Sharks' Joe Thornton scores two goals amid NHL trade deadline rumors

Sharks' Joe Thornton scores two goals amid NHL trade deadline rumors

Certain names live in Bay Area sports lore, and Sharks legend Joe Thornton is one of them.

On Saturday, he reminded us why.

Thornton, 40, admitted earlier in the day to The Athletic's Kevin Kurz that he's tempted at the thought of joining a contender at Monday's NHL trade deadline. With the Sharks well out of the playoff picture, the team could look to help a franchise icon finally become a champion by dealing him elsewhere. 

“You know, it is [tempting],” Thornton said to Kurz. 

Thornton made it clear in his conversation with Kurz that he isn't ready to hang up his skates after this season, too. And in the Sharks' 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden later that night, Thornton showed he still has plenty left in the tank.

The 22-year veteran snapped a 50-game streak in the regular season without a goal on the road when he found the back of the net in the second period to tie it up at 1. The goal also was his first at MSG against the Rangers since Dec. 8, 2002, when he was 23 years old.

Throughout his career, Thornton has been known as an assist specialist as opposed to potting goals. He's the Sharks' all-time leader in helpers with 803, but he was thinking goal the whole way in the first period.

"Yeah, I saw the D-man just kind of sliding over a little bit for Timo [Meier], so I just wanted to make it hard, make it on the net. You never know what's gonna happen," Thornton told NBC Sports California's Jamie Baker during the first intermission. 

Thornton entered Saturday with a career-low two goals this season. In the second period, he doubled his season total with his second goal of the night to give San Jose a 2-1 lead.

Thornton's two-goal performance made him the oldest to do it since Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins in October 2018. Thornton also became the third player in NHL history to be at least 40 years old and have a two-goal game at MSG. 

[RELATED: Thornton tempted to join contender at NHL trade deadline]

"The second one just -- Burns' shot just tipped off my knee pad, so just at the right place at the right time," Thornton humbly told reporters after the game.

Whether it's to help mentor San Jose's young roster during an injury-plagued season or if he joins a contender before the deadline, Thornton proved under the brightest lights that this Shark still can skate with the best of them. The legacy lives on, and it's far from over.

Programming Note: The "2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show" is coming your way Monday at 11:30 a.m. PT on the MyTeams app and on! How will the Sharks be impacted heading into the noon deadline? Don’t miss it!

Sharks' Joe Thornton joined Hall-of-Fame company with 400 career goals


Sharks' Joe Thornton joined Hall-of-Fame company with 400 career goals

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Joe Thornton's 400th career NHL goal tonight at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.

Joe Thornton picked a great time to notch his 400th career goal.

Back on Nov. 13, 2018, the Sharks welcomed the Nashville Predators to SAP Center, who led the NHL with 27 points at the time. At first, San Jose appeared to be more than up to the task, opening up a 3-0 lead in the first period, which easily could have been larger.

Then, it all started going south.

The Sharks were held scoreless in the second period while the Predators climbed all the way back to tie the score. Less than three minutes into the third, Nashville took its first lead of the night.

For the next 10 minutes of game action, it sure seemed like San Jose would end up kicking itself for blowing a three-goal lead. But then Joe Pavelski tied the score at 4-4 with a goal with just under seven minutes remaining. 13 seconds later, it was Thornton's turn to play the hero.

Before the Predators had a chance to catch their breath, Justin Braun found Marcus Sorensen with a stretch pass from San Jose's own defensive zone. As Sorensen broke into Nashville territory, he made a Thornton-like cross-ice pass to the former Hart Trophy winner, who promptly fired the puck into the back of the net to retake the lead.

The Sharks would hold on the rest of the way to secure the thrilling 5-4 victory over a conference rival, and while the two points surely came in handy, Thornton's 63rd career game-winning goal stood out for another reason.

It was the 400th of his career.

[RELATED: Why Couture thinks Jumbo would be bad quarantine partner]

Don't remember? Don't worry. This memorable game will be re-aired Friday at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports California.

While there have now been 99 players throughout NHL history to accumulate at least 400 goals, there are only 13 who have totaled at least 1,000 assists. By scoring the game-winner that night, Thornton became the 11th player in NHL history to accomplish both feats.

Of the 11 players included on that list, only Thornton and Jaromir Jagr have not been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Jagr called it a career in 2017-18, so it's only a matter of time until he joins the group. Thornton says he feels like he has multiple seasons left in him, but the same goes for him.

Why Logan Couture believes Joe Thornton would make bad quarantine partner


Why Logan Couture believes Joe Thornton would make bad quarantine partner

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has restricted most of us to our homes, as the country and world attempt to mitigate the drastic effects through social distancing. Hopefully, you're surrounded by the people that make you feel better about the situation, and not ones that drive you up a wall. However, it's likely you didn't have much of a choice as to who you've been quarantining with. In times like these, safety takes priority over preference, and rightfully so.

Sharks captain Logan Couture has remained in the Bay Area ever since the NHL season was indefinitely paused on March 12. He is holed up with his girlfriend, who apparently makes for a much better quarantine partner than one of his longtime teammates.

As part of a video call with the NHL and a few Pacific Division rivals Friday morning, each of the participants was asked which of their respective teammates they would most and least want to be quarantined with, and why. Couture had no trouble coming up with his answer for the latter.

"The least one's easy," Couture said. "[Joe Thornton]. I don't know how he's surviving right now. The guy has ADD, for sure. If he can't go to the rink, he's lost."

Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf, who has played with Thornton on Team Canada, agreed with that assessment.

"That's 100 percent true," the longtime Sharks nemesis chimed in.

"I don't know what he's doing," Couture continued. "I've texted him a couple times throughout this just to check in on him, see how he's doing."

At last update, Thornton, 40, insisted he has multiple seasons left. As in, plural. Maybe he is going a little stir crazy.

[RELATED: Jumbo a Duck? Sharks' worst nightmare almost happened]

As for who Couture thinks would make for a great quarantine partner, he took a bit longer to arrive at an answer, but ultimately landed on someone who, technically, isn't his teammate.

"I'll say Barclay Goodrow, even though he was just traded," Couture responded. "I think him and I have the most in common, and I still count him as being a Shark. He's only been in Tampa for a little bit, so he'd be my guy."

It has been just over a month since Goodrow was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a first-round draft pick, nearly half of which has occurred since the league halted play. He and Couture spent five-plus seasons as teammates in San Jose, so one would imagine they know what makes each other tick.

Best of luck to you and yours as we each do our part to help flatten the curve. If you're anything like Thornton, hopefully there's a socially-distant rink nearby.