Pacific-leading Sharks skate into All-Star weekend
Despite winning six of their last seven games, the San Jose Sharks could probably use a break. They’ve played 10 games in 17 days, which have included three back-to-backs.
So, on the heels of a deflating 4-1 home loss to the Oilers that dropped them back into a tie with Edmonton for first place in the Pacific Division, the Sharks will take a much-needed All-Star break and watch as four of their representatives participate in the mid-season spectacle.
The most notable selection is Jones, who will be making his first All-Star Game appearance. Only in his second season as a full-time starter, Jones ranks fourth in the NHL wins with 28 and is sixth in goals-against-average (2.25) amongst goalies with more than 20 starts. The stats are notable considering his workload; Jones’ 42 starts are second in the league, trailing only Edmonton’s Cam Talbot.
It’s been a long journey for Jones, who went undrafted in 2008 and worked his way from the minors to NHL backup to starter — and now an All-Star. DeBoer told the Bay Area News Group:
“I’m glad Marty Jones got rewarded. It’s a great story as far as the way he’s come up and not been handed anything and worked for everything he’s got. Now he’s established himself. I’m very happy for him.”
Burns and Pavelski will be making their fourth and second appearances in the game, respectively. Both were relative shoe-ins; Burns leads all defensemen with 21 goals and 51 points, while Pavelski is 19th among forwards with 42 points.
The two will also participate in the Skills Competition on Saturday. Pavelski will play with the Ducks’ Ryan Kesler and the Kings’ Jeff Carter in the “One Timers” portion of the Skills Challenge Relay against Chicago’s Duncan Keith, Minnesota’s Ryan Suter and Chicago’s Duncan Keith. He’ll also compete in the Four Line Challenge, an addition to the Skills Competition where players will attempt to hit the target from progressively further starting points.
Burns will also participate in the Four Line Challenge, though on a different team than Pavelski. It’s a given that he will have a spot in the Hardest Shot competition; Burns’ hard shots from the point wreak havoc on opposing defenses on the regular.
This is also just the second time in Sharks’ history (2009) that three players along with a coach were selected as All-Stars.
Eleven players were selected from each division for the All-Star Game, and the game will be played in a 3-on-3 format.
The Skills Challenge begins at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, while the puck drops for the All-Star Game at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.