“That’s fine,” Pavelski said with a shrug after Wednesday’s practice.
Teammates, coaches and management expect that to change when the games begin because the 5-foot-11, 192-pound Pavelski can do it all.
“He’s not the biggest or strongest guy, but he has a nose for the net and he can play in every situation,” American forward Dustin Brown said.
Pavelski will likely center a line with Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk when the U.S. team opens the Sochi Games today against Slovakia. He may also move to the wing, a position he plays sometimes for the Sharks. And on special teams, Pavelski may be on the point or closer to the net for power plays and he’ll usually be on the ice as a penalty-killer.
Coach Dan Bylsma said no one wearing the red, white and blue is more versatile.
“It’s huge for us,” Bylsma said. “You can expect to see him in all those positions in this tournament.”
When the Brian Burke-led management team was putting together its roster for the 2010 Olympics, Pavelski was given one of the final spots ahead of players such as Scott Gomez. He was in the lineup for all six games at the Vancouver Games and had three assists.
“We picked Joe four years ago because he’s like a Swiss Army knife with so many functions,” said Burke, who is now the U.S. team’s associate general manager. “And he’s much better offensively now.”