SAN JOSE, Calif. --There are several links that you’re probably aware of between the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks. The Sharks GM (Doug Wilson) is a former star defenseman with Chicago. An assistant coach (Trent Yawney) and a scout (Dirk Graham) are former Hawk head coaches. And the links even trickle down to the players.
Though they remain good friends and are in contact often, they won’t be going to dinner during the conference finals. Business is business, but they do have the ultimate respect for each other.
“He was always good in college,” Burish said of his friend. “And the thing with him is he’s won everywhere he’s been. He won in juniors, we won together in college, he won a state high school championship.”
Pavelski is an emerging star in the NHL. He made the U.S. Olympic team and leads the Sharks in points and plus/minus through the first two rounds of the postseason.
“It’s kind of what you’re seeing in the playoffs here,” Burish said. “He doesn’t get a whole lot of recognition. He doesn’t get a whole lot of press and he doesn’t see the top checking lines a lot so it gives him a lot of free space. When he feels that confidence, he’s dangerous. I played with him for two years and I got a lot of free points that way.”
“He has a knack for finding the puck and finding good areas around the net.”
Pavelski was equally effusive in his praise of Burish.
“He competes really hard,” Pavelski said. “He steps up. He likes the big games and the moments like that. He has the same kind of character as [in] college.”
Living together off-campus in college always brings with it some stories but Burish isn’t sharing—at least not yet.
“I know a few of them but he doesn’t have many dirty secrets,” Burish joked. “Maybe he knew this day was going to come sometime so he didn’t want to give me much juice.”
As for Pavelski, he wasn’t talking either, even about the “show” Burish put on at his friend’s wedding. “You’ll have to ask him,” Pavelski deadpanned.
Still, Burish might have something up his sleeve before the series is over.
“He’s got more on me than I have on him but I have a few little aces in my pocket that I’ll bring out on him,” he said.
“The problem is [he’s] so big and strong in front and if you get in there and battle with him, first of all, you’re going to tire yourself out on the penalty kill ... and then you create a double screen for [Evgeni] Nabakov. The first shot is going to come, you have to take care of that stick on the second one. When he got his hat trick there, it was his net presence with second opportunities.”
When Duncan Keith was nominated for the Norris trophy, one of the people he gave credit to was his first head coach, Trent Yawney. Yawney is an assistant with San Jose.
“I don’t know if I saw the Norris Trophy in terms of Duncan Keith’s immediate future,” Yawney said. “Duncan deserves a lot of credit for his ability to take in information and apply it to his game. Everybody sees his skill, but he’s a tremendous, tremendous hard worker. Seabrook and him really complement each other. ... They really work well together.”