Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: joe thornton
Scott Morrison of Sportsnet with the feature...
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
At about 9:30 on the night of Sept. 15, 1885, in the small southwestern Ontario city of St. Thomas, Jumbo the Elephant was being led through the rail yards to his boxcar after a performance with the Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson Circus when an unscheduled westbound freight train hurtled down the tracks and slammed Jumbo from behind, dragging him 100 yards. One hundred men were needed to free the body of the nearly 12-foot tall, 6-1/2-ton African elephant. Ashes to ashes. Tusk to dust. The tragic demise of the world’s first four-legged superstar is marked by a plaque that abuts the tracks, some 200 yards northeast of the old Northside Arena, where Joe Thornton, the NHL’s Jumbo, played youth hockey.
St. Thomas is where Thornton grew up. And up. The Sharks center stands 6' 4" and 220 pounds, his imposing stature accentuated this spring by a luxurious expanse of beard that looks as if it were modeled on a daguerreotype of a Civil War general. (The Confederacy’s John Bell Hood, to be precise. You can look it up.) Thornton is not the biggest player, physically or metaphorically, in the Stanley Cup Final; Penguins star Sidney Crosby has a chance to win the Cup for a second time. Still Thornton wears the nickname honestly even though Glen Murray, Thornton’s old right wing in Boston, who with Bruins teammate Travis Green popularized Jumbo Joe, says he had no idea of the link between Thornton’s hometown and the world-renowned pachyderm. Unlike the fate of the original Jumbo, who would be re-imagined into big-eared Dumbo to the delight of 20th Century America’s youth, “Jumbo Joe” was a happy accident.
“You know how in sports you’re always looking for the right fit?” asks Murray, now a Kings player development coach. “How a guy fits on a team, on a line, in a dressing room? Well, here’s a nickname that just fit. His name was Joe. And he was really big.”
Joe Thornton is a guy that just likes to keep things loose and have fun. But he’s all about business when it comes to giving his team their best chance to raise hockey’s greatest prize.
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
The folks in Joe Thornton's inner circle are torn. They want outsiders to know the kind of guy Thornton truly is, to learn that the San Jose Sharks center has as big a heart as any superstar in hockey. But they realize he's more than content to keep that part of his personality private.
"He helps people, but it's just to help people, not for other people to find out about it," said his brother, John. "That's the thing."
There might not be a more generous superstar in hockey -- with his time, his money, his willingness to include those around him. But you'll never hear Thornton talk about it.
"That's what makes him so special," said former Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray, a close friend. "Some guys, you tell the story and they make a big deal out of it. The big story with Joe is that's not why he does it. He just does things because he's a genuinely nice, kind-hearted person."
Still, his friends and family are eager to correct the public perception of Thornton, which is often skewed.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Even when DeBoer wasn’t with the Sharks, he viewed Thornton as the solution. He never tied San Jose’s postseason inadequacies, which included losing in the first round to the Los Angeles Kings in 2014 after a 3-0 series lead, directly to Thornton.
“It’s a misconception,” DeBoer said. “When you hear that, and when you are around Joe Thornton, you realize how ridiculous it is. This guy is exactly what you want in your dressing room and on the ice if you are trying to win a championship.”
Thornton’s regular-season scoring rate is .98 points per game and his playoff scoring rate is .75 points per game. But most of the game's stars, including Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, see their production decrease in the postseason when checking is more relentless.
From 2006-12, a period when the Sharks were suffering from annual postseason disappointment, Thornton registered 69 points in 79 playoff games. He had a goal and two assists, and looked strong, in the five-game first-round triumph against the Kings. San Jose begins its series with the Nashville Predators on Friday night (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
“The fact that he hasn’t won (a championship) has nothing to do with him or the effort he puts in,” DeBoer said. “I don’t think he could be a better leader or example or have more passion for winning. He’s just one of those guys whose stars haven’t aligned yet.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
We were talking about longevity and career plans and how, in an era when youth is being served all around the NHL, there are still a few holdouts here and there – a Jaromir Jagr, a Shane Doan and yes even a Joe Thornton – who defy the years and the era they play in and still find a way to succeed.
