Joe PavelskiIt wasn’t long ago that Plover, Wis. native Joe Pavelski was wreaking havoc on the United States Junior Hockey League as a member of the Waterloo Blackhawks. 

Pavelski then moved on to play his college hockey at the University of Wisconsin, where he led the Badgers to the 2006 NCAA Championship.  Pavelski played two seasons with the Badgers and led the team with 56 points (23g, 33a) in 43 games.

After the 2006 NCAA title, Pavelski took his game to the pro ranks and has increased his point production with the San Jose Sharks every season.  The 2008-09 season saw Pavelski score 25 goals and dish out 34 assists for a total of 59 points.

Now, Pavelski is ready for the Olympics.  He has plenty of support around him.  Two other former Badgers, Ryan Suter and Brian Rafalski are on the squad.  Pavelski is also one of 8 San Jose Sharks playing in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, although many of them are for different countries.

Pavelski and the U.S. squad has little pressure.  They’re not projected to medal in men’s ice hockey, which should make for a pretty loose atmosphere when the Americans lace em up against Switzerland next Tuesday. 

It’s interesting that the last time the Americans won gold in hockey was with the 1980 Miracle on Ice team.  Ironically, that team wasn’t expected to compete for gold, let alone medal either.

AUDIO: Bill Scott previews Olympic hockey team and State star Joe Pavelski :52

[Bill Scott previews the US Olympic hockey team, led by Wisconsin’s Joe Pavelski :52]

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