SAN JOSE –- Joe Thornton wasn’t pleased late in Thursday’s Sharks home loss to the Red Wings, as Detroit’s 2-1 win at SAP Center wound down.
In the closing seconds leading up to the final horn, the 36-year-old veteran targeted Luke Glendening in the faceoff circle, and after Glendening responded with some pushing and shoving, Thornton began wailing away on the 26-year-old fourth liner. He earned a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct, the only player penalized in what evolved into a 10-man scrum in the corner.
Was it frustration, or was he trying to send a message to his teammates that he was literally going to go down swinging?
“I think everything,” Thornton said on Friday. “You can send a message to yourself to get ready, be harder. Send it to the other guys. The game was over so it really didn’t mean anything, but hopefully [we] start fresh next game and we can jump out early and play from the lead.”
Although he’s not the captain any longer, coach Pete DeBoer indicated the incident was just another sign that Thornton, an alternate captain, is still one of the Sharks’ leaders.
“That’s leadership, right? I think the leadership in this group is fantastic. … That’s never been an issue for me here,” DeBoer said.
“[Thornton is] a competitive guy. [He] doesn’t like to lose and doesn’t like where we’re sitting in the standings. He’s a ‘show me’ guy. He always has been. He’s not going to tell you about it, he’s going to show you. That’s a good thing.”
Whether it has an effect on Saturday’s late afternoon tilt with Toronto is yet to be determined. The Sharks desperately need a win at home, and getting off to a good start will be key. San Jose is 5-0 when scoring first at home and 0-12 when allowing the first goal.
They still need more production – and probably a little more jam to their game – up and down the lineup.
DeBoer said: “I would hope if you’re a young guy sitting in that room and see how much he cares and how hard he plays, and him putting his body on the line and some of the other veterans we have here – if you’re a young guy, if you don’t take that message or respond to that, we can’t help you.”
“We played good (against Detroit), but we still have a little ways to go,” Thornton said. “Hopefully it carries on into tomorrow afternoon.”