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Thornton sits down with NHL media
continued...
2/8/09 - By Mike Lee

Q. About this season, new coach, and McLellan obviously comes in with a winning pedigree from last year especially, but I guess you could expect that you guys would be a good team, but did you expect that it would be like this?

JOE THORNTON: Well, you expect it to be good because I think with having Dan Boyle, I don't think too many people outside of Tampa really knew how good he was. But I played with him in the world championships and things like that, so I expected him to make a big impact, and Rob Blake, because Rob, we play here in California all the time. So I knew those two guys were going to make a big impact, but I just didn't know how big. I think with those two guys coming here, our expectations were real high. But to have the start we are, I don't think anybody expected that, no.

Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're still with Setoguchi and Marleau, correct?

JOE THORNTON: Yes.

Q. There seems to be a pretty good chemistry there, and all three of you guys were in Montreal for All?Star weekend there, as well, which must have been pretty special to have a whole line there. Where do you think it all stems from, that chemistry, if you can just break it down a little bit?

JOE THORNTON: Well, I think you look at Paddy has tremendous speed and so does Seto. They both shoot the puck really, really well, they both see the ice well. I'm a big believer in good players make each other into great players. I think that's the case with us. We're all good players, and when you put them together, we become better players. All three of us have good hockey sense, and I think when you throw three guys in a line that have good hockey sense, usually good things come out of it.

Q. McLellan keeps pushing the right buttons. What's different with him in the room with him as the coach this year? Has much changed?

JOE THORNTON: Not too much to be honest with you. I think just our daily approach is just a little bit different. We just really focus in on that day. I think in years past we kind of looked maybe too far ahead, and this year we're just working out our kinks now, and we're working hard each and every day and focusing on that day. I think that's probably going to be the difference.

Q. Does the Stanley Cup from last year ever get brought up? Does he ever bring it up and say this is what works?

JOE THORNTON: It does come up a little bit, and we saw his ring when we came to Detroit there and the Red Wings came to the rink. So we do talk about it a little bit, what championship teams do. So it's nice having a coach that has been there and done that.

Q. You were talking about the Boston thing. Have you ever understood why or got an explanation why you were traded?

JOE THORNTON: Really, I don't really know. I know at the time I can remember the team wasn't doing so well. But no, I really don't know or I don't think anybody knows other than a couple people why that happened. But yeah, I still don't know.

Q. You said there's not a lot of people associated with the team in terms of players that are still there. How about do you still have friends in the community that will be pretty cool to reunite with for at least one day?

JOE THORNTON: Yeah, my brother still lives in Boston. He goes to school there at Boston University. It's going to be nice to see him. Yeah, I've still got quite a few friends there over the years. I started when I was 18, so that's a lot of good friends that I still have there. So it'll be nice when we get a couple days off, which will be good to kind of go visit some people that I need to.

Q. And the last question would be this weekend, in different circumstances, but obviously Marian Hossa will go back to Pittsburgh this weekend and back to one of his old teams, albeit he didn't play there that long, be he might get a little bit of a cool reception. Any advice for Marian when he goes in there, how to deal with it?

JOE THORNTON: No, I just think you go in with no expectations, and that's about it, really. You've just got to go play your game. That's the bottom line.

Q. I'm calling from Swedish television, and I was just wondering, why is San Jose playing better than Detroit this season?

JOE THORNTON: We've been real consistent since day one, and that's probably the one thing is just our consistency. We try to play hard each and every night, and we've got lots of talent. I think when you work hard and you're consistent, you're going to get results. I think that's the case this year.

Q. And Douglas Murray has a lot of fans here in Sweden. What can you say about him and his season so far?

JOE THORNTON: He's had a great season, actually. He's just so big and strong, and he just controls the puck when he has it. But he's been great for us all year long. He plays big minutes for us on the penalty kill and things like that. But he's been a big, huge part of our success.

Q. When you're looking back now in hindsight at getting traded and going to San Jose and everything, how beneficial was the trade from Boston to San Jose and going from one situation to the other for your career?

JOE THORNTON: Well, I think it's worked out well for me, obviously. But you know, I thought it was going good in Boston, as well, though. I don't think there was anything wrong there to be honest with you. But I think just being a little bit older, I think now ?? I was young then and now I'm just maturing to be an adult now. So I think just maturity wise you get to know the game a little bit better, you get more confidence, and you just know your body a little bit more. I think it just really is two parts of a hockey player that I was.

Q. Did you use that trade as motivation or like you kind of maybe had to prove something to somebody after the fact?

JOE THORNTON: No, not at all. You just play hockey, and that's what I do. I'm a hockey player. But no motivation or anything like that. You just have to earn respect from your new teammates, and that's about it. But there's no new motivation. You have enough on yourself that you don't need any more.

Q. How different for you personally is it going to be going back to Boston this time than last time? Maybe a lot less emotional than the last time you were there?

JOE THORNTON: Yeah, I feel like I've been a Shark for a long time now. It'll be a little bit funny, but I don't think now, being through it once before, I don't think it's going to be a big challenge for me.

Q. And when you kind of look back on that one other time, that five minutes and 13 seconds that you were actually in the game, what sticks out in your mind just from that day going back? Is there anything that you really kind of think of when you think of that day?

JOE THORNTON: Just how weird and awkward it was to be honest with you. It just felt really strange to be on a different side on the bench and skating a different way. Just a little bit awkward, I think.

Q. I just wonder if you could walk me through what a typical week for a pro hockey player is, the rhythms of the week with practice and games and whether there's a particular day that you think you do better on or look forward to playing on or something like that?

JOE THORNTON: Pretty much typical days are you play a Tuesday, a Thursday and a Saturday, and on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday you usually have practice at 11:00 o'clock. So you wake up 9:00?ish, quarter to 9:00?ish, go to the rink, grab some breakfast and away you go. And then after practice there might be a little light workout or things like that. Then usually home, and then here in California you can sit out by the pool if you like and then play some Tiger Woods in the afternoon, and then dinner time and then maybe see a movie or watch a TV show on television, then just do it all over again the next day. I like Saturdays personally. I like Saturday night games. They seem to be fun.

Q. Why is that?

JOE THORNTON: I don't know, just ?? well, we sell out every night here, so it's really just ?? if you're on the road, usually Saturday nights will be sold out on the road and there's quite a good atmosphere in the building. Saturday nights, it's Hockey Night in Canada, too, you to get to watch Don Cherry on TV.

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