Sharks

Joe Pavelski reflects on decision to leave Sharks, time in San Jose

Joe Pavelski reflects on decision to leave Sharks, time in San Jose

Joe Pavelski knew leaving San Jose was a possibility, but that didn't make his decision to leave the Bay Area any easier.

The former Sharks captain chose to sign with the Dallas Stars when NHL free agency opened, ending a 13-year run in the Bay Area.

As Pavelski prepares to depart California for Texas, he admits the decision to leave the only organization he's known was emotional, but he only has good things to say about his former organization.

"Oh yeah it was tough," Pavelski told NBC Sports Bay Area. "I don’t want to say it was harder than I thought it was going to be because I knew it was going to be hard once we got to that state and started looking at different teams and understanding that it was a real possibility that we should be prepared in case it gets there.

"I’ve only got good things to say about San Jose and the organization there," Pavelski continued. "The way the guys have treated me and the teammates that I’ve had that are still there. It was tough to leave. You don’t stay somewhere for 13 years and not grow attached to it. I’ve just got some tremendous friendships there and you know it’s not really goodbye it’s more of a thank you to the fans and everyone that was involved and helped turn me into the player and person I am today. Those decisions never come lightly and it wasn’t easy."

Pavelski leaves the Sharks having played the fourth-most games (963), scored the second-most goals (355), notched the third-most assists (406) and third-most points (761) in franchise history.

Despite all the goals and accolades, Pavelski couldn't pinpoint one thing he was going to miss about playing for the Sharks.

"Just the relationships," Pavelski said. "At the end of the day, being able to drive to the rink in San Jose, pulling up to the SAP Center knowing that the crowd was going to be out there excited, it’s just a special place to play, it was a bond that I really felt close to my heart with San Jose, just with the fans and scoring goals and celebrating and just wanting to play for the city and compete.

"It’s hard to pick one thing that I’m going to miss about it. I’m going to miss it all. But at the end of the night being out there on the ice and trying to win games for them and for the team, it was just a special place for 13 years."

[RELATED: Labanc expecting bigger role for Sharks in 2019-20]

Pavelski and the Sharks never were able to bring home the Stanley Cup during his time in San Jose. The 34-year-old laments not winning it all with the Sharks, but he doesn't have any regrets about his time in the Bay.

"Looking back we are proud of what we accomplished," Pavelski said. "We were always right there and definitely disappointed we never got over the final hump. We had some good opportunities. You always want a little bit more and you always wish you could have did something different, but you know looking back we don’t really have any regrets. we laid it all on the line and played hard. We didn’t get the bounce or make the play we needed but it was a fun ride we had."

The Sharks now will look for bigger contributions from Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and other young Sharks to fill the void left by Pavelski.

Pavelski will make his return to SAP Center on Jan. 11, 2020 to what is sure to be a rousing ovation.

Erik Karlsson, wife Melinda bring home daughter after two-week hospital stay

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USATSI

Erik Karlsson, wife Melinda bring home daughter after two-week hospital stay

Last Thursday was a day Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda never will forget.

After a two-week stay in the hospital, Erik and Melinda finally got to bring their daughter, Harlow Rain, home. It's been a big help to the Sharks defenseman, especially his sleep schedule.

"My wife's good with that. She's doing the heavy lifting," Karlsson said about his wife getting up to be with the Harlow, via Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News. "I can get my sleep and be able to do what I need to do for my profession. It's nice to have the family home."

Harlow was born a five weeks earlier than expected, with Karlsson having to fly home before the Sharks' season-opener against the Vegas Golden Knights to be with Melinda as she prepared to give birth to their daughter at the 35-week mark of the pregnancy. 

Harlow spent two weeks in the hospital, so doctors could monitor her, but she finally got to come home Thursday. Bringing their little girl home without complications was a weight off both Erik and Melinda's shoulders. The Karlssons suffered a horrible tragedy in 2018, when Erik revealed the couple had lost their son, Axel, a month before he was supposed to be born.

Thankfully, all is well with the newest member of the Karlsson family.

“When something good happens, you want to be able to bring her home right away,” Karlsson said, via The Mercury News. “We wanted to make sure she was OK. We were fine with that. It’s not the most fun to be at the hospital all day long, but when I was home, I was there.

“But my wife was there way more than I was, obviously. It just takes a toll. Just nice that we can be at home now and we can figure our own stuff out.”

[RELATED: Simek improving but still a ways off]

Karlsson and the Sharks haven't gotten off to the best start on the ice, amassing a 3-5-0 record through the first eight games.

They'll look to right the ship starting Tuesday when they open a five-game East Coast road trip against the Buffalo Sabres. 

With Harlow and Melinda back at home, Karlsson feels better about focusing on the ice and is excited about the prospect of parenthood.

“It’s great, Anybody with kids knows it’s a lot of work, a lot of it obviously falls on my wife and she’s doing a great job with it,” Karlsson said. “We’re new parents, so we’re going to have to figure things out.

“We’ve getting lots of help from people around here that have that experience, people at home. But at the end of the day, we’re going to figure out our own things and what works for us. We’re excited about that.”

Sharks' Radim Simek improving, but not expected to play on road trip

Sharks' Radim Simek improving, but not expected to play on road trip

The Sharks made good use of their three-game homestand, earning four of six possible points against high-quality competition to get back on track after a miserable start to the season. San Jose's improved play has coincided with Patrick Marleau's arrival and Evander Kane's return to the lineup, and the Sharks will attempt to build off their recent momentum as they head off on a five-game road trip.

Unfortunately for San Jose, it doesn't sound as if the team will get back further reinforcements for the games in Buffalo, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Boston. The Athletic's Kevin Kurz reported that defenseman Radim Simek participated in some practice drills Wednesday, but is unlikely to play on the upcoming road trip, according to head coach Peter DeBoer.

Simek underwent knee surgery in March and has been rehabbing ever since. He's been somewhat of a secret weapon for San Jose, as the Sharks went 29-9-3 with him in the lineup last season, and allowed lower rates of shot attempts, shots and chances with him on the ice in 5-on-5 situations than when he wasn't. San Jose has proceeded cautiously with Simek and won't rush him back, but the fact that he was participating in more physical drills Wednesday bodes well for a return in the relatively near future.

Speaking of physicality, that's an area DeBoer believes the Sharks have been lacking in recently, and one that both Simek and another on-the-mend defenseman can help out in. Dalton Prout has been out of the lineup since the first game of the season, but that's bound to change soon, according to the Mercury News' Curtis Pashelka.

With both Prout and Simek expected to rejoin the team soon, it begs the question as to who they'll replace. Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brenden Dillon aren't going anywhere, and rookie Mario Ferraro has played well beyond his years. Tim Heed has been in and out of the dog house, and the most likely scenario is that Prout and/or Simek takes his spot on the third pair.

[RELATED: Exclusive: Marleau reflects on Sharks return in ride to SAP]

The Sharks have done a good job to get their feet back under them. They won't be at full strength for the upcoming road trip, but clearly, they're getting closer.