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Sounds like San Jose handled stripping Thornton’s captaincy really well

Aug 21, 2014, 12:32 PM EDT

Joe Thornton Getty Images

The San Jose Sharks are in the midst of one heckuva offseason — in June, Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News suggested the club was “having a nervous breakdown” — and on Wednesday, the men in teal continued their bizarre summer by stripping Joe Thornton of his captaincy… without telling him first.

From David Pollak at the Merc:

 Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Wednesday that the team will begin without a captain or assistants, part of the franchise’s intent to change the locker room hierarchy following San Jose’s epic playoff loss to the Los Angeles Kings after winning the first three games.

That was all news to Thornton, who said he didn’t know that he had lost his captaincy until being informed by a reporter.

“I talked with Todd today, and he never mentioned anything about captains or assistant captains,” said Thornton.

Later, McLellan acknowledged that he could have been clearer in his “clean slate” talk with Thornton, and that the matter had been clarified.

The strangest part in all of this? Stripping Thornton’s “C” came nearly five years to the day of losing his alternate captaincy back in 2009, when the Sharks also took away Patrick Marleau‘s “C”. That shakeup came after a massive playoff disappointment (sound familiar?) in which the Sharks won 53 regular season games before getting bounced in the opening round by Anaheim. That led McLellan to overhaul his entire leadership group (sound familiar?) and go into training camp with no captains or alternates (sound familiar?).

Marleau was eventually replaced by Rob Blake as team captain the following season, with Thornton — who, remember, already had his “A” taken away — re-installed as an alternate. Jumbo was then promoted to captain following Blake’s retirement in 2010, and Marleau was brought back into the leadership group as an alternate.

So, basically, the moral of the story is if Marleau and Thornton wait long enough, they’ll probably get their letters back eventually.

  1. ctcork - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Classy. Just what a team that can’t rally and lay like a unit when it matters needs…

    • kaptaanamerica - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      Couldn’t happen to a nicre guy… Thornton is a pos, no class scum sucker… For some of his on ice antics…

  2. pirovash88 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    This whole franchise is becoming nothing short of a joke. It’s pretty obvious that neither Thornton nor Marleau are a part of this team’s “solution”.

  3. shutyourfivehole - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    As a Sharks fan I welcome the pre/early season strife. This way they’re not even trying their old trick of giving us hope and then tearing it away. They’re just gonna suck from the get go. Kinda like watching re-runs of Titanic over and over and finally realizing the ship’s gonna sink no matter how much you hope.

    • mcphillthy - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      Dude I love Tue way you referenced the titanic sinking over and over into your comment. That was the best explanation of the san Jose sharks I’ve seen yet. My props to you, sir

  4. bcsteele - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    I feel for Sharks fans. Pretty good team on paper but all this drama and BS is going to run them in to the ground this season I fear.

    Deserving or not, they should have cleared out the coach and GM and let someone else come in. It’ll be interesting to see how things go but I don’t see things going well in the locker room, which will translate to the ice.

  5. dipthatchip - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    did Thornton really refuse to waive his NTC? or is that just a rumor?

    • skr213 - Aug 21, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      He did.

      • skr213 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:28 PM

        Thumbs down on a basic factual statement? Uhhh, okay.

  6. withseidelinn - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    I feel like this team is on the brink of just becoming a disaster. They are loaded with talent, but if there has been this much identity crisis and internal issues during the offseason, it seems like it could spill on to the ice come October.

  7. lowenni - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    I don’t see why the title of this article is “they handled it really well”, because there isn’t any really indications of what Thornton or anyone else is thinking about it. In fact, sounds like he was taken aback and the fact that he had to be informed by a reporter is very dissapointing. McLennan should’ve informed him of the change before it was made public to the media, just out of respect. Say what you will about Jumbo Joe’s playoff performances, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for his loyalty to this team even after they’ve admitted to wanting to trade him, that he’s been dissapointing, and now stripping him of the “C’. For him to accept losing the C that he’s worn for years must be pretty tough but he seems to be handling it as well as he can. If they give the C to someone younger they better at least give Joe an A, he still deserves it. The guy does mean a lot to the team and I think the team means a lot to him.

    • davebabychreturns - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      Some times people use irony for humour by describing a thing with words that aren’t actually applicable to it.

      For example, “hey nothing gets past that lowenni guy..”

      • lowenni - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM

        okay okay calm your titties

    • stakex - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:24 PM

      I believe its called sarcasm.

    • dueman - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      I honestly don’t think that it really matters who actually wears the letters. The leaders in the room are the leaders in the room, and that’s not going to change until it happens naturally. McLellan is just an idiot grasping at straws here. He should have been fired and replaced instead of who’s wearing the letters…

    • taytay099 - Aug 21, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    • titansrbeast - Aug 21, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      I stopped reading your huge post because I realized you were stupid when you didn’t get the sarcasm in the title. Don’t post again.

      • lowenni - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:31 PM

        No you’re completely right, I missed one joke and therefore I should never be able to post again because that negates all intelligence I have. I’m disconnecting my account right now, thank you for opening up my eyes, @titansrbeast.

        ^there’s some more sarcasm for you wonderfully kind and friendly internet people.

