopefully it keeps going in for everyone else, too.