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What isn't being said
Jumpstarting Thornton is a good thing
3/17/15 - By Ryan Hall -

Okay, by now just about everyone who follows hockey has heard about the comments made by Doug Wilson and Joe Thornton last week. To call this a war of words is to vastly overplay it, as it amounts to no more than 2 or 3 phrases in total.

From both parties.

In fact, that we are actually talking about this at all stinks of desperation, and is just one more indication that the saturation coverage of the NHL is well past the acceptable level.

However, if we ARE going to talk about this, let's talk about the most interesting aspect:

Joe Thornton gets frustrated.


To the point of lashing out at others, even.

While I feel somewhat like Emperor Palpantine as I say this, the proper reaction from all of us should be "Good. Good!! Use your aggressive feelings Joe!"

Why, you might ask?

The answer is actually quite simple.

For years people have ripped on Joe Thornton for being apathetic, uninterested, a floater, someone who just doesn't care enough to win in the playoffs. Now, we are hearing that he cares so much he lashes out at people. It might not be healthy, but that surely isn't the actions of someone who is just coasting along. Rather, that is the type of emotional investment that makes other players want to go to war with you, since they know you want to win.

Alright, I can hear you saying "but you can't have your captain blaming others, lashing out at them, and creating a negative locker room atmosphere".

Fair enough.

Still, if you look back over the body of his interactions with the media and observed locker room behavior, there is no way you could assess Joe Thornton as anything other than a great teammate and interview. He's funny, charming, and prone to the odd practical joke. By all accounts everyone says he is great to have around; in fact that very thing is what got him labeled as 'not intense enough'. So, I think it is safe to say no one is running scared when Joe wanders in.

In reality, any outburst of frustration or anger from him would stand out in such contrast from his usual persona that his teammates couldn't help but take notice. It should motivate them as well, seeing their normally happy leader reduced to this state.

For me, this is the great take away from this little glimpse behind the curtain of the San Jose Sharks: Joe Thornton is tired of losing. He cares. The worst tragedy that could come out of this would be for us all to overlook that fact, as it tells us that no matter what else is plaguing this team, it isn't that their best player is not engaged.

Ladies and Gentlemen this means Joe Thornton is a player we can win with, and that is something that actually deserves to be talked about.

Contact Ryan at at


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