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02-05-2013, 10:47 PM
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C Joe Thornton

Boston Bruins Captain, 2002-2005
San Jose Sharks Captain, 2010-present
2010 Olympic Gold Medalist
6x NHL All Star Game Participant
05-06 Art Ross Trophy Winner
05-06 Hart Trophy Winner
2x Top 16 Goals(12, 16)
11x Top 12 Assists(1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 12, 12)
8x Top 16 Points(1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 11, 12, 16)
2x Top 6 Playoff Assists(2, 6)
9th Playoff points, 10-11
7x Top 5 AS Voting Center(1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 5)
7x Top 14 Hart Voting(1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, 14)
2x Top 21 Selke Voting(19, 21) [27 voting points each), also received 3, 2, and 1 vote in 2011, 2009, and 2008 respectively
VsX: 117, 100, 97, 91, 84, 82, 79, 78, 76, 74, 71, 70, 64

During 10 year peak(02-03 to 12-13)

26th in Goals(66% of 2nd place Iginla)
1st in Assists(114% of 2nd place H.Sedin)
1st in Points(110% of 2nd place St. Louis)

3rd in Assists/game(min. 200 games) behind Forsberg & Crosby
5th in Points/game(min. 200 games) behind Forsberg, Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin

*Denotes current season in progress

Thornton's on-ice vision, strength on the puck, deft passing ability, and power forward style of play have led to him becoming one of the league's premier top line centres.

"Players like Joe Thornton don't come available very often," Wilson said. "He's a big, physical guy with a lot of ability. He also knows a lot of our players very well. He should fit in well with our group.

"He's a special guy. The combination of he and [Patrick] Marleau down the middle should be very strong for us," Wilson said.

"He's one of the top 10 players in the league. He's a big, powerful forward. I expect him to be a giant on special teams."

Thornton squared off with Lindros in the second period of a chippy game with the Rangers. After a faceoff in the Rangers' zone, Lindros cross-checked Thornton in the head area and the behemoths traded punches. As they grappled to find punching room, Lindros (6 feet 5 inches, 237 pounds) wrestled Thornton (6-4, 223) into a vulnerable position, then dropped him with a powerful right hand.

Thornton doesn't fight much, but he has a short fuse, his rage often responding to defensive tactics to slow him down. Lindros received a five-minute major for fighting, as did Thornton.

Thornton is probably best known for his play as a playmaker, setting up Jonathon Cheechoo for several goals and open shots. His size allows him to create lots of space and his uncanny ability to find open players with a soft pass and with great hands makes him an asset to any NHL team. Thornton instantly raises the levels of the players around him, like Crosby, and has a vicious streak that strikes fear into most opponents.

Sharks captain Joe Thornton, among the game's best passers—as well as, at 6'4" and 230 pounds, one of its toughest skaters to knock off the puck—acknowledges the Wings' influence on his own play. "My game totally changed," says Thornton, who entered the league as a Bruin in 1997 with a dump-and-chase mandate. "Watch this series [with Vancouver]. We do a middle drive, where the center drives to the net [with the puck]. I never used to do that. I'd be in the corner."

"When Joe has the puck," Kesler says, "he's so strong on his skates, it's pretty useless to play him; I have to play his stick. We really have to start with the puck because then we play at our pace and they have to play our game—and Joe can't have the puck.

Thornton has made others better throughout his career—linemate Sergei Samsonov in Boston; Team Canada when he cheerfully accepted a third-line checking role in the 2004 World Cup; the Sharks in the season of the trade

. "I sensed a little different Joe in the playoffs last year, and more important, Joe did too," Ron Wilson says. "There was a fire and a hunger. Maybe in the past he'd more readily accept a poor performance from a teammate as long as he did well himself. Now you saw a little more urgency."

Soft Hands

He can feather a pass at any distance and can settle a puck arriving at any speed. "Soft hands--for a big man" is how he's often praised, but Thornton's mitts are more supple than any little guy's.

