Tuesday, January 10, 2017

San Jose Sharks: All-Star Team Pacific Division

     The Roster for the 2017 NHL All-Star Games were announced earlier today.  The San Jose Sharks will be very well represented this year.  Not only will they be sending three terrific players but Head Coach Peter DeBoer will also be coaching the Pacific Division team this year! I was a little bit surprised that DeBoer was selected as head coach in the Pacific over the hosting team L.A. Kings coach Darryl Sutter.  Sutter coached the Pacific division All-Star team last year to a surprising win over the Atlantic Division team in Nashville.   Since the All-Star Weekend is being held at the Kings home arena of Staples Center, I thought Sutter would be a natural choice.  Though the Kings have been struggling a lot this year, mainly due to some unfortunate injuries especially that of goaltender Jonathan Quick.  As such while they remain in playoff contention, they are holding on by the skin of their teeth to the last wild card slot for the Western Conference.  This may be one of the reasons why DeBoer was selected over Sutter to coach the pacific team this year.
     That being said Peter DeBoer has proven himself to be an excellent coach, bringing the San Jose Sharks to their first ever Stanley Cup final appearance last season.  For the second time in his NHL coaching career he managed to get his team to the Stanley Cup Final in his first year with the team.   DeBoer has also provided the leadership and coaching expertise that has kept his team in the top slot in the pacific division for much of this season so far.  The Sharks are currently at 24-14-2 for the 2016-17 season and are in good shape to make another playoff appearance this year.  He has a record of 287-244-85 in 616 career games in the NHL between the Florida Panthers, the New Jersey Devils, and the San Jose Sharks and has gone 28-18 overall in his two playoff appearances.
        The three players selected from the Sharks to represent the Pacific Division at the All-Star game and skills competitions on the 28th and 29th of this month are defenseman Brett Burns, center and Captain of the Sharks team Joe Pavelski, and Goalie Martin Jones. This will be Brett Burns' fourth career appearance at the All-Star competition.  He was not a a surprising choice for the team as he has consistently been one of the leagues to scoring defensemen and is among the favorites so far this season for the Norris trophy.  Burns so far this season has 39 points with 15 goals and 24 assists in 40 games played.  He has a great sense of humor and is always fun to watch not only in the game itself but also in the skills competition.
      Joe Pavelski will be appearing in his 3rd All-Star competition this year.  This season Pavelski is tied for 13th in the league in points scored at 37, and tied for 7th in game winning goals with 7.  In the Pacific division he is tied for 5th in goals scored at 15.  For the Sharks team Pavelski is tied for first on goals and second on assists both with Brett Burns.  Had I known that the Sharks would be bringing 3 players I would have said that Pavelski was a natural choice.  I had thought that they would only get to bring two and expected them to be Burns and Martin Jones.  I was pleasantly surprised that all three were selected, it would have be a shame for Pavelski not to have made the cut, and I am very glad he will be representing the Pacific division.
     The final Sharks representative this year will be goalie Martin Jones.  This will be his first time playing in the All-Star game.  As of right now Jones is ranked third in the league in wins at 20 and ninth in the league in goals against average at 2.22.  This is his second season as a starting goaltender in the NHL and he has performed very well for the Sharks these last 2 seasons.  I believe that he is the main reason that the Sharks were able to make it all the way to the final round in the playoffs last season.  In a career 134 NHL games Jones has a goals against average of 2.19 and a save percentage of .919.  He will be appearing as the Pacific division goalie along with Mike Smith form the Arizona Coyotes.  While Smith is an excellent goalie who has been having a fantastic season I was very surprised that he was selected above the Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.  I thing not having Talbot appear in the All-Stars is perhaps one of the largest oversights made in this years pacific division roster.
       Congratulations to Coach Peter DeBoer and Brett Burns, Joe Pavelski, and Martin Jones, the three Sharks players representing the Pacific Division in this years All-Star Competition! I look forward to seeing them all do what they do best during the All-Star Weekend competitions.

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