Joe Thornton: Fourth Line Center?


Let it be known that on October 3rd, 2014 Joe Thornton practiced alongside Andrew Desjardins and Mike Brown on the fourth line during the morning skate. The internet then lost its mind. Take note that this occurred over seven hours before the puck drop of a preseason game and was met with such animosity that it borders on the comical. Let’s just take a look at some of the reactions to Thornton’s morning skate.

Context: Preseason Warmup

The asinine and brainless comments about a preseason morning skate continued throughout the day despite the fact that this “crime” has no relevance to the regular season. People are looking for a story when there is none and the media is looking for conflict while forgetting about the context of the situation. The second Joe Thornton lost the captaincy everything that happens to him is magnified ten fold so if Doug Wilson forgets to wave to him in the parking lot expect to see a “Thornton traded” headline somewhere.

More from Sharks News

To make things clear, here are a few facts about the preseason. It is normal that the top players both play less minutes and often do not play with their usual line-mates. In the final preseason game of the 2014 season Joe Thornton did not play while Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture had the least amount of ice time. In the previous game both Marleau and Couture did not play. These players also played with different line-mates than normal at times.

On top of that the Sharks lines during the preseason in 2014 did not carry over into the regular season.Tomas Hertl bounced back and forth between the top and third line to begin the season. Matt Nieto moved throughout the lineup and was scratched at times. Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels found themselves on two or three different lines a game. This all happened within the first ten games of the season. With all of this in mind, people are losing their minds over Joe Thornton warming up on the fourth line during the preseason. Lost amongst the sea of panic was the reporting of David Pollak.

So to answer the question, do not expect to see Joe Thornton center the fourth line to begin the season. It is not a sign of things to come nor is it a message being sent by the organization. Instead take this information as it is, he is unlikely to play tonight because he is one of the Sharks best forwards and it is a preseason game.

**Update via David Pollak