May 23, 2011, 4:06 PM EST
The last 24 hours have been tough and fascinating in the life of Joe Thornton. During the Sharks Game 4 loss to Vancouver, Thornton was crushed by a huge open ice hit by Canucks forward Raffi Torres. The hit forced Thornton off the ice for the remainder of the game and put his status in doubt for Game 5 tomorrow night in Vancouver.
McLellan’s statement on Thornton comes off as something out of a movie and for the Sharks captain who’s played his best postseason hockey in his career in these playoffs, what his coach says about him stands out even more.
“When Joe Thornton comes to you and tells you he’s playing, he’s playing,” McLellan said. “That can happen in exhibition season, that can happen at St. Thomas at a charity game in the middle of the summer, so expect Jumbo to play tomorrow.”
We talked about Thornton’s playoff history of playing through injury last night and him playing hurt is nothing new. It’s also nothing new for most guys in the playoffs that play through all sorts of bumps and bruises. Thornton’s injury in Game 4 was very obvious that it was around his shoulder and it’ll be worth watching to see how it affects his play both in his physical game and his ability to take draws, shoot, and pass.
If Thornton is playing at half-speed that’s no good given how well Vancouver’s played against them. Then again, Thornton’s main duty in the playoffs has seen him shadowing Ryan Kesler and Kesler’s been quiet this round. The offense is what they’ll need to keep seeing out of Thornton in assisting Patrick Marleau. If Thornton can’t do that, the blame for failing may wrongly fall on Thornton’s shoulders regardless of how hurt he is.
- Discuss: Blackhawks score big on Rivalry Night on NBCSN 20
- Crosby: If I had to guess Thornton’s suspension, I’d say 10 games 44
- Cowen gets two-game suspension for hit on Girgensons 12
- Rangers must consider Callahan’s injury history in contract talks 13
- The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Outrage over hockey violence, Gary Bettman is a happy man, Darryl Sutter is awesome, and more! 30
- Report: Isles coach Capuano not seen as problem 11
- Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Flyers challenge top-ranked Blackhawks 18
- Update: Ryan Callahan out 4-6 weeks with MCL sprain 15
- Four goals: Ovechkin wills Caps to stunning shootout win vs. Bolts 62
- Bettman: No decision on expansion, but they’re listening 13
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (138)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)