Joe Pavelski says controversial cross-checking penalty wasn’t worth five minutes

The five-minute cross-checking penalty given to Vegas Golden Knights forward Cody Eakins, which turned around Game 7 for the San Jose Sharks, has generated plenty of controversy.

The referees who issued the call after watching Sharks captain Joe Pavelski bleeding on the ice were not assigned to second-round games.

But how does Pavelski feel about the call?

He spoke to the media for the first time since that injury and said he didn't see any maliciousness in the play, in which he was cross-checked in the chest, got twisted around, was checked again and hit his head on the ice. He even considers Paul Stastny, the second person who hit him, a friend.

Eakin drills Pavelski and Cap slams his head onto the ice. #SJSharkspic.twitter.com/W0KWAwMLBo

"I’ve got no issues with that play," he said. "Was it a five-minute major? No. I don’t think it was. … Am I glad they called it that way? Heck, yes.”

That's because the Sharks scored four times on the major penalty to turn a 3-0 deficit in the third period into a 4-3 lead. They eventually won 5-4 in overtime to advance to the second round and give Pavelski a chance to return to action.

"From that moment on, what the guys did after that, to actually go and do that and score four goals, it was a special night," he said. "It was one of the tougher nights and one of the better nights at the same time to be a part of."

Joe Pavelski receives treatment on the ice after being injured in the third period against the Golden Knights. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham, Getty Images)

Pavelski heard the comeback while getting eight staples in his head to close the gash.

"Getting the first staple in the head is probably when the first goal horn went off," he said. "It was kind of being like, ‘What was that? Did we score?’ By the time the fourth or fifth staple was going in, it was going off again. It was like, ‘All right, cool.’”

Pavelski began to feel a little better the morning after the April 23 hit and says everything has been improving the last four to five days.

We have a @jpav8 sighting in the Shark Tank! pic.twitter.com/wtC9mwsRSc

He was at Game 5 on Saturday night waving a rally towel to get the Sharks and their fans revved up and will accompany the team to Denver on Monday, where it can finish off the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6.

When he can return to play still is to be determined.

"I feel like I’m getting closer," he said. "I feel like I want it."

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