EDMONTON – Although he’s officially a game-time decision, indications are that Joe Thornton will remain out for Friday’s Game 2 of the Sharks’ first round series with the Oilers at Rogers Place.
He is, however, making progress. Thornton stayed on the ice on Friday longer than he has since the left knee injury occurred on April 2, skating for more than an hour with the scratched players and looking more mobile than he has in recent days.
“It was nice to get a little extra in there, so it was good to test it a little bit more today,” Thornton said.
“Every day it seems to be getting better, which is a good sign. I feel confident about it.”
Thornton said he would go through his “normal routine” for a game day on Friday. There is no word on whether he will take warmups.
“Come in with the guys, and see from there,” he said. “I think it responded real well today.”
The Sharks having a little breathing room in the series, winning the first game of the best-of-seven, won’t be a factor in determining whether Thornton is in the lineup Pete DeBoer said on Thursday.
“If he’s ready to play and feels like he can help us, he’s going to play regardless of the score in the series or anything else,” DeBoer said. “It’s killing him sitting out. I’m sure we’ll see him sooner than later.”
Thornton said: “I’ve gotta come back when I’m ready. I’ll know when I’m ready. … It’s just a matter of time, but it was a huge win for us the other night.”
Oilers coach Todd McLellan, Thornton’s coach for seven years in San Jose, said he continues to prepare as if Thornton will dress.
“Plan every day like he is [playing],” McLellan said. “Being around him, Joe is about as old school as they get.
“He didn’t play in game number one, he’s hurt. He’s not bumped or bruised, he’s hurt. I remember watching him play [in 2011] with a separated shoulder against Vancouver a number of years ago in the playoffs, broken fingers. If he’s not playing, he’s hurt. But we still plan every day like he is.”