Indeed, he has done some of his best work as an ordinary Joe, the shutdown checking center for Canada in the 2004 World Cup.

So who better to build around than the 24-year-old Thornton, a 6'4", 220-pound monster near the net and a Hart Trophy winner in the making.

One other factor has favored Murray since his return to Boston: His development coincided with that of linemate Joe Thornton, who often dominates when he's on the ice. "The kicker for [ Murray] is the emergence of Thornton," says Panthers G.M. Rick Dudley. "When a player like Thornton emerges, then a player with the ability to score, like Murray, will get more opportunities."

He can impose himself on a game in myriad ways, the puck seems to follow him...

Though his long curls have been trimmed and styled, though he packs 220 pounds on a 6'4" frame, though he plays with a jagged edge that twice earned him two-game suspensions last season

Thornton has emerged as the Bruins' central player. He's a rare composite. He has some of Modano's ability to dangle without the flash, some of Lemieux's reach without the leverage, some of Brendan Shanahan's toughness without the reputation. Plus, his hands are soft. This is Joe's world now—"Over the summer I told people that in two or three years, Joe would be the best player in the game," says New York Islanders assistant coach Jacques Laperriere, who was a Bruins assistant from 1997-98 through '00-01

Bruins forward Joe Thornton, who has been dominant for the last couple of weeks (17 points in his last 10 games), was pulled aside by coach Mike Keenan recently and told to stop taking unnecessary stick-related penalties. Keenan, who likes Thornton's aggressive play, is concerned Thornton may develop a rep with referees as a dirty player....

. Thornton is a center with the size, speed and boundless potential that left the Bruins no choice but to use the No. 1 overall draft pick on him in 1997

Jumbo Joe executed his game, looked for passes, made passes, threaded them through crowds, and even scored a goal.

When single-elimination play began in the World Cup of Hockey, Joe Thornton was converted by Team Canada coach Pat Quinn from a high-scoring pivotman to a checking center. His assignment was to shut down the other teams' top combinations. With his size, strength, and hockey sense, Thornton parlayed his new role into a crucial one that helped Canada enjoy success in this international event. There was no better example of that than last night.

In the championship game against Finland, Thornton proved that good defense can lead to opportunistic offense.

"Joe Thornton is among the top group of elite players in the National Hockey League," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement.

In an ornery mood from the outset of Game 5, Thornton finished with one hit and a 61 per cent success rate in the faceoff circle. He also excelled by staying away from Pronger, who made it his priority to keep Thornton away from the Ducks' net, but at times was caught out of position.

The six-foot-four, 235-pound Thornton drove the net with regularity and skated to the opposite side of the ice as Pronger to open the scoring with a power-play goal at 7:25 of the first period.

"He's thinking so much about where Joe is and Joe is having success getting away from Pronger," Hockey Night in Canada analyst P.J. Stock said of Thornton. "The second [Sharks goal] he picked up an assist and Pronger wasn't on the ice."

"I don't think it's in Joe's nature to be mean, but when he is mean, he's unstoppable," San Jose forward Jeremy Roenick told reporters. "When you're intense, you're a hard person to play against.

A power forward at six-foot-four and 223 pounds, the burly center possesses unbelievable skill as he posted a 101 point season in 2002-03.

Thornton will also provide strength for Team Teal in the faceoff circle as he is successful 52.2 percent of the time and his even plus/minus rating was one of the best on the struggling Bruins.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Although Joe Thornton usually does his finest work helping others, the Sharks superstar threw himself quite an anniversary party Friday night.

Thornton had two goals and an assist in a dominant two-way performance exactly two years after his arrival from Boston, and San Jose snapped a three-game winless streak with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

"Joe played unbelievable," Wilson said. "He was a force out there. He's physical, making plays. He made a decision he's going to shoot more, that he's going to score and not just look to pass. That will open up some of his playmaking abilities, because now they have to worry about him shooting."

