Timo Meier

Sharks' Joe Thornton dressing down, playing goalie during NHL pause

Sharks' Joe Thornton dressing down, playing goalie during NHL pause

Hockey players wear a lot of gear, and in the NHL, they're expected to don formal wear on their way to and from the arena. So, with the season indefinitely paused due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it would be tough to blame them for dressing more casually while sheltered in place.

Sharks veteran Joe Thornton appears to be taking that to heart. Just look.

Well, the beard's still there. Phew.

Thornton and teammates Timo Meier and Marcus Sorensen recently participated in a brief Q&A, which you can find on the team's official website. Within it, the players were asked how they've been keeping busy, and it sounds like Jumbo has had his hands full with his kids.

In addition to being a self-described "pretty good math teacher," Thornton has maintained a hockey element in his quarantine lifestyle.

"We live on a hill," Thornton responded when asked how he's staying active, "so our family has been doing walks up and down it. Been playing a little badminton with the kids in the back, and lots of hockey with my six-year-old. LOTS of hockey. When we play, I'm usually in net, and I'm usually [former Shark] Al Stalock or Roberto Luongo. Sometimes I'll be Joney (Martin Jones) or Deller (Aaron Dell), but a lot of Al and Lou."

The NHL extended its self-quarantine recommendations for players and staff again on Tuesday, this time until April 30. So, it would appear Thornton has at least that much longer to work on his goaltending skills. 

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In explaining what he misses about sports, "Joe Thornton’s trademark shirtless interviews" was one of the first things NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil recently mentioned. We don't know when the next one will be, but in the meantime, hopefully his quarantine wardrobe selections -- or lack thereof -- will suffice.

How Sharks' Timo Meier is handling coronavirus pandemic in Switzerland

How Sharks' Timo Meier is handling coronavirus pandemic in Switzerland

Timo Meier is back in Europe, and doing just fine.

But his country is not.

“It’s pretty bad here in Switzerland,” the Sharks forward said last week via FaceTime. “Obviously, the [coronavirus case] numbers increase daily. I try not to read too much into it, but you can’t really avoid it.”

Switzerland, with a population of less than 9 million, has one of the highest COVID-19 cases-per-capita numbers in the world. Greater than Italy, Spain or the United States as of last week.

“Here, we have the rule that you’re not allowed to be around more than five people outside,” Meier explained. “But I’m trying to stick to the rule of staying home. Only go outside when really needed.”

It became a quick decision for Meier to leave San Jose. He wanted to be near family, but that obviously necessitated a trans-Atlantic flight to reach Zurich. Boarding that plane during a pandemic was slightly terrifying.

“It was definitely weird flights,” Meier said. “I was trying to be really cautious — luckily, I had some hand sanitizer. After everything I’d touch, I’d sanitize my hands. A little too cautious at times, but you really can’t be. I was really trying to limit everything and don’t touch too much stuff. I made it here safe.”

Meier isn’t necessarily a germaphobe, but he knows this experience could have an effect.

“It’s definitely going to translate after this is over,” Meier said. “I’m going to be a little more careful than I was before, but I think that’s a good thing.”

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Days lately are simple and repetitive for the 23-year-old. They include sleeping in, a morning workout, an isolated afternoon walk in the hills, and usually a glass of wine with dinner.

Meier seems perfectly content under isolation, so long as things remain similar for he and family: “I’m not complaining too much.”

Joe Pavelski's game-winner vs. Jets symbolic of clutch Sharks' tenure

Joe Pavelski's game-winner vs. Jets symbolic of clutch Sharks' tenure

Programming note: Joe Pavelski's game-winning goal in the Sharks' thrilling, last-second 2019 victory over the Winnipeg Jets will re-air on Saturday, April 4 at 9 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay California.

What a game. What a finish.

Joe Pavelski served as captain in multiple capacities throughout his time with the Sharks. Captain of San Jose, Captain America, and frequently, Captain Clutch. On March 12, 2019 against the Winnipeg Jets, both bookend descriptions were apt.

The Sharks entered the game on quite a run. They were undefeated in March, riding a five-game winning streak, including an impressive 3-0 road shutout over the Minnesota Wild the night before. Marc-Edouard Vlasic got San Jose on the board first, but Winnipeg responded with two goals over the ensuing 65 seconds, an early sign that the Sharks would have their hands full.

San Jose pulled even before the first intermission, and both sides managed to score once in the second period. Precisely two minutes into the third, Marcus Sorensen gave the Sharks their first lead since Vlasic's opening goal, but Matheiu Perreault knotted things up for the Jets with less than four minutes remaining in regulation, setting up for what appeared to be an overtime finish.

Pavelski never let it get that far.

With less than 15 seconds remaining in regulation, Winnipeg broke into San Jose's defensive zone, but Vlasic got a stick on a Jets' cross-ice pass, turning a scary defensive situation into an odd-man rush opportunity. Timo Meier raced up the open ice and collected the puck right as he crossed Winnipeg's blue line. Coming in at high speed, Meier attempted to set up Pavelski for the game-winning goal by lifting a saucer pass over the lone remaining Jets' defenseman's stick.

Before the puck reconnected with the ice, Pavelski swatted it out of mid-air, directly into the back of the net with 4.3 seconds left on the clock.

Game over. Winning streak extended in Winnipeg.

It was the usual suspect. Throughout Sharks franchise history, only Patrick Marleau has accounted for more game-winning goals than Pavelski's 60. Though it wasn't apparent at the time, his game-winner against at the Jets that night turned out to be the final one he scored for San Jose. Pavelski departed for the Dallas Stars in free agency last offseason, and while his goal total (14) might be on the decline, he hasn't lost his penchant for the clutch (three game-winners).

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Pavelski worked his way from being the No. 205 overall pick in the seventh round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft to being named captain of the United States National Team. Though not the biggest or fastest skater, there was never a harder worker. He endeared himself to Sharks fans through his leadership and effort, and those 355 regular-season and 48 playoff goals didn't hurt either.

Sharks' captain. Captain America. Captain Clutch. Any and all will do.

If you need a reminder as to why, tune into NBC Sports California tonight at 9 p.m.