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McLellan doesn’t rule out stripping Thornton of ‘C’

Jun 28, 2014, 12:29 PM EDT

Patrick Marleau Joe Thornton AP

The San Jose Sharks had three players who wore a ‘C’ or ‘A’ on their jerseys in 2013-14. Joe Thornton was the captain, while Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle were alternates.

And then San Jose blew a 3-0 series lead versus the Kings. Since that point, trade rumors have been swirling around Thornton and Marleau, the club cut ties with free-agent Boyle, and one newspaper columnist wrote that the Sharks might be “having a bit of a nervous breakdown right now.”

So it hasn’t been a whole lot of fun for general manager Doug Wilson, who was furious with his team after the collapse versus Los Angeles.

But Wilson is limited in what he can do. Both Thornton and Marleau have no-movement clauses and don’t want to leave San Jose, where they’re under contract through 2016-17.

That said, the pair of veterans may have to accept a leadership demotion, for lack of a better phrase, if they do stay.

“What would happen if nobody wore a letter on our team this year? Not a single guy?” head coach Todd McLellan said today, per ESPN.com. “What if nobody wore a letter? We’d still be the San Jose Sharks and we’d be a leadership group. What would happen?”

McLellan answered his own question: “I don’t know.”

Clearly, the Sharks feel something has to be done. Per Yahoo Sports, Wilson “has said some players told him in exit interviews that they felt like co-workers more than teammates.”

And that stands in stark contrast to what the Kings were saying after they won their second Stanley Cup in three years.

“We like each other. We love each other,” said overtime hero Alec Martinez. “L.A.s the only thing I’ve ever known, being drafted here. But from what guys say that have played elsewhere, what we have here is pretty special, in terms of guys really liking each other, and that’s a testament to [general manager Dean Lombardi] putting together a group of guys like that.”

Talk about a knife twisting in Wilson’s back.

It’s going to be an interesting offseason in San Jose.

  1. norcalsportsknowledge - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Nobody on the sharks deserves the C, especially Thorton. He has had his chance to lead and it hasn’t worked out. Pavs and Logan are close, but not there yet. Need a tough defensemen to lead this team the right way. Sorry Jumbo, you had your chance.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      Joe’s a lost cause and only won something cuz Tran Canada didn’t rely on him to do anything… he shouldn’t have been on those teams either…

    • skr213 - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:20 PM

      I think it’s Logan’s time.

  2. clayman61 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    You have to wonder hearing things like this if Joe will see he might not be wanted any longer.. I’d like to see him go to the Coyotes..

    • 19inarow - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      Management is likely hoping for it, the reason for using that kind of verbiage. Thorton apparently doesn’t want to leave and he’s got the NTC, so making him want to leave might work.

  3. norcalsportsknowledge - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    Jumbo is still a really good player, he’s just doesn’t lead the right way. Need someone with more passion.

    • spitfisher - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      He doesn’t lead the right way???????? Let me help you, there is only one way to lead! You play 100%, You never give up, You inspire everyone around you including rookie to ageing vets, You are not taught to be a leader, it come from within. You play to a level that your own coach says “see that’s how you play!”

      Otherwise you are not leading, there is no in between, you are either leading or you are not. Joe wasn’t a leader in the locker room or ice in Boston, looks like its taken 12+ years for SJ to realize that hes not a leader and nothing to show for it as well.

  4. sjsharks66 - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    If anyone else on the Sharks should wear the C it should be Pavelski or Pickles.

    • skr213 - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      Those two or Logan. I’d like to see those three wearing the letters next season – no preference for who has the C.

      • chanceoffleury - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:26 PM

        As an outsider looking in with no emotional connection to the sharks, I’ll give my unrequested opinion that Couture can be whiny.

        I remember earlier this year he called out Fleury after he had like 45-ish saves against the Sharks in a 5-1 win, and Couture was an a** about it. He straight up said Fleury wasn’t good, and the Sharks deserved to win the game because Fleury was giving up rebounds and the saves he was making weren’t pretty. Pavelski said something similar, too, but Couture’s really rubbed me the wrong way. It made them both look like entitled sore losers. The Sharks lost that game 5 to 1, too! Had they lost the game by a goal, okay. Go ahead and say you almost broke through with the win. But to win that game they would have had to score five more goals. Could you possibly have been THAT much better than the other team with a goal differential of 5 to 1. How often does a team that outscores another team 5 to 1 really deserve to lose that game? How often can you say a goalie that lets in 1 goal on 45 shots can be best described as “not good”? I think the fact that both Fleury and Niskanen called them out on the comments after says a lot too. Those are 2 of the quieter guys in the Pens locker room. They are very rarely the guys to respond to another team talking trash.

        And I remember Couture “calling out” Brown in the 2013 playoffs too. The best part of it was despite the fact Brown is a notorious diver and there are so many opportunities throughout a playoff series to call him out, the incident Couture was referring to didn’t even really look like much of a dive. I mean, Brown went down, but really Couture and him just ran into each other. Couture was skating with his head down and Brown just didn’t bother to get out of the way (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwRUwEMxOpU). And the whole diving comment was just rich coming from a Sharks player.

        I’m not saying the Pens don’t do or say stuff like this either. Every team whines about stupid crap every once in a while. But for somebody who is so unestablished, without any accolades or accomplishments in the league, it’s just particularly annoying to hear when it comes out of their mouth. I think they need to just trade Joe, acquire some new assets and then let somebody step up from there. Rangers went without a captain this year, as did Columbus. Flyers didn’t have a C skating on the ice for a few seasons. Don’t name a captain just to name a captain. Let somebody step up and be a difference maker in the attitude of the locker room and reward that person. The best captain isn’t always the best, or even one of the better players, on a team. Brown’s on-ice antics are questionable, but he’s obviously doing something right to help keep that locker room dynamic one of the best in the NHL at this point.

  5. kaptaanamerica - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Joe doesn’t lead, he needs to BE lead by someone who is a leader. L.A.has it right you give the C to a guy who leads but may not be your best player.

  6. sjsharks66 - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    It’s is not Logans time. He is committed to the Sharks but does not seem to have the personality that would sport a C at this time.

  7. rosales1983 - Jun 28, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    Give C to Torres..sharks need someone with guts to lead…he is the only player who seemed pissed after loss!!! All other players were moppy…patty and Thornton seem to be ok with these epic failures!! I bet if you make torres cap and pickles and couture alt would be a good ideas… It can’t get any worse !!!!

  8. pulltops - Jun 29, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    yeah, f*** it….make Torres cap’n…..

  9. gohawks7 - Jun 30, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Now now Doug….let’s not get too crazy. LOL….is THAT one of the BIG changes that were coming for this team? What a joke. The numbers don’t lie…and if you want to win in the playoffs, JT and PM cannot be part of the team. They fold….choke…disappear…cower…whatever you want to call it, they do not have the mental capacity to play under pressure.

    Since 1998 –
    262 combined playoff games for PM and JT – 81 g, 113 a, -39 (ouch)
    39 combined game 6 & 7’s – 4 g, 6 a, -23.

    What do you think is going to happen that will all of a sudden enable to play under pressure?

    • gohawks7 - Jun 30, 2014 at 6:58 PM

      ….enable “them” to play under pressure?

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