The one common factor is their great love of the game. You ask Thornton why, at the age of 36, he is still thriving in the NHL and the answer comes easily: there isn’t another thing he’d rather be doing. After all these years, the life of a professional athlete – competing against his peers on the ice, enjoying the camaraderie of the dressing room off the ice – still holds a certain little-boy appeal.
Thornton and Jagr share the same genuine joie de vivre when it comes to playing the game, which is what inspires them to keep doing it long after many of their peers have stepped aside.
“I don’t think you play the game at that level at their ages unless you genuinely love the game,” said Sharks’ coach Peter DeBoer, who also coached Jagr for most of two years with the New Jersey Devils. “Joe loves everything about the game. He’s the first guy at the rink on game days. He’s preparing 3 1/2 hours before the game starts. Every time we have an optional practice, he’s on the ice, working on some part of his game.
Scott Morrison of Sportsnet with a feature on the Boston Bruins trading Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks.
Anyone care to read between the lines?
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Joe Thornton is going to be an interesting test case for the Hockey Hall of Fame even though he clearly should be a no-brainer. But no question there are those who will hold his lack of a Stanley Cup against him. Of course, he still has time to win one before his career is out. But even if he doesn’t, it would be ridiculous to make that argument against him. His career screams Hall of Famer.
The Case For
Thornton, a consistent top-end point producer his entire career, currently sits 36th all-time in regular-season points with 1,259 (358 goals-901 assists), ahead of Hall of Famers Michel Goulet, Bernie Federko, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mike Bossy and Glenn Anderson, among others.
And he’s still got a few more seasons left in his career. For example, say the 36-year-old center plays three more seasons and I’m very conservative here in projecting 60 points a year. That puts him on pace for 1,439 career points, which would rank him 16th all-time, sandwiched between Teemu Selanne and Bryan Trottier.
As it stands, his 901 career assists are 19th all-time already, one assist away from passing Bryan Trottier.
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
A little more than a month after Joe Thornton told his general manager to "shut his mouth," the veteran center took two jabs at his coach during Wednesday's locker clean-out session.
No changes were made in the Sharks hierarchy, but Todd McLellan's future remains in doubt. McLellan has said he wanted to discuss his situation with his family before deciding if it made sense to come back for the final year of his contract.
"I have no idea," Thornton said when asked if a coaching change was needed. "Todd has to talk to his family. Maybe he should talk to this family as well in here. We'll see what happens."...
When Thornton was asked, he said failure to make the playoffs shows there is room for improvement as far as team culture. Where would that improvement need to come from?
"Everywhere," he said. "It comes from the coaches, and they bring it down to us. It comes from everywhere."
"Joe's not going anywhere. Joe is a San Jose Shark."
"He and I have not only a contractual agreement, but a handshake agreement. As I say, our relationship is extremely strong. I know Joe. I appreciate him. I've known him since the world juniors. I care about him a lot. He knows how I feel about him. I was actually complimenting him and supporting him when I was talking to our season-ticket holders."
San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson. Read more on this topic from Katie Strang of ESPN.
from David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News,
Long-simmering issues between Sharks general manager Doug Wilson and veteran center Joe Thornton boiled to the surface Friday when Thornton had a direct response to Wilson's latest explanation of why the 'C' was removed from his jersey.
"I think Doug just needs to shut his mouth," Thornton said after his team's morning practice. "I think that's the bottom line."
Thornton added: "All I've got to say is I've been here every day working hard. I haven't taken a sabbatical. He just needs to stop lying, shut his mouth."
In a Thursday night meeting with about 350 season-ticket holders, Wilson was asked again about the decision to strip Thornton of the captaincy. The Sharks have gone with four alternate captains this season and Thornton has that leadership role instead.
from Dan Robson of Sportsnet,
The part that’s hard to let go of, though—the thing that hurts much more than the loss of a letter—is his team’s chronic disappointment in the playoffs. The constant feeling that the team is good enough to get there but just can’t find its way. “It doesn’t matter if it’s five years ago or this year,” Thornton says and sighs. “They all sting the same.” Those who have seen how the losses wear on Thornton aren’t fooled by the smiling front he tends to put on. Chris Bailey, a police officer in London, Ont., played novice hockey with Thornton in St. Thomas and the pair have been close friends since. He’s never seen Thornton go easy on the idea of winning. “Everything he does is game seven to him,” says Bailey. “Whether we’re playing golf, cards or rock, paper, scissors—he wants to win. That’s the only time he shows his emotion.”
