A few years back I had a chance to talk golf with Joe Pavelski before he hit the big time in the NHL. At the time he expressed a desire to someday play in the American Century Championships at Edgewood that start Friday. Joe Pavelski an excellent golfer as well. Last year he was third in the tournament. Wednesday, he took time to talk with the media about game seven against Las Vegas this year, recently leaving San Jose to sign with Dallas and the ACC tournament. Here is the transcript from the press conference – Dennis Miller
Joe, you just got here, getting away from golf, talking hockey as you did this morning for the Rotary Club, can you walk through what happened in the training room when you were being patched up (against Las Vegas), stitched up, examined and you’re hearing the horn go off for four goals and tying the game?
JOE PAVELSKI: Looking back to that night, it was — I really remember coming to, when I got close to the bench and Jumbo Thornton was right in my face, saying everything is going to be all right. The guys really took care of me well there, and we got in, and just couple of quick questions and came back right to pretty good news.
Game 7, it was right around the 10-minute mark. And then we started putting the first staple in, I think the first goal horn went off. I remember looking up at Razor, our trainer, did we score? He gives me a little laugh, I guess it’s 3-1. By the time the last one was probably going in, the horn was going off again, it was 3-2.
After that I made my way over to the trainer’s office, I just remember sitting in the office chair, we had the little screen on there with the game. I remember just kind of taking a deep breath and looking over, it was 4-3 all of a sudden. And it was just like, how did that just happen?
And he was just like, well, we scored on the power play, we got a few on the power play. I was like we got one, how did the other ones happen? He was like, no, it was a five-minute major. And it was just a pretty special moment.
Proud of the guys, the way they really stepped up and got that job done. And everybody, when they bring up the playoffs, they go right to those ten minutes and how special a night it was, and anyone that was in that tank, the Shark Tank there, and the atmosphere that was created, it was — I just have fond memories about it.
I got to experience it from down below. Right after 4-3, a few guys that weren’t playing, funneled into the training room. We were watching the game. I remember getting up with about a minute left to go out and watch with them and kind of — they scored right away to make it 4-4. I made my way back into the training room, sat down there, and it was an interesting feeling. I definitely was hurting, had the headaches and stuff. But had that feeling that we were going to win. And it was going to be all right. And sure enough, it was an awesome play by Goody right there, and the guys battling to get the overtime game and keep our season alive.
With the new move to the Dallas Stars — congratulations, by the way — I’ve got to think there’s some emotions left behind with all the years in San Jose as the captain and playing in front of those fans down there. How have you been dealing with that recently?
JOE PAVELSKI: Yeah, it was a decision that was extremely difficult, I think, for all of us, for myself, for my family. Just understanding when we got to that process that we probably have to start looking and be prepared in case it did get all the way to free agency. It was tough. And our heart definitely was with San Jose. But when certain things weren’t going to match up, it was — we’ll start the process. And what an interesting process it was for me and going through it the first time and talking, figuring out where we wanted to be. And some of the things that we were trying to accomplish, because we knew if we were going to leave San Jose, just a great spot for us and the success we had there, we wanted to be able to go to a good team and a team that could be as competitive and we believe has a chance to win. And it’s tough to leave a team when you believe they have a chance to win as well, but I think we found a great home in Dallas.
I guess this week is going to be a little bit gentler than the playoffs. But last year you finished third in this event, in the final group on Sunday. Have you had a chance to play much golf since the season ended can? We know it wasn’t that long ago.
JOE PAVELSKI: Played a little bit. Didn’t get to play as much with the injuries. Just taking it slow. And the game was getting pretty good and then free-agency week or two hit and it took about 10, 11 days off. So last week or two we’ve gotten back out there, been hitting the club. The game’s in a decent spot you hope at the end of the day the touch is there and we can get that ball in the hole a little bit. And it is golf. So, we’ll see what happens. But what a special week for us as players being able to come out here and experience this again and the weather looks great as always.
You’re going off at 15-to-1 at Caesar’s odds, at the sports book over at Harrah’s and Harvey’s. Might you be making a little walk over there, venturing something on yourself?
JOE PAVELSKI: We’ll see. It’s always fun seeing those odds come out and being a part of that and just a different side of things. And 15-to-1, I like my chances, if I can hit the ball the way I did last year for sure.
The experience you had last year coming down the stretch again with the final group playing with Mulder and Romo, does that help you this year do you think? Does it depend on the day?
JOE PAVELSKI: It depends on the day. I felt confident going into that day last year. I hit the ball pretty good. Didn’t make a ton of putts. Didn’t hit it extremely close to have a few easy ones. But it definitely helps. You definitely learn something from it. And worse case, you know how much fun it is to be in that group. So, it’s something to play for.