Sharks notes: No love from Milbury; Pavelski on KHL

Sharks notes: No love from Milbury; Pavelski on KHL
January 18, 2013, 9:15 am
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Mike Milbury: "Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are aging veterans who reached their potential years ago." (AP)

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NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury had some harsh words for the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

Speaking on the NBC Sports Network’s SportsTalk, Milbury was asked which team in the Western Conference is the most overrated.

“That’s an easy one, actually. San Jose. For about three years in a row I picked San Jose to win the Stanley Cup, and I guess you just can’t fool me anymore,” Milbury said. “Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are aging veterans who reached their potential years ago. It doesn’t look like they have the stuff of champions. Doug Wilson has stuck with them probably too long. I don’t know if he can get anything for them in a trade. This is a team that’s sort of limping along on past promises.”

Milbury wasn’t much kinder to the defending Pacific Division champion Phoenix Coyotes, labeling them as “smoke and mirrors,” and a team that’s likely to miss the playoffs. He likes the Kings to repeat as the Western Conference champs.

Irwin impressing Boyle

Now that Brent Burns and Jason Demers have been ruled out for opening night (and probably longer), Matt Irwin appears poised to make his NHL debut on Saturday. As we’ve noted multiple times here and on Twitter, Irwin has been skating with Dan Boyle throughout camp.

Boyle admitted earlier in the week that he didn’t know much about Irwin, but when asked about him again on Thursday, Boyle seemed sincere in his praise of the 25-year-old who has yet to play an NHL game.

“I was in his shoes years ago, and nerves can get the best of you, but it’s important that he just trusts in his abilities and he’ll be fine. He looks really good so far,” Boyle said.

Pavelski reflects on KHL

It took a little while for Joe Pavelski to get going in the Kontinental Hockey League. In his first eight games with Dinamo Minsk, Pavelski had just one assist, but proceeded to record four goals and five assists over the next seven games.

I asked him on Thursday why he started off so slowly, whether it be conditioning, or getting used to the larger ice surface.

“A little bit of everything. Trying a few things out. No doubt I should have been better than what I was early on,” he said. “It didn’t happen that way, so it was good to start playing with the puck a little more and getting more confidence.”

Did he learn any Russian while he was abroad?

“I know a couple words here and there, but I’m not going to be repeating them any time soon,” he said with a smirk.

Kennedy an All-Star

Worcester Sharks forward Tim Kennedy was named as the team’s representative to AHL All-Star Classic in Providence, RI on Jan. 27-28.

In 31 games with Worcester this year, Kennedy has 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points. The former Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers forward likely would have been in Sharks training camp, but suffered an injury just prior to the end of the lockout.