As the trade deadline nears, Thornton’s name is bound to hit the headlines again. There are several teams that would happily add him to their roster in exchange for some fresh talent to bolster a Sharks core built around young stars Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture. The speculation that Thornton would agree to waive his no-trade clause is just too juicy to ignore. But he insists it won’t happen: “I don’t know how many years I can play, but I want to retire as a Shark,” he says. Thornton still believes that this team—his team—is his best chance at breaking a playoff curse that’s followed him through nearly two decades and finally getting to raise the Cup. But anything less, and it’s one more season of scapegoating Joe.
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
An injured Joe Thornton will miss his first game in more than four years when the Sharks face the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
Thornton did not take part in the morning skate and coach Todd McLellan confirmed the 35-year-old center will be sidelined because of the hit to his shoulder that knocked him out of Wednesday night's 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
"When you lose a player of his stature and caliber and skill level, everybody has to pick it up a little bit," McLellan said. "And if that happens, we give ourselves a chance. If it doesn't, then we'll be chasing it from behind."
The coach said Thornton is "day to day."
Below, watch the hit on Thornton...
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Should Wilson end up making such a request in the coming days, weeks, even months, Thornton leaves you with the impression that it wouldn’t matter anyway. After he and fellow longtime Shark Patrick Marleau inked extensions back in January, he claims it is his desire to remain in a San Jose jersey for the remainder of his hockey life.
“That’s my plan,” he said. “I signed a three-year extension (worth $20.25 million US) last season in the intent to finish my career as a Shark.”
Even if other teams make a grand pitch to woo him?
“Yes, that’s still my intent (to stay),” he said....
After an internet item last week suggested the Leafs were again looking at the Sharks forward, colleague Terry Koshan immediately received a question from a fan during a Toronto Sun Live Chat about a possible trade scenario involving Thornton. It wasn’t the first time Jumbo Joe’s name has come up in such speculation - and it certainly won’t be the last.
“It’s flattering, sure, that other teams would want to trade assets to acquire me, for sure,” Thornton said. “It’s just like any employee who works for Ford and GM wants you. It’s flattering. That’s the way I look at it.”
You are probably familiar with the dynamics of the Joe Thornton situation (seems like the theory is, "Take the 'C' away, see if he waives the no-trade," as ESPN's Craig Custance reported), you are probably familiar with the dynamics of the Ryan Kesler trade (he says he's going to where deserves to be, and in Vancouver, it's, "Everybody thought he was a dick"), so:
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch pulled double-time in covering the Sens' picks, Jason Spezza's situation (what's so bad about a guy turning down a trade to a team that's on his no-trade list? Emo GM Bryan Murray will tell you) and positing a Sunday rumor column, and he addresses a situation we haven't necessarily talked about as of yet:
There has been a lot of controversy in Chicago over whether the Hawks have been trying to deal forward Patrick Sharp or not. While it was heavily denied by Sharp’s agent Rick Curran that his client was on the move, Sharp’s name has been popping up all over the place in trade talks. Several teams say he’s available, so it will be interesting to see if he’s still there when push comes to shove after this summer. The Hawks are already over the salary cap and will have to cut money somewhere.
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Tags: boston+bruins, chicago+blackhawks, chris+kelly, colorado+avalanche, joe+thornton, matt+niskanen, patrick+sharp, paul+stastny, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+kesler, san+jose+sharks, thomas+vanek, vancouver+canucks
The free agent "wining and dining period" has been a bit of a pain in the rear to keep up with, but it's at least intriguing to witness player agents just cut out the middleman and tell actual reputable sources, "Oh yeah, we met with team X, team Y and team Z" instead of having to read someone's column about "league sources" (who are almost always agents or hopeful GM's).
But the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch has arrived in Philadelphia, and it wouldn't be the draft or five days till free agency if Garrioch didn't provide us with both an update on Jason Spezza's status...
It's believed as many as five teams -- including St. Louis, Anaheim, Phoenix, Nashville and Florida -- have made calls on the Ottawa captain. The club is mulling over what route to take.
