Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/12/13 at 11:03 AM ET
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
You want to wear a sandwich board that blares, “I Don’t Know Jack About Hockey?” Go tell an NHL player that Thornton is the reason why the Sharks have not won a Stanley Cup. “Winning is never about one guy,” says Mike Cammalleri, who puts Thornton in the same league as Pavel Datsyuk and Sidney Crosby when it comes to dictating the pace of a game. Lee Stempniak wonders aloud if there’s another guy in the NHL who is more dangerous on his backhand than his forehand or, at least, Thornton’s equal....
Hockey in general loves its labels. In Thornton’s case, it’s the big, slower-moving player who gets the “lazy” tag. Or the, “he-doesn’t-want-it-bad-enough” label. It goes back to Frank Mahovlich, runs through Tim Kerr and Dave Andreychuk, and settles on the plate next to Dustin Penner’s pancakes. “The debate that exists out there is because of his personality,” says San Jose coach Todd McLellan, who was an assistant in Detroit, where true leadership was everywhere. He compares the Thornton we never see to Steve Yzerman in Detroit, whose intensity was more palpable to those on the outside. “Every now and then the door shuts, and Jumbo is able to bring things to order.”
Then the door opens and Jumbo is smiling again, talking about the weather. Nothing to see here, folks. Just two or three playoff rounds every year for nearly a decade, like clockwork, and a point per game for 15-plus seasons.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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