      • titansrbeast - Aug 22, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        HEY! I SAID STOP POSTING! I better not see you ’round these parts anymore. Ya’ got that?

  8. sjsblitz - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    I’ve still yet to see proof that they were asked to waive their NTCs. Secondly, its a damn letter, it doesnt define the team. Sick of hearing people saying they feel sorry for Sharks fans. Dont pity us, i love my damn team. Even if this summer is bizarre, don’t criticize the moves until the end of next season, or at least halfway into the season. Its all media hype because there is nothing else going on in the hockey world besides the countdown till the season starst. In a nutshell, stop complaining until you see the results, or go watch another team. -Angry Sharks Fan

    • mcflower29 - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      hey don’t blame us for jumping on the anti-shark bandwagon, we’re not the ones who blew a 3-0 lead against a pos team cuz seriously, we got more cups than both of u guys combined. so who’s ur daddy now!

      • sjsblitz - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        You done?

      • mcflower29 - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        wave after wave of sharks fans started celebrating after game 3, how did you blow a 3-0 lead against a pos team and their pos captain?

      • titansrbeast - Aug 21, 2014 at 4:53 PM

        POS POS POS POS!!!! RAWR!!

        Douche bag? Me thinks yes.

      • Gigagigagilgamesh - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:08 PM

        Are you referring to the POS team that faced three of the best teams in the NHL during initial rounds of the SC playoffs??/

      • mcflower29 - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:32 PM

        yes and to better explain your team, i’m talking about the team run by a piece of ***t captain that sidelined a rookie for an entire season. lol if you think the sharks are the “best team”….they couldn’t even beat the fl. panthers towards the end of the season to save themselves.

      • xvaa1 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        Mcflower boy, look at us we have more cups, ghhaaayyy

      • nightfireop - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:34 AM

        how does dustin brown always manage to get into a conversation with a sharks article? it’s getting really old.

  9. pjblake2redwings - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    yes because stripping your captain and assistant is the best way to bring everyone into camp on a positive note.

    hate when teams do this.. such a slap in the face to a key member and leader on your team

  10. rmccleary97 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    If you could turn the Sharks offseason into a Mexican soap opera, it might make more sense.

  11. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:18 PM


  12. bsaures - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    McLellan- I was hoping he wouldn’t notice it was gone…

  13. stakex - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    It doesn’t matter which one of these players is the “leader” of the team. As a whole they have shown time and time again, no matter who is the driving force, that they have no finish in the playoffs. Stripping Thornton of the C isn’t going to change that at all, and if anything doing it like this is only going to hurt.

  14. dirtydrew - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Rearranging chairs on the Titanic.

  15. xaile94 - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    never ceases to amaze me when observers complain about players exercising their NTC/NMCs. GMs know very well they can hand them out like candy. when player x attempts to utilize the clause, it’s because he’s a selfish prick and GM can then claim he was hamstrung. In reality, he did it to himself. garbage. total garbage.

  16. gbart22 - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Who wears the C or the A is one of the most overrated aspects of a team by fans. It really doesn’t matter.

  17. ronniethec - Aug 21, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    BEAT LA. BEAT LA. BEAT LA. Oh..Wait a minute. That didn’t work.

  18. sharksfan97 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    Eh, I still love watching my Sharks. They still play an exciting, uptempo offensive brand of hockey that is entertaining to watch. I live in LA and just can’t bring myself to watch the Kings not because they have our number, but because for most of the season they just can’t score and they play Darryl Sutter dead puck hockey. Boring as hell to watch, like watching baseball. Finally, if the Sharks do suck this year as many of you prognosticate, well then we’ll just add to our exciting young stable of players like Nieto, Hertl, Mueller, Goldobin, etc. Either way I’m looking forward to another season. Go Sharks!

  19. rupp246 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    I’m a ranger fan but always root for the sharks to do well in the playoffs because I feel sorry for them. After this article I still feel sorry for them. The organization has no class.

  20. schoman57 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    Yeah, cause that’s the problem.

  21. blomfeld - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:46 AM


    As an ardent, sexy and values-driven supporter of the planet’s ‘greatest’ professional ice hockey team (LA Kings), all I know is that we beat Thornton and his pals this past spring ‘bad’ … in fact, we beat them ‘very’ badly ! So as a result, this fish-faced, has been ‘wannabe’ should now just exit the stage with ‘all’ possible grace ASAP and thus save the SJ faithful from any further embarrassment in going forward …

    • bmy0913 - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      Jesus, so much butthurt.

      Sharks choked in the LA series, but to really call them a sinking ship is a bit hyperbolic. Clearly they didn’t lose to a “POS” team as one jerk off so eloquently put it. They couldn’t pull it together at the right time, but nobody can say they aren’t dangerous.

      How’d your Flames do this year, blom? Not buying you swinging off LAs nuts.

      • blomfeld - Aug 22, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        “How’d your Flames do this year, blom?” …

        listen up Finklestein …

        either you’re new here at PHT or you’ve got a salmon up your crack ? … whichever the case, kindly note that I’ve been a ‘glorious’ King’s fan since ’73 … “Not buying you swinging off LAs nuts” ? … yeah, well newsflash pal … I ‘am’ one of LA’s two nuts ! … today, tomorrow and forever ! … ya dig ?

        Thornton = Salmon

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