Heading into today’s action, San Jose Sharks’ Joe Pavelski was leading the Stanley Cup playoffs in points and goals scored. He’s also from a town just outside Steven’s Point, WI called Plover whose population is just about 10,000.
And he was a member of the University of Wisconsin 2006 National Championship team.
While everyone knows Dany Heatley, Brian Rafalski and Chris Chelios – the most famous Badger alums, Pavelski is by far the most successful of the newest wave of UW players in the NHL. While Brian Elliott is working his way up, and Adam Burish is certainly famous in Chicago, Pavelski has quietly become the leader at San Jose. All this from a kid who probably wasn’t one of the first five or ten names someone could list off that 2006 roster.
In last night’s game, Pavelski scored two goals and had an assist and was 13-3 in the faceoff circle.
In the first series of the playoffs, Pavelski kept San Jose’s hopes alive by scoring the goal that forced overtime in the series clincher, as well as the OT game winner.
In scoring twice last night, Pavelski notched his third straight multi-goal game, a feat that hasn’t happened since Mario Lemieux did it in 1992.
Follow the jump for more on Pavs, Badger hockey and college players in the NHL
And while we do love us some Pavs, I have to say that last night’s San Jose/Detroit game was a commercial for Badger hockey, as Rafalski had 3 assists and Heatley had 2.
The first game of this series made history when each of those guy’s scored a goal – it was the first NHL game in which three players from one US university scored.
I’m always happy when Badgers show well, but all this scoring and headline stealing is also good for college hockey as a whole. A little research shows that less than a third of the NHL was comprised of college hockey players.
I harped on this when Rafalski and Toews, among others, showed well in the Olympics – all this exposure at such a high level is great for the college hockey game.