Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/15/11 at 09:40 AM ET
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Had Thornton played here the way he played Thursday night in San Jose, it’s all but a guarantee that we wouldn’t be talking about a Stanley Cup drought that now approaches 40 years. Thornton played with fire, with awareness, with grit. He used his strength, size, speed, and smarts and made himself a presence on every one of his 33 shifts. He exuded confidence, toughness, and leadership.
If you’re old enough to remember, Thornton’s play Thursday night was reminiscent of the days here in the ’60s and ’70s when Bobby Orr took to the ice. What, duck out for a shift to grab something in the kitchen? Are you nuts? Miss a shift of that? Good luck to you and the Oakland Seals. Everything about Thornton’s play spoke to awareness and anticipation and game sense, to owning the sheet.
Just one example that doesn’t show up in the game summary: Thornton sprinting back to catch up to a two-on-one break and disrupt the Red Wings’ scoring chance some 10 feet in front of the net. Obviously, not a situation Orr often found himself in, but Thornton’s action was reminiscent of No. 4 in that it displayed such high-end speed and game intelligence and, most important, determination. With each ferocious stride, you could almost hear the big, bearded lug snorting, “Not . . . gonna . . . happen!’’
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