Aug 31, 2010, 9:45 AM EDT
The last two years, I’ve scrounged enough money together to take a hockey-themed summer trip to California. Each time I return to the horrifying, scolding-hot climates of Texas, it’s like getting slapped awake from a glorious dream.
So it’s difficult to even bat an eye at the fact that Joe Thornton is very happy with his life and career in San Jose, something he’d like to continue with a contract extension. Here is more from the Mercury News.
When it comes to the South Bay, Thornton sounds like a man ready to sign a lifetime contract. He and wife Tabea are building a new home in the Los Gatos-Saratoga area. He has a farmhouse in St. Thomas, Ontario, where he grew up, and the couple has an apartment in Tabea’s native Switzerland.
But, he added, “This is where the Thornton family has put down roots.”
And the family has grown with the birth of its first child, daughter Ayla, on July 14.
“He just loves it there,” said John Thornton, his brother and agent. “I could see him spending the rest of his life in San Jose.”
Not exactly playing hard to get in order to drive up the price of his next contract, is he?
Going into this off-season, I thought the Sharks had a big mess on their hands with big unrestricted free agents (Patrick Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov) along with talented restricted free agents (Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi). Aside from the potentially enormous change that comes with letting Nabokov – their franchise goalie for 10 seasons – leave for Russia, the team kept the majority of their core players together.
They’ll still be a team that depends on their top three forwards (Thornton, Marleau and Dany Heatley) along with a few support guys like Pavelski to carry most of the scoring burden. Their defense might be a little shaky as they didn’t add anyone significant despite losing veteran defenseman Rob Blake to retirement, but don’t be surprised if they are still a contender next season.
Some may still wonder about Jumbo Joe’s postseason moxie, but my guess is that the content spirit Thornton enjoys is more about the lack of clouds in that South Bay sky than complacency. He might not ever win a Stanley Cup to underscore how successful his career truly turned out, but Thornton is one of the best players of his generation.
And while it might be challenging to make such a case wearing teal, it sounds like Joe Thornton will be doing just that as his prime seasons give away to his final twilight years.
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