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Ice Incites
The continuing saga
3/18/15 - By Ken Smyth -

Here we are on Day 5 of "Did You Know What HE Said About YOU?" with the San Jose Sharks on their road trip to the hockey media backwater called Canada. Team owner Hasso Plattner has asked Joe Thornton and Doug Wilson to keep things behind closed doors yet Wilson feels the need to further explain while at the GM meetings. Hmm.

I was one of the 350 or so season ticket holders who attended last Thursday's gathering, and sat a few rows away from David Pollak. After a few questions it was becoming clear that GM Doug Wilson was using the gathering to rehearse his pitch to owner Hasso Plattner, as his answers interpreted the questions in ways to solidify the case that Wilson was doing a great job, considering.

The public side of Doug Wilson is always polished, like the new cars in a showroom, so it was curious that he answered the question about Thornton. Earlier in the week in a press conference, Toronto coach Peter Horachek stated to reporters that what's discussed in his office between himself and a player (Nazem Kadri) was going to stay between himself and the player. Most people will accept that sort of policy surrounding the inner workings of a team. Even such divergent commenters as Jeremy Roenick and Phil Esposito agree Wilson should not have responded .

Instead, Wilson felt the need to explain his view of what happened back in his meeting with Thornton. Joe's reaction shows he doesn't agree with losing his "C" or Wilson's account. Comments like "he's got such a big heart that when stress comes on him, he lashes out at people" are back-handed compliments. Hockey is the one sport where the title "team captain" carries meaning, and status, so it's understandable that a proud guy like Joe Thornton was angry about it. Doug Wilson opening up a scar that hasn't quite healed doesn't make sense.

It is out of character for a guy like Wilson, who can tell you the exact reason for every personnel move he's ever made, to do that accidently. Lest you think he was ambushed, he was well aware that David Pollak was in the room, even calling out to him a few times. So all conjecture as to exactly what was Doug thinking, or thinking with, is entirely appropriate.

Team owner Hasso Plattner called his star player and his GM to stop acting like third graders fighting at recess, and instead be cool like little Fonzies and focus on hockey. But Wilson is still talking. If I'm Plattner, I'm thinking about how the one of the two that has a no-trade contract is following instructions and how the one who is most replaceable is not. Nobody around here knows much about Plattner's plans for the Sharks going forward but this spat has got to be on his mind and ultimately it's his decision. Toronto is the next stop on the trip. Pass the popcorn, and remember to not say "what?"


Contact Ken at at kensmyth@letsgosharks.com


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