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Fear the Five: Highlights from Pavelski’s weekend at American Century Championship

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The best from the captain’s weekend in Tahoe.

Jeff Bayer / American Century Championship

This is “Fear the Five,” a recurring series where we present a lighthearted list of five things somehow related to hockey. The lists aren’t presented in any particular order.

Joe Pavelski’s weekend was certainly better than mine. The San Jose Sharks captain spent the weekend golfing in Lake Tahoe, playing in the American Century Championship for the second consecutive year. This isn’t any old golf tournament, though, with fans watching from the water and a basketball hoop set up between tees. With that in mind, here are the best moments from Pavelski’s weekend in Tahoe.

Joe’s jumpers

On the first day of the tournament on Friday, Pavelski teed off with Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Green Bay Packers (and former Cal) quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Playing alongside Curry, the best jumpshooter on the planet and perhaps of all time, seemed to bring out the best in Joe’s jumper on Friday, and throughout the weekend.

Pavelski did not play alongside the NBA’s first-ever unanimous MVP on Saturday and Sunday, but he may have stolen his talent, Space Jam-style, as his shot was wet all weekend.

He even managed to make a shot under defensive duress from Curry, a strong defender in his own right.

The Mutumbo finger wag was cold-blooded. I think this officially makes Pavelski an honorary Splash Brother. The Sharks may have to sign him to an extension next summer, when he’s first eligible to do so, just to ensure Steve Kerr’s Warriors don’t sign him first.

Hitting the other kind of field goal

Pavelski wasn’t just limited to basketball field goals over the weekend, though. The former Wisconsin Badger and lifelong Green Bay Packers fan also showed off the leg and his kicking skills.

The Sharks captain has now shown proficiency in hockey, golf, volleyball, basketball, and football. At this rate, the United States may not need to send an entire Olympic delegation to Tokyo in 2020, and instead could use Captain America in every single event.

Stellar Sharks superlatives

SB Nation got in on the fun in Tahoe, covering the event on Facebook Live. Pavelski sat down with Dan Rubenstein and Matt Ufford on Friday, and provided projected professions for his Sharks teammates if they weren’t playing hockey.

Yes, we’re burying the lede, because as funny as imagining recently-signed Chris Tierney rounding up rambunctious five-year olds a la Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s not as insane as imagining Brent Burns getting bitten by a cheetah.

Pavelski’s story confirms an amazing anecdote from Sports Illustrated’s Burns March 2016 profile, when Joe Thornton recounted the story of an eventful trip to the Columbus Zoo.

“We were in a zoo in Columbus. We’re there and these cheetahs are out, and these are beautiful creatures. Just to see one is very, very cool. We got to go real with them and hold onto them. Burnsie was the first guy. He wanted to get in there and hold this huge cheetah. Like, they’re not small. This thing’s long and big. ‘I’ll do it,’ Burnsie says. So Burnsie’s petting this cheetah, and all of a sudden the cheetah lunges at Burnsie and bites him. And me and [Colin White] look at each other like, what the f—just happened? And he took it like, no big deal. It was so weird. He got bit by a cheetah. How many guys could say that and live? The way he handled it was, of course I’m going to get bit by a cheetah. WE were both terrified and he took it like no big deal, just a little scratch. He must’ve had a mark of the two teeth and a bruise there [on his ribs] for a little while. I think he does have a cheetah tattoo on him now too.”

This is all the evidence we need that Burns got cheetah-like powers and turned him into a Norris Trophy winner, as Pavelski implied in the interview. He may be great at hockey and all of the other sports he played this weekend, but I think we found the one thing Pavelski’s bad at: protecting someone’s secret identity. Which makes sense, considering everyone knows he’s Captain America.

Musings on Marleau

The current Sharks captain offered his thoughts on the return of former captain Joe Thornton, as well as the loss of Toronto-bound former captain Patrick Marleau (h/t Curtis Pashelka):

A top-12 finish

And now, finally, to the actual reason Pavelski was there: his golf game. Pavelski finished tied-for-12th, with a final score of 51, 22 points off of back-to-back-to-back winner Mark Mulder. On the first day, he birded or parred each of the first 16 holes.

Pavelski had a 1.8 handicap as of July 1, according to the Wisconsin State Golf Association, and was a top-10 finisher at the same event last year. He did not win the Battle of the Bay, as Curry finished fourth, but Pavelski still left Tahoe with some bragging rights, as the highest-finisher among active NHL players at the event.

His golf game is good, but someone’s got to let him know about the Twitter typos.