With Spezza requesting a trade, the Senators would like to have a deal in place by Friday, but the club would like to get a No. 1 pick to replace the one Ottawa gave up in the deal for Bobby Ryan with Anaheim last summer.
Murray along with assistant GM's Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee were expected to sit down Wednesday to discuss the different scenarios because this is a deal that has a chance to be a game-changer.
Updated with LeBrun stuff at 6:57 PM:
TSN's Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie discussed pre-draft trade and free agent discussions in an edition of Insider Trading that lasts for nearly four minutes. TSN usually posts a summation thereof, but if you don't want to wait until 7:30 or 8...
1. McKenzie says that there are 3 teams in the Western Conference (Anaheim, St. Louis +?) and 1 "mystery team" in the Eastern Conference who are talking to the Ottawa Senators about Jason Spezza (who has a no-trade list of 10 teams, incl. Florida, Carolina, Columbus and the Islanders). McKenzie says the Senators want a 1st-round draft pick as part of the compensation package.
2. Dreger says that David Bolland wants "maximum value," and he wants an 8-year deal at $4.9 million to remain with the Leafs. Toronto probably won't give him the term he wants, but Bolland believes he'll be healthy by training camp;
3. Dreger says that the Oilers are looking for a center and a defenseman, and they're willing to trade the 3rd overall pick and/or Sam Gagner in their efforts to improve the team, which may include trading for the Panthers' 1st overall pick;
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Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+boyle, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, jason+spezza, joe+thornton, paul+stastny, ryan+kesler, sam+gagner, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs, vancouver+canucks
The veteran center truly believes that his best chance at winning a Stanley Cup is with the Sharks if a few changes are made, and it would mean more to do it there with long-time teammate Patrick Marleau, who he waited to make sure signed in San Jose before signing his own extension. Thornton hasn’t submitted a list of acceptable teams to GM Doug Wilson, and hasn’t been asked to do so either. That likely won’t change anytime soon. Because of that, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Thornton would okay a deal.
In theory, the Sharks could try to force him out by stripping him of the captaincy before the season starts, but the reality is that Thornton would probably accept a back seat on the leadership front to younger players like Logan Couture or Joe Pavelski if everyone felt it was the best path to a championship in San Jose.
-Craig Custance of ESPN on Joe Thornton. vVa ESPN Insider, but you can read a few other topics without a subscription.
Paul Grant Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues are among the clubs to watch when it comes to the big-name free-agent centers.
Both clubs, we hear, have talked to the Vancouver Canucks about Ryan Kesler and to the Ottawa Senators about Jason Spezza, although they are hardly alone; several clubs have checked in on both available assets.
It's not surprising that Anaheim has inquired about both, as the Ducks' desire for a high-end, No. 2 center is hardly a state secret, especially when the club tried to hard to get Kesler at the March 5 trade deadline.
What we're hearing out of both Ottawa and Vancouver is that the price is too high for each center, perhaps because we haven’t got to draft week yet in Philadelphia when things are expected to heat up.
Then again, the Canucks view Kesler as quite a bargain at a $5 million cap hit the next two seasons. Spezza has only a year left on his deal but his offensive talent is a major drawing card the Senators are banking on cashing in on a trade.
One club we’re told that is intrigued is the Detroit Red Wings, although at this point it's just that, pure intrigue and other than a very preliminary discussion, there hasn't been much work done on that front.
For starters, I don’t think Detroit can do something of that magnitude as long as Stephen Weis sand his $4.9 million cap hit remains on the books for the next four years. Good luck moving that contract.
more plus additional hockey topics...
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
Here's the latest word from the Joe Thornton camp:
One thing might get the Sharks captain to reconsider his stated intent to remain in San Jose despite suggestions from management that it may be time to move on, according to his brother and agent, John Thornton.
"If he felt the fans didn't want him in San Jose, he might re-think things," John Thornton said when asked if his brother would want to play where it was apparent he was not wanted.
Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet says the Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to trade for Joe Thornton.
The Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger posited a pair of speculation-based columns on Friday evening, wondering aloud whether Dan Bylsma might be a "fit" for the Canucks, and he also suggested that the Toronto Maple Leafs and several other teams have inquired as to the availability of San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton:
It should come as no surprise, then, that the Leafs are among at least six NHL teams who have kicked tires concerning Thornton’s availability.
