Joe Thornton Has Direct Response To Critical Comments From Doug Wilson


Feb 20, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) during practice the day before the Stadium Series hockey game at Levis Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

It’s never a dull moment in San Jose this season, but things had appeared to die down as the Sharks have won four of their last five games.

However, a bombshell was dropped early Friday afternoon from Sharks beat writer David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News. Here is the tweet that captured NHL headlines:

The tweet is a response from Joe Thornton to comments that general manager Doug Wilson made to a group of season ticket holders during a Q&A session held before last night’s game against the Nashville Predators. (You can read the full story from Pollak about Thornton’s response here).

As Pollak notes in his original story, Wilson was asked the reasoning for stripping the captaincy from Thornton during the offseason. Wilson said the pressure appeared to be getting to Thornton and “he’s got such a big heart that when stress comes on him, he lashes out at people and it kind of impacts them.”

This is yet another explanation from Wilson, that has never come to light until now, about stripping the captaincy from Thornton. While the forthright nature of Wilson’s response to the question is surprising and actually refreshing to see, the timing is certainly puzzling.

It’s obvious that things between the front office and Thornton have been on shaky ground ever since the playoff collapse of a season ago. Wilson made it known that San Jose would enter a rebuilding phase and seemed to indicate that he wanted to move Thornton, but Thornton has control with a no-movement clause that he didn’t want to waive.

However, after their February struggles, the Sharks have righted the ship to an extent and are in the midst of a playoff chase with only 14 games to go. They are starting to play their best hockey of the year, but hey, let’s stir the pot once again on a topic that is irrelevant to their current predicament on the ice.

Also, it’s interesting that this is a slightly new take on why Thornton had the “C” removed. Wilson has always talked about wanting to spread the leadership around the dressing room, but this seemed a more direct shot at Thornton with how he might have lashed out at people. Again, really curious timing on wanting to question your best player, who is having another solid season despite all the nonsense off the ice, when the Sharks are making a push for the playoffs.

The Sharks’ captaincy question just won’t die down and this story is another example of the dysfunctional season San Jose has endured. It’s truly remarkable that this team is only three points back of a playoff spot at the moment because there seems to be a clear divide between certain players and management.

Who knows if this incident will bring the Sharks closer together or if it will halt their current momentum, but one thing is for sure, the fireworks between Thornton and Wilson are likely heating up once again.

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