"I should have stopped that second goal," Budaj said. "Joe made a great play. He's playing great right now, and he made us pay. He had a hand in all three goals. You want to excel against great players like him, but he beat us tonight."

The Boston Bruins probably figured they would need Joe Thornton to deliver solid two-way play and Andrew Raycroft to perform as he did during a strong rookie campaign if they were to be successful this season.

3. No matter how much Marleau and Cheechoo might be struggling, the amazing Thornton invariably is there to bail out the Sharks offensively.

It only underlines the MVP-type campaign Thornton is turning in. Almost 46 percent of San Jose's attack goes through him. He has 66 points, tied for 10th overall in the NHL. The next-highest ranking Shark is Milan Michalek, 91st, with 33 points.

The Sharks are circling. They are big, deep and committed defensively, in an aggressive, hard, forechecking way. They own arguably the best two-way player and passer in the game. Only the Detroit Red Wings have posted more road victories.

1 draft pick (likely 6-foot-4 center Joe Thornton) and possibly two lottery picks, ... "He's a good two-way player. He's an excellent skater for a guy 6-4. ...

"Joe works so hard out there," San Jose captain Patrick Marleau, who spent part of Game 4 on the top line with Thornton, told Cassie Campbell of Hockey Night in Canada. "He's drawing double coverage sometimes and he handles it.

"He's a big horse out there for us. To have him going and everyone follow him, it helps everybody."

"He continues to make smart plays and finding a way to get his stick on the puck [for the winning goal]."

The selection of Joe Thornton, a physical forward with linebacker-like size...

-- Joe Thornton sometimes seems to be playing a one-man game of keep-away in the playoffs -- and the Nashville Predators are losing it.

Both coaches agree the San Jose center's physical presence is the defining difference in the clubs' first-round playoff series

"People are fearing him now, and that's what you want to see with Joe," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said Wednesday. "He's a man on a mission, and people are picking up on that. ... Even though he's not getting points, he's totally controlling the game.

"When he's on the ice making plays, it's just unbelievable how he competes and is so strong. It's got to be frustrating to play against. He's almost like a beast out there. When he puts his mind to it, you can't take [the puck] from him," he said.

But Thornton drew four penalties in Game 3, holding onto the puck with his strength and control until the Predators tried something illegal to separate him. Though the Predators agree Thornton has impressive puck-possession skills, they're growing frustrated by their inability to slow him legally.

Here's Joe Thornton feeding left wing Milan Michalek for a shot that goes just wide of the Detroit goal. There's Joe Thornton taking a perfect pass and lifting a backhand shot that barely misses the top corner of the net. Here's Joe Thornton drawing a penalty. There's Joe Thornton crushing Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios. And that was just the third period. ''He was easily the best...

And the poster boy for these Sharks has been Thornton, maligned by media around the league for past playoff performances, sometimes fairly, most recently unfairly. If anyone in the East has been watching Western Conference hockey, they have seen a transformed Thornton, one whose two-way play has been dominant. He raised his game Wednesday night in the third period and overtime when his team needed him most.

Thornton has played an excellent two-way game, working hard in his defensive zone, and making an impact on offense, something he failed to do in San Jose's opening round series against the Colorado Avalanche.

On the flip side, the evolution of the captain this season was hugely encouraging. Thornton took his game to new heights, especially in the playoffs, playing both sides of the puck like never before. His willingness to sacrifice offense for two-way play is reminiscent of the great Steve Yzerman. So is Thornton's willingness to play through pain, the star center revealing afterward he separated his shoulder in Game 4 but played through it Tuesday night.

Thornton's defensive game has clearly improved and his offensive game has not necessarily suffered either. He has 2 goals and 9 assists in the playoffs, but he's being recognized more for the little plays he's making with his stick and his body that either bump players off the puck or knock the puck away from them to start the Sharks' offense going the other way.

Last edited by BillyShoe1721: 04-29-2013 at 06:38 PM.
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