And why wouldn’t they? With centre being a position of need for the Leafs ever since Mats Sundin left, why not make an inquiry if someone of Thornton’s ilk might possibly come on the market?
Leafs general manager Dave Nonis has often said that GMs often ask each other about the chances of players being on the block. As he has pointed out in the past, it’s part of a GM’s job to do his due diligence.
That doesn’t mean that it has gotten anywhere near the point of offers being exchanged. So, those of you who already have a Thornton deal worked out in which Dion Phaneuf goes to San Jose to replace the recently traded Dan Boyle, slow down.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The latest scuttlebutt on who's going where and why as another big season of free agency approaches:
It has the potential to be quite the offseason when it comes to high-profile centers changing teams.
We always say top centers don’t grow on trees and are hard to come by, well, there are at least two on the market in Ryan Kesler and Jason Spezza and it remains to be seen how it plays out on the Joe Thornton front.
First, in Vancouver, where the Canucks went fairly down the road in trade talks involving Kesler before the March 5 trade deadline, in particular with the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins, before deciding the offers weren’t good enough and pulling him back.
The question is, what’s the deal with him now given the new management in place in Vancouver?
Sources said new Canucks GM Jim Benning has already taken calls from teams on Kesler, if for no other reason than they’re wondering if he’s still available or not....
Spezza, with a year left on his deal, indicated to Senators management that he would welcome a change if a deal that makes sense comes Ottawa’s way. I suspect talks will heat up on that front closer to the draft later this month.
And, in San Jose, the Sharks have indicated they are entering a rebuilding mode. What does that mean for Joe Thornton, who signed a three-year extension earlier this season? Does he want to be around for a rebuild? Either way, Thornton holds all the cards with a no-movement clause. Same goes for Patrick Marleau, for that matter.
more on Kesler and other topic too...
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
When he was acquired from Boston, he made a solid team a Stanley Cup contender overnight. If the 34-year-old retired tomorrow, he’s already done enough in his career to merit consideration for the Hockey Hall of Fame, and it’s primarily for his accomplishments during his eight-plus seasons in teal.
The Cup never came, though. And, now it could be time for Thornton and the Sharks to amicably part company.
To be clear, Thornton is far from only player to blame for the Sharks’ historic collapse to the Kings in the first round, or for any of their previous failures in the postseason. Against Los Angeles last month, the team’s core players all failed in spectacular fashion in the final three games of the series loss, the goaltending was unsteady, and the defense missed its most vital cog in Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the final two games.
But at the conclusion of that collapse, no one in the organization argued that San Jose didn’t have the talent to match up with the Kings, and a 111-point regular season backs that up. Instead, general manager Doug Wilson and head coach Todd McLellan pointed to the coaching staff’s message inexplicably not getting through to the players....
Comcast SportsNet Sharks analyst Bret Hedican said: “It does speak to the leadership group, and is saying to me that the leadership either isn’t on board with what he’s trying to do, or strictly isn’t bought in to understanding what it’s going to take to win. … If the leadership has not bought in with the understanding of what it’s going to take to win, then it probably explains why we’re in the predicament that we’re now in, watching the Sharks get beat by the L.A. Kings for the last couple of years.”
added 1:05pm, San Jose press release below...
CSN Bay Area mic'd up Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski during a recent San Jose game...
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.
The Canucks did win the game 4-2 over the Sharks.
Probably the shortest evening line I have done...
"We want to go after teams, we want to smother teams."
-Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks. Much more on San Jose from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo.
Keivn Allen of USA TODAY and the president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, along with Scott Morrison, joined Sportsnet's Hockey Central Show yesterday to discuss the reporting aspect of the 'Joe Thornton quote'.
Mark Spector of Sportsnet with his views on the same subject.
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
An offhand and off-color remark by Sharks captain Joe Thornton has turned into an online firestorm.
Only one media outlet in the locker room actually used what Thornton had to say, but once the Vancouver Province put the full statement on its hockey blog, it was widely distributed through Twitter and appeared on other sites such as Deadspin.
The Sharks took issue with the decision to post what Thornton said.
"I don't think it would be a surprise to anyone in the industry that 'locker room talk' exists," Sharks director of communications Scott Emmert said in a prepared statement. "Professional reporters understand that concept and respect it."
