I was doing a little research about Joe Thornton, especially after watching the San Jose Sharks get shut out, at home, in Game 5 of their conference quarterfinal series against the Los Angeles Kings, 3-0. The Sharks now lead 3 games to 2 games in a best of 7 series with Game 6 in Los Angeles Monday, Apr 28th, 2014. The Sharks aren’t good in games like that. Because they have Joe Thornton and Joe Thornton doesn’t have “it”.
Jordan had it. Montana had it. Tom Brady has it. LeBron James has it. “It”, being that little extra production when it really counts. In the post season. In championship moments.
Joe Thornton has 100 career playoff points in 133 career games. That ain’t it. Although it’s good enough for 89th all time in career postseason NHL hockey scoring. #1 All Time, Wayne Gretzky with a career 382 postseason points in 202 career games. That’s 1.89 points per game. That’s a completely different level of “it”.
The Boston Bruins were wise to trade you on December 1, 2005, to the San Jose Sharks. Since that trade, Boston has won the Stanley Cup, in 2011, played for another in 2013, and appear the team to beat in 2014. While the San Jose Sharks have disappointed year after year in the post season. And, that season, you scored 125 points. 100 point seasons, you’ve done it 3 times.
Now, maybe the Sharks handle business on the road Monday night. The fact there is a Game 6 in this series shows the lack of the championship quality known as “killer” instinct. It’s a bit grim when you think about it, but hey, we’re talking about sports, and it refers to a teams ability to sense when their opponent is down, take advantage, and put a series away in the postseason and make it to the next round. The NHL playoffs are about surviving. And I think that’s just what the Los Angeles Kings will do Monday night, survive and force Game 7 in San Jose on Wednesday, April 30th. You don’t win a Stanley Cup losing two series clenching opportunities at home. You’re eliminated for the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup.
Joe Thornton, 3 points in the series against Los Angeles. Marleau, 7 points. He shows up in the postseason, you disappear. Show up Monday night in Los Angeles and put this series away San Jose Sharks. Don’t lead us down this road again where there is so much hope for you in the postseason and our hopes are dashed, all too quickly. I see it happening right in front of my eyes. A 3-0 series lead! Game 5, at home, put the series away. Put the Kings away.
And now, as I update this post, the Sharks fate has been sealed. A legacy of futility has been created. The fourth team in NHL history to lose a series after leading 3 games to none. And Joe Thornton finished with 3 points in the series. The same 3 points he had after the Game 5 loss.