The hockey world has spent the better part of the past few days making fun of the San Jose Sharks for stripping Joe Thornton of the captaincy.
But their criticisms are wrong.
While the firemen of the world will argue that Joe Thornton is still a wildly productive player (and one that pads his Corsi quite a bit), some hot takists have been brave enough to defend the Sharks’ decision as a brilliant one.
What the Big Corsi shills have been overlooking is Thornton’s (and Patrick Marleau’s, to some extent) inability to take hold of a dressing room. At least that’s what veteran San Jose hot takist Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area is selling:
But much of that condemnation tends to conveniently forget or gloss over the issue in the dressing room, and that really is the biggest issue of all. Had there not been some sort of change, there’s no reason to believe that the Sharks wouldn’t flame out in the playoffs again, as they have so many times in the past. A problem in the room can often translate into poor results on the ice, and the Sharks’ dropping four straight games to Los Angeles in ugly fashion is only the most recent example.
All you idiots who thought that the Sharks’ recent playoff loss was due to a stretch of bad luck at the wrong time are flat out incorrect. The problem can be traced directly back to Thornton and Marleau’s effects on the locker room.
You see, Thornton, as captain, was supposed to call in repairs for a faulty air conditioner in the dressing room. He never made that call, so it’s understandable why the Sharks had a complete meltdown. Similarly, Marleau was supposed to restock the toilet paper, but he completely spaced it (oopsies!). This helps explain why the Sharks shit the bed so hard in that Kings series.
It always goes back to the locker room, and Thornton et al totally screwed the pooch. Thanks, Obama.
Besides, as Kurz so masterfully demonstrates, Thornton and Marleau are a bunch of overpaid boobs. But that’s a problem that general manager Doug Wilson created for himself, and one that he undoubtedly regrets. Again, here’s Kurz:
The Sharks were unable to trade either Thornton or Marleau, and signing the pair to three-year contract extensions with no trade clauses now seems like a mistake. At the very least, Wilson should have left himself with some flexibility there, or made them prove they had what it took to lead a team to another deep playoff run before re-upping them.
Nevermind the fact that Marleau and Thornton (who both make under $7 million per year) probably most definitely signed themselves to bargain deals. Kurz is pretty sure that Wilson thinks he made a huge mistake signing guys who really just can’t produce anymore. And remember, Kurz is an expert, being a mainstream media guy and all.
And just how bad has the production been lately? Well for Joe Thornton, I’ll leave that task for budding young takist Matt Henderson of HockeyBuzz:
The team since [making Thornton captain] went 167-92-35 and finished in the top 2 places in their Division 3 times in 4 years. It obviously isn’t good enough. Individually it’s been worse. Joe Thornton is only 11th in NHL scoring from the time he took over the Captain’s role in San Jose to now with 263 points. He’s washed up. At 35 years old he BARELY made it to 13th in NHL scoring. BARELY.
Wow. Pretty terrible, right? And Marleau only scored 33 goals last season. As Joe Haggerty has demonstrated, guys like that can be easily replaced.
Clearly those contract extensions are total shit right now.
So lay off the San Jose Sharks for a minute. The locker room needs some repairs and they signed two of the best players in the Western Conference to bargain deals.
They need your sympathy.