If you missed what Thornton said, you can read it here and it may be offensive to some.
I think Toews feels Thornton embellished the call a bit.
Both received 5 for fighting, Toews received 2 for boarding and 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct, probably starting a fight with a visor on.
via David Pollak of Working the Corners,
...nothing out there suggests the Sharks might be receptive to an offer for Thornton, and that really is what matters most, no?
Never say never, of course, but here’s a reality check. While Doug Wilson has a stock line of being open to whatever will improve his team, it’s not likely that the Rangers are going to offer Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal to pry away the Sharks captain. Sure, that’s an overstatement, but you get the point.
And on top of that, there is the no-trade clause in Thornton’s contract – though maybe the chance to play at Madison Square Garden might not make that a huge obstacle. Considering Thornton’s off-hand comment last fall about the Rangers being a a soft team – for which he later apologized, of course – it would be hoot to see what kind of reception Joe would get from the upper balcony at MSG.
All of the above is intended to throw cold water on whatever buzz may be developing on that Thornton mention. Frankly, it’s not even a rumor at this point, just a well-placed “could happen.”
“We’re not on our toes, you know what I mean? We’re very reactive right now, and that’s not how we usually play. When you’re playing your best, you’re not thinking, you’re going out and enjoying it. Right now we’re just thinking a little bit too much.”
“We’ve got nine games left and fate rests in our hands. And that’s a good thing. We’ve got games against teams in front of us. We just have to play well in these last nine games, and that’s all there is to it.”
-Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks. More from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
“I couldn’t believe what he was doing and I don’t think the referee could either. “I know of no other captain in the NHL who would have so little class like Thornton exhibited.”
-Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks on Joe Thornton poking his glove in his face. More and other topics from Gord Stellick of CBC.
If you don’t recall the incident, you can watch it here.
... Joe Thornton doesn’t like Swedes…
More evidence below… ha.
from Pat Leonard of the Blueshirts Blog,
John Tortorella did not appreciate Sharks captain Joe Thornton calling the Rangers soft after the Blueshirts defeated San Jose, 5-2, Monday night. Not one bit.
“Yeah it caught me off-guard when it was brought up after the game,” Tortorella said at the team’s Greenburgh practice facility Tuesday morning. “It surprised me, and I’ve never heard a player say that. Joe’s a heck of a player, but here’s a player popping off about our team, and Joe hasn’t won a g—damn thing in this league. He could go down as a player, being one of the better players in our league never to win anything. So what he should do is just shut up. It was uncalled for, it was classless, and I’ve never had it happen like that before.”
via Darren Dreger tweet,
Thornton says “soft” was not the right word to describe Rangers. He was frustrated says it was a game SJ should have won with NYR struggling
added 8:36pm, video of Torts from yesterday after the game and today after practice can be watched below…
via Katie Strang of ESPN New York,
“They were probably the softest team we played on the trip. We should have had these two points.”
-Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks after losing to the New York Rangers 5-2 tonight.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella after hearing the words from Thornton?
from Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News,
Whether he’s in screaming pain for 25 shifts or numbed from head to skate toe, Joe Thornton will be heard from in Game 5 Tuesday, somehow and someway.
He is hurt, but Thornton will play in Vancouver with the Sharks down 3-1 and facing elimination, because he says he’ll play.
“When Joe Thornton comes to you and tells you he’s playing,” coach Todd McLellan said Monday, “he’s playing.”
And there’s more to it than that.
Though Thornton gave added credibility to his tenure as Sharks captain in several recent playoff performances, this new moment is loaded with even greater potential symbolism.
The Sharks’ season might be flickering out, but Thornton’s reign as the team’s unquestioned leader could be taking off from here.
Joe Thornton was gone for the latter part of the game and no updates on his condition were available to the press in the post-game press conferences.
Others may disagree, but I think it was a clean hit. Still, Thornton’s had a great playoffs and it would be unfortunate if this turned out to be serious at all. We’ll cross our fingers that he’s alright.
Update 6:58pm ET: From Working the Corners—
The Sharks did not make Joe Thornton available to the media after that 4-2 loss and Todd McLellan said he had nothing to report yet when he was asked about his captain’s status during the post-game press conference.
