When you think of durability and grit in the hockey world, if you don’t think of Joe Thornton you’re dead wrong. Thornton has been in the NHL for 21 seasons and he’s the most committed player active right now.
In those 21 years, Joe Thornton has played 1,566 regular season NHL games with 413 goals and 1,065 assists for a combined 1,478 points and a grand total 2,924 shots on goal. He has 1,214 PIM with an averaged 19:37 on the ice. Thornton has had 10 seasons where he’s played in every game of the season.
He’s rarely injured and if he is he’s not out long. He’s a gritty player that is a true leader on and off the ice. Thornton has been known to get in your face if you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do. It’s something a player can rarely do without the “C” but he’s got that personality that commands respect and it’s well deserved.
The man is a 4 time All-Star and he won both the Art Ross and Hart trophy in the same season. Of all the accomplishments Thornton has there is just one that’s missing.
The Stanley Cup.
Now the Stanley Cup isn’t the end all be all when it comes to measuring greatness. Thornton is still going to make it into the Hall of Fame (if he doesn’t, we riot) but it’s always nice to win the biggest trophy that you dream about as a kid.
Thornton has seen the playoffs 17 times in his career and he’s always been stellar but his team has never been able to snag the trophy. Thornton signed a 1-year-extension with the San Jose Sharks and it has of course been adding suspicion to the theory that this is Thornton’s last year.
With Thornton hitting 40 and the Sharks battling in the playoffs, can this finally be Thornton (and the Sharks’) year?
The Sharks were all over the Avalanche in Game 1 of Round 2 but who knows if they can keep that up throughout the rest of this series and go hard into the next rounds. The Sharks were 46-27-9 in the regular season with 289 goals for and 258 against.
They did good but look at Tampa. Nothing is for certain.
Especially after the team lost their captain Joe Pavelski to a scary head injury in Game 7 of the 1st Round. Although Pavs’ injury has been a sort of rally point for the team, his lost is big on the ice. Now, it’ll be a waiting game.
If San Jose can pull through past the Avs, then Thornton and the boys have a good shot at winning the Cup.
Featured Image: USATSI