But a text message to Thornton several hours later did get this response when he was asked the chances he’d be ready to play in Game 5 on Tuesday night.
“100 percent,” he wrote to my Mercury News colleague Mark Emmons. “It’s playoffs, got to play through everything.”
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!’’
more plus numerous hockey topics discusssed…
From Dave Lozo at NHL.com, some thoughts from Joe Thornton:
Q: Are you feeling more relieved or excited about the Game 7 victory?
A: Satisfied. It’s satisfaction, yeah. We thought we’d win this game at home. We felt pretty good.
Q: Can you tell us the emotions you’ve gone through during this series?
A: Couple highs, couple lows. But really, this team all year—a lot of people here right now haven’t followed us—we’re pretty even-keeled all year. I think it just showed now. We went up 3-0 and didn’t panic (losing the last three games). We just came out and played. That’s what we did tonight.
Q: How nice was it to see Patrick Marleau get the game-winning goal?
On to the Western Conference Semifinals for the Sharks.
Here is the goal as described b the TSN crew…
His 306th career goal added to his 694 assists give him 1000 regular season points.
St. Louis’ David Perron has missed 13 games since a Joe Thornton hit on him, giving him a concussion. It was a good hockey hit, the type players grow up learning. Still, Thornton had to be suspended. You can’t take that hit out of the game, but the league has to try; concussion prevention simply hasn’t kept up with the strength of players.
-Jake Leonard of the San Francisco Chronicle
If you need a refresher, watch the hit below….
from David Pollak of Working the Corners,
Players and one San Jose broadcaster had suggested that Perron embellished the hit by lying flat on the ice for a while in order to make sure Thornton got the maximum in-game penalty. The fact that Perron was back on the ice less than five minutes later and ended up scoring a goal certainly bolstered the idea.
So were players ready to back down now that the St. Louis forward has been held out of two games?
“Like I said, from what we saw on the bench, it didn’t look that bad,” said Dan Boyle, one of the players I talked with that night. “We felt he embellished. . . . The fact that he’s missed a couple of games certainly makes it a more legit injury. But it didn’t look right from the bench and then he came back right away.”
Both Boyle and Dany Heatley noted that it was unfortunate that Perron has missed a couple of games and “nobody wants that at all.”
But Heatley stuck to his original statement as far as Perron “did stay on the ice to get that five-minute call.”
Did Joe Thornton actually think his suspension would be overturned by Bettman?
Joe’s brother John, who was part of the appeal process, had this to say.
I guess being 5’9” was Joe’s only solution to avoid this suspension. We are extremely disappointed with the league’s decision and feel the continuing uncertainty with league actions will only hurt the fans of the NHL
The quote is via Pierre LeBrun’s twitter where you can read more on this topic.
from Jamie Baker of the Broadcasters Blog at Sharks.com,
What message is the NHL sending?
· Playing with your head down is okay?
· Being bigger is not okay – especially when your shoulder is at the same level as someone else’s chin?
· Faking an injury after an apparent head contact hit is okay?
It is a trend that I am starting to see; players diving or faking injuries to draw penalties. I have one quick solution to fix that – take the instigator penalty out of the game because it is protecting the divers.
Let’s look at the problem in another way. What about Douglas Murray - how many times does he get boarded but there are not calls because he is 240 pounds and doesn’t fall down.
more and a piece on Wendel Clark too…
“We strongly disagree with the two-game suspension handed down by the NHL today to Joe Thornton. What is most distressing is that we feel the suspension is not consistent to the recent reviews by the League following similar collisions resulting in players leaving the penalty box and establishing their place on the ice, including Willie Mitchell on Jonathan Toews.
“In Joe’s case, it was clearly not a predatory-type hit with an intent to injure, shown by the fact that the player returned to the ice for his next shift so it is clear that the contact to the head was minimal. We put a lot of time and effort into helping define the NHL’s new rule on headshots but we feel strongly that this suspension is not a reflection of the rule’s true intent.”
-San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson on the Joe Thornton suspension.
“I didn’t actually see the hit until this morning. I didn’t intend to hurt or do anything bad to him. He kind of ran into me, to be honest with you. Last night and this morning I had about three dozen text messages from players around the league saying they can’t believe I even got a penalty.”
-Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks. More from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.